19th Century

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & ELECTIONS

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

CHRONOLOGIES: 19TH CENTURY

1800

 

  • May 15, 1797: “Adams calls the first special session of Congress to debate the mounting crisis in French-American relations. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, the American envoy in France, had left France after being insulted by the French foreign minister.”
  • May 19, 1797: “Adams appoints a three man commission, composed of Charles C. Pinckney, Elbridge Gerry, and John Marshall, to negotiate a settlement with France.”
  • June 24, 1797: “President Adams is authorized by Congress to raise a militia of 80,000 men for defensive purposes in case of war with France.:
  • October 18, 1797: “XYZ Affair” French agents tried to bribe American diplomats in Paris. “The three man American peace commission is received coolly and then asked to pay a bribe in order to speak with French Foreign Minister Charles Maurice Talleyrand. This episode becomes known as the “XYZ Affair.””
  • April 3, 1798: “President Adams exposes the XYZ affair, providing Congress with letters from the peace commission indicating French efforts to bribe and intimidate U.S. officials seeking to speak with French diplomat, Charles Maurice Talleyrand. The reaction was one of outrage and intimidation.”
  • 1798: Hamilton broke with Adams over reconciling with France after “XYZ Affair.” Adams would not cede the Federalist Party leadership to Hamilton
  • May 28, 1798: “Congress empowers Adams to enlist 10,000 men for service in case of a declaration of war or invasion of the country’s domain. It also authorizes Adams to instruct commanders of ships-of-war to seize armed French vessels praying upon or attacking American merchantmen about the coast.”
  • June 18, 1798: Alien and Sedition Acts (to stop criticism of the Adams administration) Naturalization Act is adopted. “The first of four acts known collectively as the Alien and Sedition Acts is adopted. The Alien and Sedition acts aimed to curb criticism of administration policies and prevent internal subversion. The first act, stipulating requirements for naturalized citizenship, demanded residence in the United States for period of fourteen years and a declaration of intention for five years.”
  • June 25, 1798: Alien Act: “Congress passes the Alien Act, granting President Adams the power to deport any alien he deemed potentially dangerous to the country’s safety.”
  • July 6, 1798: Alien Enemies Act: “Congress passes the third of the Alien and Sedition acts, the Alien Enemies Act. The act provides for the apprehension and deportation of male aliens who were subjects or citizens of a hostile country.”
  • July 7, 1798: “Adams appoints George Washington to serve as commander in chief of the United States Army. All French treaties between the United States and France are declared null and void by vote in Congress, most notably the 1778 Treaty of Alliance.”
  • July 14, 1798: Sedition Act: “Congress adopts the Sedition Act, the fourth and last of the Alien and Sedition acts. The bill subjects any American citizen to a fine and/or imprisonment for obstructing the implementation of federal law, or for publishing malicious or false writings against Congress, the President, or the government.”
  • November 16, 1798: “The Kentucky State Legislature adopts the Kentucky Resolutions, reserving states’ right to override federal powers not enumerated in the U.S. Constitution. Thomas Jefferson, angry at the Adams administration for the Alien and Sedition acts, authors the resolution.”
  • 1798-1799: The Federalists gained seats in both houses of Congress, Senate 19-13, House 64-42. Predominately the wins came from North Carolina and Virginia.
  • February 18, 1799: Adams nominates William Van Murray as Minister to France, peace mission to France instead of war. High Federalists (or Hamiltonians) consider Adams an appeaser.
  • January 10, 1800: “Congress finally passes a treaty with Tunis, negotiated originally in 1797.”
  • April 29 to May 1, 1800: New York States Elections. Aaron Burr plans that the Democratic-Republicans would gain control of the New York Legislature and therefore the twelve Electoral College votes from the state.
  • May 1, 1800: Burr succeeds in turning a Federalist majority in New York into a Democratic-Republican majority
  • May 3, 1800: Federalist caucus (1st) U.S. Senate chamber, U.S. Capitol building, Washington DC John Adams was nominated for a second term, running-mate Charles C. Pinckney of the XYZ mission. The caucus agrees to prevent the same scattering of votes for President and Vice President as in 1796
  • May 11, 1800: Democratic Republican caucus (1st) Marache’s Boarding House in Philadelphia (secret meeting), the caucus nominate Thomas Jefferson for Presidential nomination; Chose Aaron Burr as running mate because of his victory in acquiring the New York State Legislature and 12 electoral votes for the Democratic-Republicans
  • Adams tried to distance himself from the High Federalists, unite the Federalist in the election.
  • May 7, 1800: “Congress passes an act dividing the Northwest Territory into two parts, with the border between them running north from the junction of the Ohio and Kentucky Rivers. The western part of the territory will be known as the Indiana Territory while the eastern half will retain the name Northwest Territory.”
  • May 1800: Adams discovers after the Federalist caucus that Hamilton was planning to have Secretary of State Charles Pickering, and Adam’s running mate elected President instead of Adams and Secretary of War James McHenry elected Vice President, Adams dismisses both from his cabinet.
  • May 12, 1800: Adams dismisses Secretary of State Charles Pickering.
  • May 1800: Adams places Virginia Federalists in those positions to gain favor in the state and take away the votes from Jefferson
  • Virginia switches to General Ticket (At Large) (Prevent votes for Adams)
  • Massachusetts changes to legislative appointment (Ensure votes for Adams)
  • New Hampshire and Georgia change from General Ticket to legislative appointment
  • Rhode Island only state to change from legislative appointment to General Ticket
  • Pennsylvania divided between the Federalists and Democratic Republicans, agree on Legislature appointment
  • May 1800: After New York’s election, Hamilton writes a letter to Governor John Jay, asking him to reconvene the Federalist legislature and change the way electors are chosen to popular vote General Ticket.
  • Jay ignores Hamilton’s request
  • 1800: John Mason, a New York preacher writes The Voice of Warning to Christians on the Ensuing Election ( 1800) claiming Jefferson “writes against the truths of God’s word; who makes not even a profession of Christianity; who is without Sabbaths; without the sanctuary, without so much as a decent external respect for the faith and worship of Christians.”
  • September 29, 1800: Connecticut Courant, “Look at every leading Jacobin as at a ravening wolf, preparing to enter your peaceful fold, and glut his deadly appetite on the vitals of your country. . . . GREAT GOD OF COMPASSION AND JUSTICE, SHIELD MY COUNTRY FROM DESTRUCTION.”
  • September 30, 1800: Resumption of normal diplomatic relations with Franc.  The “quasi”-naval war with France effectively ends with the signing of the Treaty of Mortfontaine in Paris. France agrees to lift its embargos on American ships, cancel all letters of marque, and respect neutral ships and property. The United States agrees to return captured warships but not captured privateers.”
  • Hamilton believes Federalist Vice Presidential candidate General Charles Pickney was a better choice than both Adams and Jefferson. Hamilton devises a plan than would give Pickney the majority of Electoral College votes. Being from South Carolina Hamilton believes Pickney could draw more votes in the South than Adams, and if New England Electoral College voted equally for both Adams and Pickney; than he would win the election over Adams.
  • Hamilton goes to New England and writes a long letter to Federalist Party leaders, especially in the South attacking John Adams’ domestic and foreign policies.
  • Letter from Alexander Hamilton Concerning the Public Conduct and Character of John Adams (fifty-four page criticism of Adams); the Press prints the letter a week before the election.
  • Democratic-Republican Aaron Burr obtains a copy of the letter to be known as The Public Conduct and Character of John Adams and distributes it widely to the press. Noah Webster and other Federalists come to Adams’ defense.
  • November 1800: Campaign intensifies prior to the Elector voters casting their votes.
  • Federalists circulate a rumor that Jefferson has died, however, it was a slave on Jefferson’s plantation with the same name that actually died.
  • November 17, 1800: Congress convenes in the new Nation’s capitol Washington for the first time.
  • Late November 1800: Jefferson goes to the new national capital to await the election results and his victory.
  • December 3, 1800: Presidential Electors meet in their state capitols cast the electoral vote
  • December 14, 1800: Jefferson writes to Robert R. Livingston and asks him to become Secretary of Navy
  • December 15, 1800: Jefferson writes and congratulates Aaron Burr on winning the Vice Presidency
  • December 18, 1800 Jefferson knows he has defeated Adams.
  • Late December 1800: Burr refuses to step aside so Jefferson could be President. Therefore the election was thrown to the Federalist House of Representatives.
  • February 11, 1801: Vice President Thomas Jefferson presides over a Joint session of Congress to count the electoral votes in the U.S. Senate chamber, unfinished Capitol building, Washington DC.
  • February 11, 1801: U.S. Senator William H. Wells and U.S. Reps. John Rutledge and John Nicholas are the tellers and they report there was an error with Georgia’s vote. The tally however, seemed to be correct and it resulted in; Jefferson 73, Burr 73, Adams 65, Pinckney 64, and John Jay 1.
  • February 11, 1801: Jefferson declares the election a tie that the House of Representatives would have to decide the election
  • February 11, 1801: Contingent election, Joint session of Congress in the U.S. Senate chamber, unfinished Capitol building, Washington, DC. Each state allowed one vote per delegation, and if there is tie the delegation is required to cast a blank ballot
  • February 17, 1801: There is a deadlock six days after voting begins. The Congressional Federalists saw the opportunity to place Burr in the Presidency rather Jefferson. Alexander Hamilton prefers Jefferson to Burr. Hamilton convinces several Federalist Congressman to cast blank ballots and end the deadlock.
  • February 17, 1801: On the 36th ballot with 10 State delegations voting for Jefferson, 4 voting for Burr and 2 making no choice. 1st 35 ballots Jefferson 8 Burr 6 abstentions 2; 36th ballot Jefferson 10 Burr 4 abstentions 2
  • February 17, 1801: Jefferson is elected President, Aaron Burr is elected Vice President

