The Jacksonians Versus the Banks: Politics in the States after the Panic of 1837

By James Roger Sharp | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII

The Northwest

1

THE POLITICAL RESPONSE to the banking issue after 1837 followed a similar pattern in all the northwestern states. As in Ohio, the hardmoney men dominated the various Democratic parties and sought either to impose strict reforms upon the banking systems or to abolish note-issuing banks entirely. But, also reflecting the Ohio experience, the Jacksonian leaders were often frustrated in their efforts by a few ever-present soft-money Democrats who defected from the party on crucial banking votes and, in combination with a virtually solid front of Whig opposition, were able to override, limit, or at least modify Democratic objectives. As in Ohio, the Democrats in other northwestern states failed to take positive or effective action to meet the crisis until after the second nationwide bank suspension in 1839. Vigorous Democratic attacks on the banking system from 1839 to the mid-1840s precipitated sharp entrepreneurial counterattacks, and these led to the passage of several free-banking laws. Finally, in response to the tremendous popular desire for more banking facilities, Democrats turned to constitutional solutions.

While the general contours of the political conflicts in the northwestern states were the same, there were some significant variations. These were the result of dissimilar economic and political levels of maturity in the states, contrasting relative strengths of Democratic and Whig parties and differing degrees and types of state involvement in the banking systems. The scope, timing, and intensity of political battles, as well as the degree of militancy reached by the hard-money Democrats, depended in large part on these factors.

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The Jacksonians Versus the Banks: Politics in the States after the Panic of 1837
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Contents xiii
  • Graphs and Maps xiv
  • Song from a Jackson Barbecue September 25, 1839 *
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter I - The Democratic Party and the Politics of Agrarianism 3
  • Chapter II - Banking Before the Panic 25
  • The West 51
  • Chapter III - Mississippi 55
  • Chapter IV - Mississippi Constituencies 89
  • Chapter V - The Southwest 110
  • Chapter VI - Ohio 123
  • Chapter VII - Ohio Constituencies 160
  • Chapter VIII - The Northwest 190
  • The East 211
  • Chapter IX - Virginia 215
  • Chapter X - Virginia Constituencies 247
  • Chapter XI - The Southeast 274
  • Chapter XII - Pennsylvania and New York 285
  • Chapter XIII - The Northeast 306
  • Conclusion 321
  • Appendices 331
  • Notes to Tables 342
  • Bibliography 351
  • Index 379
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