Origins of the 3rd Party System
- 1840 - Whig William Henry Harrison defeated Martin Van Buren to win the "Log Cabin Campaign" that climaxed the formation of the 2nd Party System 1825-1840. However, Harrison died of pneumonia one month after his 1841 inauguration, and was succeeded by Virginia Whig John Tyler who became a "president without a party," appointed southerners Abel Upshur and John C. Calhoun, sought annexation of Texas.
- 1844 - Tennessee Democrat James K. Polk favored "Texas fever" and "all Oregon," won support of South, defeated Clay and James Birney of Liberty Party that took some antislavery Whig votes, blamed in Wilmot Proviso for plotting the Mexican War to gain slave states.
- 1848 - Democrats split by slavery issue, with Van Buren's Barnburners opposed and NY Hunkers in favor, nominated William Cass. Whigs avoided a platform and nominated nonpolitican Zachary Taylor, but Conscience Whigs in Mass. opposed Taylor as alliance of Lords of the Loom with Lords of the Lash. Samuel Chase of Ohio formed the antislavery factions into a new coalition called the Free Soil Party, nominating Martin Van Buren. Taylor won the election but died 1950, succeeded by Millard Fillmore of NY who favored compromise over slavery.
- 1852 - New Hampshire Democrat Franklin Pierce won election with support of powerful alliance of Northern and Southern Democrats. The Whig party was weakened by growing antislavery factions led by William Seward of Ohio, John Hale nominated by Free Soilers who denounced Compromise of 1850 and demanded repeal of Fugitive Slave Law. Southern Whigs supported Pierce. Winfield Scott won only 2 of the 15 slave states, and only 2 free states. Southern Whig leader Alexander Stephens declared "the Whig Party is dead."
- 1856 - The Republican party, and the nation's Third Party System, was born in the Congregational church in Ripon, Wis., Feb. 28, 1854, to protest the Kansas-Nebraska Act of Stephen Douglas. The name "Republican" was coined by Anti-Nebraska Democrat, Alvan E. Bovay, who helped organize the Ripon meeting, to borrow on the ideas of Thomas Jefferson and his earlier Democratic-Republican party. The new party attracted former antislavery Whigs, Free Soilers, Know-Nothings who broke from the pro-Nebraska National Council of the American Party and supported new House Speaker Nathaniel Banks. John C. Fremont won the nomination but was defeated by Democrat James Buchanan who exloited northern racism and fear of disunion to win all four lower North states of NJ, PA, IN, IL.
- Gienapp, William. The Origins of The Republican Party, 1852-1856. New York : Oxford University Press, 1987. emphasized ethnocultural factors.
- Foner, Eric. Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War. New York, Oxford University Press, 1970. 353 p. emphasized free labor ideology.
- Presidential elections 1789-1856 from EB
- History from Republican National Committee
- History from National Republican Congressional Committee
- 1st Party System and 2nd Party System
revised 2/8/02 by Schoenherr | Firebells | Civil War