 


1804

 

  • December 8, 1801: “President Jefferson delivers his first address to the newly convened seventh Congress of the United States in writing and is read aloud by the House clerk. Expressing his dislike for ceremony, Jefferson establishes the precedent, not broken until the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, of not delivering the State of the Union address in person.”
  • February 6, 1802: “Congress recognizes the War with Tripoli, authorizing the arming of merchant ships to ward off attacks.”
  • April 14, 1802: “The naturalization laws of 1798 are repealed. The required length of residency reverts from fourteen years to five years.”
  • August 11, 1802: “The United States and Spain resolve to refer all disputes between the two countries to a special convention at Madrid.”
  • January 11, 1803: “Jefferson appoints James Monroe minister to France and Spain, instructing him to purchase New Orleans and East and West Florida. Napoleon informs U.S. minister in Paris Robert Livingston that France will be willing to sell the entire Louisiana territory, much to his surprise.”
  • April 30, 1803: Louisiana Purchase Treaty: Livingston and Monroe are sent to conclude a treaty for the acquisition of New Orleans, but instead conclude a treaty for the purchase of the entire Louisiana Territory. (“This day marks the official signing of a peace treaty with France and the purchase of Louisiana. The addition of 828,000 square miles of land between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains is purchased from France for approximately $15 million, increasing the national territory by 140 percent.”)
  • August 31, 1803: “Captain Merriweather Lewis, formerly Jefferson’s personal secretary, sets out from Pittsburgh to begin an expedition of the newly acquired western territory of the Louisiana Purchase. Lewis will pick up Captain William Clark to serve as co-leader of the trip early in the next year. Jefferson sponsored the journey out of personal scientific curiosity and concern for the economic and political security of the western United States.”
  • October (18-20) 1803: The Senate ratifies the Louisiana Purchase treaty by a 24-7 margin.
  • December 9, 1803: Congress passes the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution “requiring electors to vote for President and vice president separately.” (Although House Speaker Nathaniel Macon casts a vote to get the bill over the 2/3 threshold).
  • February 25, 1804: Democratic Republican Caucus convenes in Washington, U.S. Capital. 108 Republican Congressmen renominate Jefferson, and choose loyal Republican George Clinton from New York for the Vice Presidential nomination
  • February 1804: Federalists informally agree to nominate for President Charles C. Pinckney and Rufus King for Vice-President.
  • Federalists accuse Jefferson of making a slave, Sally Hemings “Black Sal” his concubine, and fathering her children. Jefferson remained silent on the charge “the man who fears no truth has nothing to fear from lies.” However, Jefferson denied the charge in letters to friends. Jefferson friends, supporters publicly denied and defended Jefferson from the accusations.
  • Democratic-Republicans do not renominate Aaron Burr
  • March 26, 1804: “Congress passes the Louisiana Territory Act, dividing the Louisiana Purchase into the Territory of Orleans in the south and the district of Louisiana in the north.”
  • April 24-26, 1804: Aaron Burr decides to pursue the governorship of New York since incumbent George Clinton is not running again choosing the Democratic-Republican Vice Presidential nomination; New York Federalists divided between Alexander Hamilton’s candidate Morgan Lewis and Aaron Burr Morgan Lewis wins a 58-42% victory;
  • July 11, 1804: “Alexander Hamilton is fatally wounded in a pistol duel with Aaron Burr.” Alexander Hamilton’s campaign for Morgan Lewis and subsequent correspondence with Burr, prompts a duel between, Burr and Hamilton, with Burr killing Hamilton.
  • September 1804: At the opening of the campaign in the fall, Jefferson already amasses 111 electoral votes, above the majority of 89.
  • Democratic-Republican win electors in Federalist states New Hampshire and Massachusetts
  • September 25, 1804: The requisite thirteen states ratify the Twelfth Amendment  guaranteeing that it would govern the conduct of the election of 1804.
  • December 5, 1804: Presidential Electors cast their votes
  • February 13, 1805: A joint session of Congress counts the Electoral votes. Thomas Jefferson is reelected President, George Clinton is elected Vice President.

 


1808

 

  • June 4, 1805: “The United States and Tripoli sign a Treaty of Peace and Amity in Tripoli, effectively ending the Tripolitan War.”
  • July 23, 1805: “The British justify seizure of American ships in neutral ports with the invocation of the Rule of 1756.”
  • December 3-4, 1805: “Jefferson makes two addresses, one public and one before Congress, regarding land in Florida. In the public address, Jefferson cites the need to prepare for war with Spain. Privately, Jefferson informs Congress of secret negotiations with France in order to buy the territory from them and asks for five million dollars to be appropriated. The request receives a controversial response from Congress.”
  • April 18, 1806: “Congress passes a law prohibiting the importation of many British products into the United States to protest against the seizure of American ships and the impressment of American sailors by Britain.”
  • August 27, 1806: “American envoys James Monroe and William Pinckney commence talks with British official Lord Holland on the current naval hostilities.”
  • December 12, 1806: “Jefferson appeals to Congress asking for a ban on the slave trade.”
  • March 2, 1807: “Congress passes a law prohibiting the importation of slaves into any place within the jurisdiction of the United States after January 1, 1808.”
  • March 12, 1807: “The Embargo Act, modified and authorized by President Jefferson, now permits vessels to transport American goods from foreign ports.”
  • June 22, 1807: Leopard incident occurs. The British ship Leopard fires upon the United States frigate Chesapeake in Chesapeake Bay after the latter’s commander, James Barron, refuses to surrender four British deserters on board. Many on the U.S. frigate are killed and wounded.”
  • October 17, 1807: “Despite Thomas Jefferson’s protest, the British government announces it will continue to impress seamen on American ships thought to be British.”
  • November 11, 1807: “Britain issues its “Order in Council,” forbidding neutral nations and her allies from trading with France except under tribute to England.”
  • December 22, 1807: Congress passes the Embargo Act of 1807, cut off trade with the entire world and predominantly to warring France and Britain.
  • January 11, 1808: “The Second Embargo Act comes into force. It is more stringent than the first and is commonly known as the “O grab me Act.””
  • January 23, 1808: The Democratic Republican Caucus nominates James Madison for President. James Monroe and George Clinton, continued to campaign as independents, though Clinton was also running for VP on the Madison ticket.
  • January 29, 1808: The Salem Gazette reports that dissident Democratic Republican Party members of Congress nominate Clinton for President and Monroe for Vice President, only New York Legislature nominates the ticket
  • June 29, 1808: Vice Presidential Clinton continues to campaign for the Presidency, annoying the Madison campaign. The newspaper the National Aegis writes an editorial threatening that if Clinton would not abandon his Presidential bid the Democratic-Republicans would drop him as the Vice Presidential nominee.
  • June 30, 1808: Madison supporters in New York State decide to punish Clinton. Convene at a convention in Fishkill and endorse James Madison for President and nominate New Hampshire’s Democratic Republican Governor John Langdon for Vice President, despite the fact that Langdon was the head of the slate of electors pledged to the Madison-Clinton ticket.
  • Late August 1808: Federalist Caucus nominates Charles Pickney for President
  • September 9, 1808: Opposition to the Embargo Act by Democratic Republican Party, Vice President Clinton and New Hampshire Governor John Langdon.
  • September 17, 1808: John Langdon denies accusations in the Boston MA Democrat that he supported the Embargo.
  • 1808: Albany Register claims Jefferson and Madison are naturalized French citizens, by the revolutionary parliament in 1793; Federalists called Madison “Frenchman.” In reality a year before Robespierre came into power the French Revolutionary Assembly conferred honorary citizenship on Washington and Hamilton as well as Madison, but not Jefferson
  • October 20, 1808: Newspapers discuss the anomaly of having four candidates. The Connecticut Journal write that only James Madison is worthy from the four. Federalists controlled the Connecticut legislature and therefore the electors would vote for Pinckney.
  • November 4 until December 6, 1808: Seventeen states choose their presidential electors
  • December 7, 1808: Electors cast their ballots in their state capitals
  • February 8, 1809: A joint session of Congress counts the electoral vote. Democratic-Republicans James Madison is elected President, and George Clinton is elected Vice President.
  • March 1, 1809: “After the U.S. economy suffers at the hands of the embargo, Congress repeals the Embargo Act. Jefferson signs the Non-Intercourse Act the same day, closing U.S. ports only to France and England. Trade with the two countries is to be resumed when they agreed to respect the rights of U.S. citizens and vessels.”

 

 


1812

 

  • April 19, 1809: :After negotiations with British minister Erskine, Madison issues a proclamation — known as the Erskine Agreement — revoking the embargo on Britain, effective June 10. For his part, Erskine leads Madison to believe that Britain will revoke its Orders in Council. On March 25, however, the American envoy in Britain learns that British foreign secretary Canning has canceled the Erskine Agreement; news reaches Madison six weeks later. On August 9, Madison rescinds his proclamation establishing trade with Britain and resumes a policy of nonintercourse.”
  • January 3, 1810: “Prompted by tensions with Spain over West Florida, Madison calls for renewal of an act authorizing the President to call out 100,000 militiamen, fill up the regular army to its authorized strength, establish a force of 20,000 volunteers for immediate emergencies, and reactivate idle components of the naval fleet.”
  • May 1, 1810: “Congress passes Macon’s Bill Number 2, which replaces the Nonintercourse Act, allowing American ships to carry French or English goods while barring belligerent powers from American ports.” (“The bill further promises to renew nonintercourse with one of the two belligerent nations if the other withdraws its decrees. Trade with France and Britain is restored so long as the European nations respect American trade rights.”)
  • October 27, 1810: “Madison issues a proclamation authorizing occupation of West Florida, also claimed by Spain, as part of the Louisiana Purchase.”
  • May 16, 1811: The U.S. battleship President fires on the British ship HMS Little Belt after it is attacked.”
  • June 23, 1811: “The British foreign secretary announces an end to the Orders in Council. The announcement comes too late, however, as Madison requested a declaration of war against Britain on June 1.”
  • July 24, 1811: “Madison calls a special session of Congress to convene November 4 in preparation for war against Britain.”
  • November 5, 1811: “Madison delivers a tentative war message to Congress, indicating his shift in policy.”
  • May 18, 1812: Democratic-Republican Congressional nominating caucus nominates President James Madison for a second term.
  • May 29, 1812: Dissident Democratic-Republicans nominating caucus, New York Legislature nominates DeWitt Clinton for President.
  • June 1, 1812: Madison sends a message to Congress that they should decide if the country should go to war with Britain and defend itself.
  • June 12, 1812: “Madison delivers a message to Congress, justifying war against Britain and asking for a declaration of war.” War of 1812 commences, a month after the Democratic-Republican caucus.
  • June 4, 1812: Congress votes 79-49 to go to war with Britain.
  • June 17, Senate votes 19-13 for a declaration of war.
  • June 18, 1812: Madison issues a declaration of war against Britain.
  • July 1812: Secretary of War William Eustis prepares the U.S. Army and militias for an invasion of Canada; the invasion is a failure.
  • August 11, 1812: “Michigan governor and general William Hull, in charge of the American offensive from Detroit into Upper Canada, gives up his attack on Fort Malden.”
  • August 16, 1812: U.S. forces surrender to the British at Detroit.
  • September 14, 1812: The Baltimore Whig publishes a letter (the NYC Statesman reprints it) by a North Carolinian which predicts almost accurately the election results, only two errors placing North Carolina and Vermont in the Clinton column. The author however, predicts a Clinton win 110-108.
  • September 15-17, 1812: Federalist nominating caucus convenes in New York City; The Federalist Party conducts a caucus that resembles a nominating convention. Federalists are divided over nominating Clinton, especially concern over ruining Clinton chances in the West with an official nomination. The Federalists’ “fusion” ticket with dissident Democratic-Republicans endorses Dewitt Clinton and nominated for Vice-President Jared Ingersoll, United States Attorney in Pennsylvania.
  • September 17, 1812: Federalists decide not to nominate a candidate and instead leave the decision to the states to create Clinton fusion tickets. Only Federalists in Virginia nominate instead Rufus King for President
  • Clinton a Hawk in the South and West, and a Dove in the Northeast; varied his pamphlets and speeches by region and audience of War Republicans, Peace Republicans, or Anti-War Federalists.
  • Former President John Adams heads the Madison electoral ticket in his Quincy district
  • October 30, 1812: Ohio and Pennsylvania the first states to vote. Many dissident Democratic Republican Party leaders support Clinton, however there is an overwhelming majority which votes for Madison.
  • November 1812: Federalists gain 32 U.S. House seats; double the amount they had in the elections.
  • February 13, 1813: Joint session of Congress counts the Electoral votes. Democratic-Republicans James Madison is reelected President, and Elbridge Gerry elected is Vice President.

 

 

 

 


1816

 

  • 1812-1813: Resurgence of the Federalist Party: Young Federalists organized local chapters and recruited members.
  • January 18-23, 1813: Americans throughout the northwest are outraged by Winchester’s battle and surrender at Frenchtown, and the Wyandotte murder of sixty Kentucky prisoners of war. The northwest ceases to play a role in war strategy.
  • October 5, 1813: “The United States under General Harrison emerges victorious at the Battle of the Thames — the most important American victory to date — as it ends British and Indian control in Northwest and Upper Canada. Tecumseh dies in the battle.”
  • December 9, 1813: “Madison calls for a total embargo on exports and a ban on all imports of British origin, believing that Britain depends on trade with the United States. Congress passes the embargo just days later.”
  • February, 1814: “Madison appoints Henry Clay, Albert Gallatin, James Bayard, Jonathan Russell, and John Quincy Adams as commissioners to negotiate directly with Britain in Gothenburg, Sweden. These negotiations are later transferred to Ghent, Belgium.”
  • March 27, 1814: “Under the command of Andrew Jackson, 2,000 troops defeat the Creek Confederation at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in the Tallapoosa River, eliminating the Confederation as an obstacle to American expansion toward the Gulf Coast. It provides the United States with two-thirds of Creek land in the Treaty of Fort Jackson.”
  • March 31, 1814: “Napoleon’s European empire collapses. Learning of Napoleon’s defeat, Madison calls for an immediate repeal of the trade embargo with neutral nations, signaling a major reassessment of American war aims and strategy. He signs the bill into law on April 14. The British, meanwhile, can now turn their complete attention to war with the United States.”
  • May 11, 1814: “William Henry Harrison resigns as Major General and is replaced by Andrew Jackson, against Madison’s orders.”
  • August 24, 1814: The British burn Federal buildings in Washington, DC as a  response for the torching of Canadian Parliament buildings.
  • November 1814: Federalists lose only two seats in the U.S. House during the Mid Term election.
  • December 4, 1815: 14th Congress assembles, start of pre-caucus Presidential campaign
  • December 1815: William H. Crawford supporters launch a newspaper entitled the New-York Patriot.
  • December 15, 1814: Hartford Convention of December 1814, with New England Federalists threatening secession issues report. “Following news of Jackson’s victory at New Orleans, the U.S. public condemns the Hartford Convention as anti-American.” It ultimately dooms the Federalist Party with the mark of “Hartford Conventionism.”
  • December 24, 1814: The Treaty of Ghent ends the War of 1812 with a victory by the Democratic-Republican President against the British. (No American territory lost, Victory on Lake Champlain, and in New Orleans by General Andrew Jackson, however, Washington is burned)
  • January 8, 1815: Battle of New Orleans.
  • December 28, 1815: The New-York Courier reports that to increase his odds for the nomination Monroe is promising either Simon Snyder of PA and Daniel Tompkins the Vice Presidential slot
  • January 1, 1816: Democratic-Republican Presidential nomination contest is now primarily between William H. Crawford and James Monroe
  • January 13, 1816: The New-York Courier publishes a letter from a Monroe supporter writes claiming that Crawford withdrew from the race; letter is a forgery.
  • January 30, 1816: Crawford has majority support from the party. Monroe has the support of a minority.
  • February 8, 1816: Democratic Republican Party Caucus, First Session (unofficial), party division on a candidate.
  • February 14, 1816: New York legislature state caucus officially nominates Governor Tompkins for President.
  • February 13-14, 1815: “News arrives of the December 1814 Treaty of Ghent that ends the War of 1812.”
  • February 15, 1815: “Congress appropriates $500,000 for the reconstruction of federal buildings.”
  • February 16, 1815: The Senate ratifies the Treaty of Ghent.
  • December, 1815: “Madison presents his seventh annual message to Congress, advocating military streamlining, a new national bank, protective tariffs to promote industry, and internal improvements.”
  • February 21, 1816: Rhode Island Democratic Republican Party legislative caucus nominates Monroe and Tompkins.
  • March 2, 1816?: Pennsylvania Democratic Republican Party legislative caucus nominates Monroe and Snyder
  • March 10, 1816: Invitations are distributed for second Democratic Republican Party national caucus, however, they are unsigned.
  • March 12, 1816: Democratic Republican Party Caucus, Second Session suspected to have been organized by Monroe opponents. U.S. Sen. Jeremiah Morrow Ohio serves as chairman. Only Fifty-seven Congressional members present, the caucus is postponed to March 16, 1816.
  • March 16, 1816: Democratic Republican Caucus Third Session convenes in the U.S. House chamber with 118 members attending. U.S. Senator Samuel Smith  (Maryland) serves as chairman. U.S. Representative Richard M. Johnson (Kentucky) serves as secretary. Members fight over the timing and value of the caucus. Henry Clay suggests the resolution not to nominate a candidate at the caucus, which members vote down. They nominate James Monroe for President and Daniel D. Tompkins for Vice President. There is opposition from the anti-Monroe faction
  • 1816: Pennsylvania Federalists try to form an anti-Monroe coalition with anti-Caucus Republicans, and nominate William Crawford and a Federalist Vice Presidential nominee.
  • 1816: Anti-Caucus Republicans chose not to oppose Monroe.
  • 1816: Republicans become more like the Federalists as the party of nationalism and centralization – advocating a national bank, a protective tariff, internal improvements — blurring the party’s identity. John Randolph: Congress’s record under Madison’s leadership is nothing but “old Federalism, vamped up into something bearing the superficial appearance of Republicanism.”
  • Republicans succeed in New England by attacking the state churches in a push for religious liberty.
  • 1816: Country tiring of Virginia presidents — John Adams complains that his son John Quincy may have to wait in Europe for his turn to lead “‘till all Virginians shall be extinct.’”
  • October 2, 1816: The Albany Advertiser publishes an editorial about Monroe and the Caucus.
  • November 1, 1816: Rhode Island Federalists meet to appoint Presidential electors, to vote against Monroe.
  • November 5, 1816: Pennsylvania Federalists call a conference to name a candidate to head their fusion ticket, but leading Federalists in the state decline to attend.
  • December 3, 1816: Boston Daily Advertiser: “We do not know, nor is it very material, for whom the Federal electors will vote.”
  • December 4, 1816: Federalists want Rufus King for a nominee, they consider him the presumptive nominee. King is wrongfully accused by Secretary of the Treasury of owing money to the government, the money had been given to King when he was Minister to England in 1796-1803 to get Lafayette released from a French prison. The government had marked that money as a loan. Party newspapers write and publish editorials, including King’s own letter to Monroe, which clears him.
  • December 4, 1816: Presidential Electors meet and cast the electoral votes in their state capitals.
  • February 12, 1817: Joint session of Congress meets counts the Electoral vote. Democratic-Republican James Monroe is elected President, and Daniel Tompkins is elected Vice President.

 


1820

 

  • 1816: Democratic Republican Party wins 30 more seats from the Federalists in the U.S. House.
  • June-September, 1817: “Monroe embarks on a lengthy, sixteen-week tour of New England. In the absence of his major cabinet appointees, Monroe uses the tour to foster a sense of national unity through local political contact, public appearances, and private meetings with opposing Federalists. The tour gives birth to the designation of Monroe’s administration as the “Era of Good Feelings.””
  • December 26, 1817: “Secretary of War John C. Calhoun orders General Andrew Jackson to quell Seminole Indian uprisings in the Floridas and southern Georgia; Jackson also receives a private letter from Monroe urging such action.”
  • March 1818: “Jackson pursues the Seminoles into Spanish Florida — where he suspects they are receiving assistance — takes the fort of St. Marks on March 6, forces the surrender of Fort Carlos de Barrancas, and executes, among others, a Scot Indian trader and a British lieutenant. After capturing the Spanish capital in May, Jackson returns to Tennessee.”
  • June 18, 1818: “Monroe learns of Jackson’s exploits and, along with his cabinet (except John Quincy Adams), disapproves of Jackson’s actions. Following protests from the ministers of Britain, Spain, and France, Monroe concedes that Jackson’s behavior in Pensacola amounted to acts of war. The President repudiates Jackson and orders that Pensacola be handed back to Spain.
  • July 1818: “Adams writes in a letter his support of Jackson’s tactics, blaming Spain for its inability to control the Indians. Despite his concession, Monroe recognizes that Jackson’s activities in the Floridas provide the United States with a favorable strategic position for negotiations with Spain.”
  • January 1819: The Panic of 1819 begins, banks fail, land values plummet, and thousands lose their jobs. The financial instability lasts until 1823.
  • February 22, 1819: “The Transcontinental Treaty, also known as the Adams-Onis treaty, is resolved in February after the conclusion of negotiations dating back to July 1818. The treaty transfers the Floridas from Spain to the United States for $5 million, and advances the U.S. border across Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. Spain also relinquishes claims to the Oregon Territory. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams orchestrates the proceedings with the Spanish minister to Washington, Luis de Onis.”
  • November 1818: Mid Term elections Democratic Republican win 12 additional seats.
  • December 6, 1819: 16th Congress assembles, House consists of Democratic- Republicans: 154, Federalists: 29, Independents: 2. Federalists went from 14 to seven seats in the Senate.
  • April 8, 1820: Democratic Republican Caucus, U.S. House chamber at 7:30. Chairman: Hugh Nelson. Informal nomination, 40 delegates attend, with few or no delegates from Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. A large portion of the New York delegation attended to ensure Tompkins’ Vice Presidential nomination.
  • April 10, 1820: Richard M. Johnson states, “It is inexpedient, at this time, to proceed to the nomination of persons for the offices of President and Vice President of the United States.”
  • April 1820: “Ohio Monitor (Columbus) reports, “There appears no great excitement in any quarter, concerning the next presidential election. In most of the States the elections occur with great quietness, too great, perhaps, for the general safety of the Republic.”
  • March 3, 1820: “After months of fierce debate, Congress agrees to the first Missouri Compromise, addressing congressional jurisdiction over the conditions of statehood.” (“After Maine petitions Congress for statehood, the balance of free and slave states in Senate will be maintained with a free Maine and a slave Missouri. The Compromise also addresses all land in the Louisiana Purchase territory and establishes that land north of the 36 degree, 30′ line with the exception of Missouri — will be free, while territory below the line will be slave.”)
  • March 5, 1820: The admission of Missouri to the Union as a slave state under the Missouri Compromise passes by the Senate.
  • March 6, 1820:  President James Monroe ratifies the Missouri Compromise. Missouri Compromise calms the electorate, at least temporarily.
  • March 15, 1820: “Maine is admitted as the twenty-third state of the Union.”
  • October 17, 1820: National Intelligencer reports, “The unanimous re-election of Mr. Monroe is morally certain as certain as almost any contingent event can be.”
  • November 1, 1820- December 6, 1820: Democratic Republicans James Monroe is reelected President, and Daniel Tompkins is reelected Vice President.
  • December 6, 1820: William Plumer, Sr., of New Hampshire cast the sole electoral vote against Monroe and for John Quincy Adams. Plumer was a harsh critic of Monroe and had heard that Daniel Webster wanted to advance Adams as Vice President. Plumer decided to cast his vote for Adams for President.
  • February 14, 1821: Joint session of Congress counts the Electoral votes. James Monroe is reelected President and Daniel Tompkins is reelected Vice President.
  • February 24, 1821: Despite the Missouri Compromise, the Missouri constitution has unacceptable clauses regarding slavery and bans on free blacks voting that keeps it from being admitted to the Union before the electoral ballots are counted. Some in Congress want to count Missouri’s votes nevertheless, others object. To end the impasse, the President of the Senate announces the tallies – nearly unanimously for Monroe – with Missouri’s 3 electoral votes, and without.
  • March 5, 1821: James Monroe gives his Second Inaugural Address, “Having no pretensions to the high and commanding claims of my predecessors, whose names are so much more conspicuously identified with our Revolution, and who contributed so preeminently to promote its success, I consider myself rather as the instrument than the cause of the union which has prevailed in the late election.”

 

 


1824

  • August 10, 1821: “Missouri is admitted as the twenty-fourth state of the Union.”
  • The “A.B. Plot” accusations of corruption against William Crawford made first anonymously by Ninian Edwards signing his letters “A.B.”
  • July 20, 1822: Members of the Tennessee House of Representatives, Praising Andrew Jackson as “the soldier, the statesman, and the honest man; he deliberates, he decides, and he acts; he is calm in deliberation, cautious in decision, efficient in action.”
  • January 1823: “The office of chief magistrate . . . is one of great responsibility. As it should not be sought . . ., so it cannot, with propriety, be declined. . . . My political creed prompts me to leave the affair . . . to the free will of those who have alone the right to decide.” Andrew Jackson,
  • September 1823: Frontrunner and caucus nominee William Crawford becomes paralyzed and blind, either from a stroke or a drug overdose to treat a staph infection, erysipelas. Eight weeks later, he recovers partially, but remains feeble.
  • January 16, 1823: Maine Legislative caucus convenes and “Resolved, that this convention entertained the highest respect for the distinguished talents and public services of the honorable John Q. Adams, and do fully believe that no man possesses better qualifications for the important office of president of the United States.”
  • October 1823: Philadelphians endorse Andrew Jackson; “he has always been a uniform and consistent democrat” and “a friend to the rights of man and universal suffrage.
  • December 2, 1823: “In his annual address to Congress, Monroe formally articulates the foreign policy position that becomes known as the “Monroe Doctrine.” It meets with widespread approval and political consent. Monroe’s repudiation of further American hemispheric colonization speaks to the claims of Britain and Russia, as well as Spain. The enunciation of American exclusivity and European non-interference is a seminal event in United States foreign policy.”
  • February 14, 1824: Congressional caucus nominates William Crawford for President and Albert Gallatin for Vice-president “The sickly thing is to be fed, cherished, pampered for a week, when it is fondly hoped it will be enabled to cry the name of Crawford, Crawford, Crawford.” Baltimore newspaper
  • February 15, 1824: Massachusetts state caucus nominates John Quincy Adams for President. Adams’s supporters want Andrew Jackson to agree to the Vice Presidency, but he refuses.
  • March 4, 1824: The Pennsylvania Convention convenes in Harrisburg and nominates Andrew Jackson for President and John Calhoun for Vice President.
  • May 22, 1824: “Monroe signs the Tariff of 1824 into law, implementing protectionist measures in support of local manufactures and goods. Complaints arise in the South with cotton-growers fearful of British retaliation for the increase in price. Northern manufacturers are pleased with the law.”
  • 1824: John C. Calhoun first tries for the Presidency, but when he could not even get support from his home state of South Carolina, he begins his ultimately successful push for the Vice Presidency.
  • March 30, 1824: Henry Clay’s “American System” term first mentioned on the floor of the House of Representatives: greater federal involvement, road improvements, tariffs, national bank (Bank of the United States)
  • 1824: New York state fight between supporters of DeWitt Clinton and his opponents, “The Bucktails,” whose leaders, including Martin Van Buren, were known as the “Albany Regency.”
  • August 6, 1824: Clay supporters in Ohio nominate Nathan Sanford of New York as Clay’s running mate. More Clay lead slates follow.
  • 1824: Andrew Jackson’s public statements and letters encourage a new, more democratic kind of grassroots campaigning.
  • 1824: First campaign biographies, for all four leading candidates, especially Senator John Henry Eaton’s Life of Jackson, first published in 1817, updated and rereleased in 1824.
  • October 12, 1824: Gallatin withdraws from the race late in the campaign according to Rhode Island American.
  • 1824: Crawford asks Clay to run with him, but he refuses.
  • 1824: Virginia’s Caucus ticket nominates Nathaniel Macon for Vice President.
  • 1824: Georgia’s Caucus ticket endorses Martin Van Buren for the Vice Presidency
  • 1825: None of the candidates received a majority of the votes needed for election. Under the 12th Amendment, the House of Representatives decides the election.
  • 1825: E.P. in Washington National Intelligencer – asks all others to withdraw in favor of Jackson, “the only surviving hero of the Revolution… the second Washington.”
  • January 29, 1825: Henry Clay to Francis Preston Blair “I cannot believe that killing 2,500 Englishmen at New Orleans qualifies for the various, difficult, and complicated duties of the Chief Magistracy.”
  • February 9, 1825: The House votes and Speaker of the House Henry Clay supports John Q. Adams, even though Andrew Jackson wins the popular vote. Adams wins a majority on the first ballot. John Quincy Adams is elected President and John Calhoun is elected Vice President.
  • February 12, 1825: Jacksonians charge there is a “corrupt bargain” between Adams and Clay after Adams names Clay Secretary of State.

 


1828

 

 

  • March 4, 1825: John Adams’ ascension to the Presidency without a plurality of popular votes
  • October 7, 1825: The Tennessee legislature nominates Andrew Jackson with the document “Preamble and Resolution.”
  • October 7, 1825: Jackson resigns from the Senate not to use as a means of “intriguing for the Presidential chair.”
  • Jackson chooses incumbent Vice-President John C. Calhoun for his running mate
  • March 2, 1826: The Richmond Enquirer reports that for the first time the term “the popular vote” is used by U.S. Rep. George McDuffie of South Carolina on the floor of Congress during his speech debating on how a President should be chosen, he suggests basing the election of Presidential electors by popular vote. The Jackson amendment does not pass, but many states adopt General Ticket to choose electors.
  • 1826: Jackson supporters start the United States Telegraph in Washington, partisan press for Jackson, and local partisan papers carried the paper’s editorials
  • 1826: After the Congressional elections, the Jacksonian (Democratic) Party gain a majority in Congress after winning seven seats, with the Jacksonian, Andrew Stevenson becoming Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  • December 29, 1827: Andrew Jackson leaves for New Orleans
  • January 4, 1828: Pennsylvania state convention nominate National Republican John Quincy Adams for reelection; the convention nominates Gov. John A. Schulze for Vice President; he later declines
  • January 8, 1828: Jackson commences his campaign in New Orleans on the 13th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans. The Louisiana legislature organizes a four day event
  • January 12, 1828: Virginia National Republican Convention endorse Rush.
  • January 18, 1828: Baltimore Patriot reports the Democratic Virginia convention endorsed Calhoun for VP with 164 votes, 20 for Nathaniel Macon, 5 scattering
  • January 24, 1828: Pittsfield Sun reports Pennsylvania state convention nominates Treasury Secretary Richard Rush for Vice-president.
  • January 23, 1828: Maine Virginia National Republican Convention endorses Rush.
  • January 1828: “Nicholas Biddle of the Bank of the United States implements the sale of government securities to curtail the outward flow of specie. This policy results in propositions by Congress for the public sale of United States Bank stock.”
  • January 31, 1828: Jacksonian Democrats introduce a high tariff to the Congress hoping to use it as a campaign issue when the bill does not pass, angering manufacturers in the Northeast who are left without a tariff.
  •  May 11, 1828: “Proposed by South Carolinian and Vice President John Calhoun in an attempt to bolster support for Andrew Jackson’s bid for President, Congress passes a new tariff bill.”
  • October 31 – November 13, 1828: State election days
  • October 31, 1828: Pennsylvania and Ohio have their elections and choose their Presidential Electors.
  • November 3, 1828: Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, and Virginia have their elections and choose their Presidential Electors.
  • November 4-14, 1828: Alabama, Indiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Vermont have their elections and choose their Presidential Electors.
  • November 4-5, 1828: New Jersey has their elections and choose their Presidential Electors.
  • November 19, 1828: Rhode Island, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Maryland have their elections and choose their Presidential Electors.
  • December 3, 1828: Electoral voters cast their votes in their state capitals,
  • February 11, 1829: Election votes are counted in Congress, Democrats Andrew Jackson is elected President, and John Calhoun is reelected Vice President.

 

 


1832

 

  • December 19, 1829: South Carolina’s legislature nullifies the tariff
  • May 1830: Congress passes the Indian Removal Act, President Jackson sign the act into law; “An Act to provide for an exchange of lands with the Indians . . . and for their removal west of the river Mississippi”
  • April 13, 1830: Following his anonymous printing of the South Carolina Exposition and Protest in 1828, Vice President John C. Calhoun suggests that his state of South Carolina annul the federally imposed protective cotton tariff. Jackson threatens to deploy federal troops to occupy the state in the event of nullification.
  • April 13, 1830: Jackson fights with Calhoun over nullification of the tariff “Our Federal Union, it must be preserved.” (“At the Jefferson Day Dinner in Washington, D.C., Jackson denounces Calhoun and his theory of nullification, declaring, “Our Union it must be preserved!” Calhoun responds, “The Union, next to our liberty most dear!” The following month, Jackson will receive confirmation that in 1818, Calhoun supported a measure to discipline Jackson for his military involvement in Florida. This discovery generates terse correspondence between the two.”)
  • May 26, 1830: “Congress passes the Indian Removal Act, sanctioning the forcible relocation of Creek, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Choctaw, and Seminole tribes to land allotments west of the Mississippi river.”
  • 1831: Calhoun writes “Fort Hill Letter” justifying nullification.
  • April 1831: The Peggy “Eaton Affair” – dissension in Jackson Cabinet ranks, all Jackson’s cabinet member resign, because Jackson appointed John Eaton as Secretary of the Navy. (“Jackson reshuffles his cabinet following the divisive and ongoing “Peggy Eaton Affair.” The woman’s first husband supposedly committed suicide after discovering her dalliance with Tennessee senator John Eaton, whom Jackson later names secretary of war. Members of Jackson’s inner circle and their wives feud over accusations about the woman’s alleged behavior. Jackson supports the Eatons and is outraged by the charges.”)
  • September 26-28, 1831: Anti-Masonic Party nomination (first party convention), convenes at the Athenaeum in Baltimore, Maryland, and nominates William Wirt for President.
  • December 12-15, 1831: National Republican Party nomination convenes at the Athenaeum in Baltimore, Maryland, and nominates Henry Clay. Only convention of a major party in which the chairman calls upon all delegates individually for their votes. Peter Livingston (New York) gives the first convention nominating speech in presidential history.
  • January 25, 1832: Vice President Calhoun votes against Van Buren’s confirmation as Minister to Great Britain after the vote in the Senate ends in a tie
  • May 13, 1832: The House and Senate pass the “Tariff of Abomination.”
  • May 21-23, 1832: Democratic National Convention convenes at the Athenaeum in Baltimore, Maryland. Robert Lucas (Ohio) serves as Chairman. Convention nominates on the 1st ballot, Andrew Jackson (Tennessee) for President, and Martin Van Buren (New York) for Vice President.
  • June 14, 1832: Barbour Democratic Party convention in Staunton, Virginia nominates Andrew Jackson for President and Philip P. Barbour for Vice President.
  • July 10, 1832: President Jackson vetoes the renewal of the Second Bank of the United States’ charter and withdraws federal deposits from the Bank.
  • July 14, 1832: Senate debates the Second Bank of the United States’ charter, Henry Clay recounts a fight Jackson had with Missouri Thomas Hart Benton, and Benton’s then opinion of Jackson, which Benton denies, heated debate/fight on the floor of the Senate ensues. “I apologize to the Senate for the manner in which I have spoken,” Benton says after their fight is broken up “but not to the Senator from Kentucky.” Clay retorts, “To the Senate I also offer apology. To the Senator from Missouri, none!”
  • July 14, 1832: Congress reduces the Tariff.
  • August 11, 1832: First “labor” party forms in Philadelphia, also in Boston and New York
  • Biddle distributes 30,000 copies of Jackson’s Veto.
  • Clay’s supporters in Philadelphia receive funding from the banks to attack Jackson’s use of presidential veto power, this included anti-Jackson newspapers, pro-Bank Congressmen, anti-Jackson speeches, tracts, pamphlets, and journals distributed to thousands.
  • Employers threaten their workers not to vote for Jackson.
  • Jackson convinces the public that he vetoed the bank to protecting the people from the “privileged elite.”
  • November 2 – December 5, 1832: State Election days.
  • November 2, 1832: Ohio, Pennsylvania have their elections and choose their Presidential Electors.
  • November 3, 1832: Connecticut has their elections and chooses their Presidential Electors.
  • November 5, 1832: Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire have their elections and choose their Presidential Electors.
  • November 5-6, 1832: New Jersey has their elections and choose their Presidential Electors.
  • November 5-7, 1832: New York and Virginia have their elections and choose their Presidential Electors.
  • November 6, 1832: Kentucky has their elections and choose their Presidential Electors.
  • November 6-7, 1832: Louisiana has their elections and choose their Presidential Electors.
  • November 12, 1832: Alabama, Maryland have their elections and choose their Presidential Electors.
  • November 13, 1832: Vermont has their elections and chooses their Presidential Electors.
  • November 15, 1832: North Carolina has their elections and chooses their Presidential Electors.
  • November 15-16, 1832: Tennessee has their elections and chooses their Presidential Electors.
  • November 21, 1832: Rhode Island have their elections and choose their Presidential Electors.
  • November 24, 1832: Protective Tariff Bill of 1832, South Carolina plans a convention for to nullify the tariff within the state’s borders.
  • December 5, 1832: Presidential Electors meet to cast the electoral in their state capitols.
  • February 13, 1833: Congress assembles to count the electoral votes. Democrats Andrew Jackson is reelected President and Martin Van Buren is elected Vice President

 


1836

 

  • 1833: South Carolina attempts to nullify the tariff (Tariff of Abominations). States’ rights in the South (Andrew Jackson v. Sen. John C. Calhoun and the Nullifiers (Whig Party) opposition); Clay introduces a compromise tariff which ends the crisis.
  • March 1, 1833: “Pressed by Jackson, Congress passes the Force Bill, authorizing Jackson’s use of the army to gain compliance for federal law in South Carolina. Vice President Calhoun voices his dissent.”
  • March 28, 1834: “Jackson issues an order for the Treasury Department to withdrawal federal deposits from the Bank of the United States and place them in state banks. When Secretary of the Treasury William Duane refuses, Jackson fires him.”
  • March 28, 1834: “The Senate, led by Clay, Calhoun and Daniel Webster, passes a resolution of censure admonishing Jackson. The censure will be officially expunged from the record on January 16, 1837, the result of political bargaining. Jackson will continue to take action against the Bank, which closes its doors in 1841.”
  • 1833-1834: The National Republicans, anti-Masons, and anti-Jackson Democrats led by John Calhoun combine to form the Whig party to oppose the Democratic Party.
  • November 24, 1834: “A South Carolina state convention adopts the Ordinance of Nullification, a decree nullifying congressional acts involving duties and imposts on the importation of foreign commodities. Calhoun resigns as vice president and immediately takes his elected position as senator. No other states join South Carolina in this action.”
  • Early 1835: Senator Daniel Webster (Massachusetts) is the Whig front runner in the North.
  • May 20-22, 1835: Democratic Party National Convention convenes at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, Maryland. Andrew Stevenson (Virginia) serves as chairman. The convention nominates on the 1st ballot, Martin Van Buren (New York) for President and Richard M. Johnson (Kentucky) for Vice President. Southern Democrats dislike Jackson’s chosen successor Democrat Van Buren and oppose his running mate Colonel Richard Mentor Johnson who lived and had two children with a “mulatto” woman, Julia Chinn, an “octoroon” slave.
  • Late 1835: Former general William Henry Harrison and Whigs gains support in the North.
  • February 22, 1836: Ohio’s Whig State Convention endorses a ticket of Henry Harrison for the Presidential nominee, and Francis Granger the anti-Masonic Vice Presidential candidate.
  • May 4, 1836: The Anti- Masonic Convention does not choose a Presidential nominee.
  • August 1, 1836: Whig Party National Convention nominates William Henry Harrison. Because of sectional differences, the Whigs are unable to support a single candidate. There are four Whig Presidential candidates on the ballot.
  • Mid 1836: Northern Free States except for Massachusetts and three border states support Harrison as the Whig candidate.
  • 1836: The Southern Nullifiers; the Alabama and Tennessee state legislatures nominate Hugh Lawson White (Senator, Tennessee) a moderate on states’ rights as the Whig candidate
  • November 3-December 7, 1836: State election days
  • November 4, 1836: Ohio and Pennsylvannia have their elections and choose their Presidential Electors.
  • November 7, 1836: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, and Virginia have their elections and choose their Presidential Electors.
  • November 10, 1836: North Carolina has their elections and chooses their Presidential Electors.
  • November 14, 1836: Alabama and Massachusetts have their elections and choose their Presidential Electors.
  • November 15, 1836: Vermont has their elections and chooses their Presidential Electors.
  • November 16-17, 1836: New Jersey has their elections and chooses their Presidential Electors.
  • November 17, 1836: Tennessee has their elections and chooses their Presidential Electors.
  • November 23, 1836: Rhode Island has their elections and chooses their Presidential Electors.
  • January 26, 1837: Michigan achieves statehood.
  • February 4, 1837:  Michigan electoral votes are cast before it became a state. Congress resolves to count the electoral vote twice, once including and excluding Michigan in the final tally.
  • Virginia electors are pledged to vote for Van Buren, but instead they vote for William Smith as Vice President; refusing to vote for Richard Mentor Johnson.
  • Richard Mentor Johnson ends up with one vote less than the 148 electoral vote majority needed. As per Twelfth Amendment, the Senate decides the Vice-Presidential election from the top two vote-getters Johnson and Francis Granger. The Senate elects Johnson in a single ballot by 33 to 16.

 


1840

 

  • May 10, 1837: Panic of 1837 begins.
  • August 5, 1837: Van Buren announces he opposes the annexation of Texas, to both ease Mexican-American tensions and to show opposition to early Abolition movement.
  • September 5, 1837: Van Buren calls a special session of Congress to deal with the financial crisis.
  • Continuing fights over Tariff and over nullification,
  • “Gag Rules” squelching discussion about slavery in Congress
  • April 12, 1838: Whig members of Congress meet and decide to hold a national party convention to nominate their candidate for the upcoming election.
  • November 14, 1838:  Anti-Masonic Party National Convention convenes in Philadelphia and nominates William Henry Harrison for President.
  • February 7, 1839: Henry Clay’s gives his Senate speech, “I had rather be right than president”; Petitions for the Abolition of Slavery, supported the gradual and eventual abolition of slavery over time, deemed pro-Southern and pro-slavery, it is reminiscent of the 1824 Corrupt Bargain.
  • February 8, 1839: The New Bedford Mercury reports that the Whig front runners are Henry Clay and William Henry Harrison and that Daniel Webster withdrew from consideration
  • November 15, 1839: Independent Anti-Slavery Convention nominates James G. Birney for President.
  • December 4-7, 1839: Democratic Whig National Convention convenes in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and nominates William Henry Harrison for President, and John Tyler for Vice President.
  • Apr 2, 1840: Liberty Party Convention nominates James G. Birney for President.
  • April 14-16, 1840: “The Regal Splendor of the President’s Palace” a mass pamphlet circulates the speech of Rep. Charles Ogle (Whig-PA) attacking Van Buren as an aristocrat, also known as “The Gold Spoon Oration.”
  • May 5-6, 1840: Democratic National Convention convenes at the Hall of the Musical Association in Baltimore, Maryland and renominates Martin Van Buren for President.
  • July 4, 1840: Van Buren signs the Independent Treasury Act.
  • September 25, 1840: Whig’s organize a club “Original Jackson Men” that hold their convention in Columbus, Ohio, John Tyler is the keynote speaker
  • 60,000 march from Boston Common to Bunker Hill.
  • December 2, 1840: Presidential Electors meet in their respective state capitals and  cast the electoral votes.
  • December 10, 1841: Congress meets in joint session to count the electoral votes.
  • February 10, 1841 Joint session of Congress meets and counts the Electoral votes. Whigs William H. Harrison is elected President and John Tyler is elected Vice President.

 


1844

 

  • April 6, 1841: William Henry Harrison dies. John Tyler succeeds as President.
  • September 11, 1841: Tyler vetoes a bill to reestablish a National Bank of the United States, prompting his entire cabinet to resign except for Secretary of State Daniel Webster.
  • September 13, 1841: The Whig Party drives out President Tyler for political heresy. Tyler’s policies are considered too sympathetic to the Democratic Party that they alienate the Whigs.
  • August 31, 1843: Liberty Party nominates James G. Birney for President. The party runs on an anti-slavery platform and is Clay’s main competition for northern anti-slavery Whigs. Clay’s show of support for the annexation of Texas mollifies Southern voters, but alienates New York Whigs.
  • January 10, 1843: Congresses attempts to impeach President Tyler for vetoing a tariff bill in June 1842 fails.
  • Westward expansion; territorial expansionism; Manifest Destiny; Oregon territory and boundary dispute; Annexation of Texas as a slave state despite British (and growing Northern) pressure to abolish slavery in Texas
  • Many Democrats back Van Buren. Tyler faces reelection without the support of either of the major parties.
  • April 12, 1844: Secretary of State John C. Calhoun negotiates annexation with the Texas government
  • April 18, 1844: John Calhoun writes a letter to the British minister defending slavery in Texas.
  • April 22, 1844: President Tyler presents the Annexation of Texas Treaty to the Senate. Tyler tries to garner Southern support by warning Britain could interfere with slavery in Texas (abolition) if the US does not annex Texas.
  • June 8, 1844: The Northern states are suspicious of Calhoun’s defense of slavery to Britain. As a result, the Senate refuses to pass the treaty, making it the issue of the 1844 election. The Treaty will not pass by a two-thirds majority, therefore Tyler pushes for a joint Congressional resolution, but at the June recess, nothing is resolved.
  • April 27, 1844: Whig Henry Clay and Democrat Martin Van Buren each write letters that state they oppose the Annexation of Texas. They believe it is the only way can garner their party’s nomination.
  • April 19, 1844: Henry Clay writes his Raleigh Letter “I entertain no fears from the promulgation of my opinion. Public sentiment is every where sounder than at Washington.” Henry Clay runs into trouble with his “Raleigh Letter”: “menace the existence, if not certainly sow the seeds of dissolution of the Union. I consider the annexation of Texas, at this time, without the assent of Mexico, as a measure compromising the national character, involving us certainly in war with Mexico, probably with foreign powers, dangerous to the integrity of the Union, inexpedient in the present financial condition of the country, and not called for by any general expression of public opinion.”
  • May 6, 1844: Henry Clay to New York’s Thurlow Weed, “I am firmly convinced that my opinion on the Texas question will do me no prejudice at the South.”
  • May 1844: Tyler is a President without a party; he hopes to gain the Democratic Party’s nomination for President, however, most Northern Democrats initially support former President Martin Van Buren for the nomination.
  • May 1, 1844: Whig Party National Convention convenes at the Universalist Church Building, Baltimore MD. Henry Clay is unanimously nominated for President.
  • May 27-28, 1844: The National Democratic Tyler Convention convenes in  Baltimore and nominates John Tyler for a second term, but does not nominate a Vice President. The convention occurs currently with the Democratic convention and hopes to influence the Democrats in the nomination choice. Tyler is at first enthusiastic about his chances and accepts the nomination.
  • May 27-29, 1844: Democratic National Convention convenes in Odd Fellows Hall, Baltimore, MD. Hendrick Bradley Wright (Pennsylvania) serves as chairman. The convention nominates on the 9th ballot, James K. Polk, (Tennessee) for President and nominates George M. Dallas (Pennsylvania) for Vice President. Martin Van Buren has a plurality of the delegate votes on the first ballot. His letter opposing the immediate annexation of Texas alienates Southern Democrats, but also Andrew Jackson who supports annexation. The Convention divides into pro- and anti- Van Buren factions. To reduce his chances, Van Buren’s opponents lobby for a rule requiring the candidate to win nomination with a two-thirds majority instead of a simple majority. Once the convention adopts the “two thirds” rule to clinch the nomination, Van Buren loses support on subsequent ballots. Polk is nominated on the 9th ballot after shifts after Van Buren withdraws. Polk originally sought the Vice Presidential nomination, but gains momentum from the delegates in the 8th vote as the only man to unite the divided Democrats. Polk makes a one term pledge to reassure disappointed rivals he will not be on the scene too long.
  • June 6, 1844: New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette refers to John Tyler’s nomination acceptance address from the National Democratic Tyler Convention, but the paper does not print the text of Tyler’s letter.
  • June 8, 1844: (The Annexation of Texas Treaty fails to receive the required two-thirds vote in the Senate in order to pass.)
  • June 19, 1844: The new democratic ethos generatees pressure on Polk to clarify his policy positions. In his letter to John Kane, Polk opposes “a tariff for protection merely and not for revenue.” The firestorm the “Kane Letter” ignites – and is attacked by some for its clarity, others as a “straddle” — inhibits Polk – and other candidates – from further clarifications.
  • June 26, 1844: President John Tyler marries Miss Julia Gardiner.
  • Polk is denounced for not clarifying further his position on annexation. Tennessee Governor Lean Jimmy Jones asks of Polk: “Why does he not speak out like a man? Why are his lips sealed as with the stillness of death?”
  • Joseph Smith, Jr. (Founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) runs for President Sidney Rigdon as his Vice-Presidential running mate; Smith’s presidential platform consisted of reducing government by a third, and ending slavery through constitutional means.
  • June 23, 1844: (Ewing to Clay letter, discusses Liberty Party Presidential nominee Birney’s threat to siphon off enough votes of anti-slavery Whigs in the North to put Polk in the White House; “aboli[tionis]ts had more hope from the election of Mr. Polk than yourself.”)
  • June 27, 1844: Smith’s campaign ends when he is murdered.
  • July 1, 1844: Clay writes his first Alabama Letter. The popularity of the Democrats’ proposed total acquisition of the Oregon Territory and westward expansion, prompts Henry Clay to support annexation despite his original opposition, only if it would be accomplished with “just and  fair” terms and without war.
  • July 27, 1844: Clay writes his Second Alabama Letter. Henry Clay’s inability to take a solid position on the annexation of Texas and the slavery issue which would have garnered him strong support in either the North or South might have cost him the election.
  • August 16, 1844: Henry Clay, Tuscumbia North Alabamian, “Second Alabama Letter” Two backpedaling “Alabama Letters” fueling controversy about his stance on slavery and Texas, then raising questions about his integrity and consistency.
  • August 25, 1844: Tyler withdraws from the Presidential race.
  • August 29, 1844: Tyler’s official letter is printed in several newspapers. Tyler possibly feared his candidacy would take away votes from Polk and give the election to Clay.
  • November 1 – December 4, 1844: Many new citizens vote against Henry Clay, fearing Whigs’ anti-immigration sentiments.
  • December 4, 1844: Presidential Electors cast the electoral votes in their state capitals.
  • December 12, 1845: Congress assembles in joint session to count the electoral votes. Democrat James K. Polk is elected President, and George M. Dallas is elected Vice President.


1848

 

  • January 23, 1845: Congress passes Act, all thirty states in the Union vote on the same first Tuesday after the second Monday in November  (always to stay within 34 days of the Electoral College convening, as mandated by Congress since 1792).
  • February 28, 1845: Congress passes a joint resolution to annex Texas.
  • March 1 (2), 1845: Annexation of Texas “President John Tyler signs legislation to authorize the United States to annex the Republic of Texas” Treaty is necessary because Texas is still considered a foreign territory, because Mexico did not acknowledge its independence. Texas becomes a state immediately.
  • March 3, 1845: Florida is admitted as the 27th state of the Union and as a slave state.
  • March 28, 1845: Mexico breaks off diplomatic relations with the United States.
  • June 25, 1845? May 28, 1845: President Polk orders General Zachary Taylor to have his troops ready in case of military aggression by Mexico.
  • June 1845: Mexico begins military preparations.
  • June 23, 1845: Texas votes and approves United States proposal for annexation.
  • December 2, 1845: Polk gives his message to Congress introduces “Polk Doctrine”
  • December 29, 1845: Texas is admitted as the 28th state of the Union, and the 15th slave state
  • April 25, 1846 – February 2, 1848: Mexican-American War
  • May 13, 1846: Congress declares war on Mexico.
  • June 14, 1846: Bear Flag Revolt, (“thirty American settlers take over a Mexican garrison in Sonoma, California, and declare California a free and independent republic.”)
  • June 15, 1846: The Oregon Treaty comes into law, and delineates that the 49th parallel divides the Oregon Territory’s between the American and British.
  • July 29, 1846: Congress passes the Tariff of 1846 or “Walker Tariff.”
  • November 1846: Whigs gain control of the House due to the backlash against the unpopular Mexican-American War.
  • February 22-23, 1847: “General Zachary Taylor defeats the Mexicans under General Santa Anna at the Battle of Buena Vista.”
  • February 1847: Wilmot Proviso would have banned slavery in the territories acquired in the Mexican-American War. Fights over the Wilmot Proviso attempting to stop slavery from expanding into the new territories acquired in the Mexican-American War.
  • September 14, 1847: General Winfield Scott takes Mexico City to pressure the Mexican government to agree to President Polk’s terms for a peace treaty.
  • December 24, 1847: Lewis Cass addresses to Alfred Osborne Pope Nicholson his “Nicholson Letter”, the contents become the basis of his campaign platforl Cass endorses popular sovereignty, trusting the people in each territory to decide on slavery.
  • February 2, 1848: Nicholas Trist negotiates with the Mexican government which results in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ending the Mexican-American War, and Mexican Cession of new territories of Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.
  • February 23, 1848: President Polk sends the treaty to Senate.
  • March 10, 1848: Senate ratifies Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo by a vote of 38-14.
  • Taylor’s popularity as Old “Rough and Ready,” the war hero of Buena Visita, frustrates Henry Clay who exclaims: “I wish I could slay a Mexican.”
  • May 25, 1848: Congress ratifies Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
  • May 22-26, 1848: Slavery becomes the campaigns biggest issue; two delegations from New York want to be placed at the Democratic Party convention; “Barnburners”, who are antislavery, anti-Polk, and pro-Wilmot Proviso, and Hunkers, party regulars, pledge to vote the party’s candidate. Neither delegation is seated at the convention.
  • May 22-25, 1848: Democratic Party National convenes at Universalist Church; Baltimore, Maryland. Andrew Stevenson (Virginia) serves as chairman. The convention nominates on the 4th ballot, Lewis Cass (Michigan) for President, and  William O. Butler (Kentucky) for Vice President. Martin Van Buren’s New York supporters, “Barn burners,” oppose Cass’s nomination at the convention; as anti-slavery Democrats, they fear Cass would extend slavery into the new western territories. They walk out of the convention and form the Free Soil Party.
  • May 29, 1848: Wisconsin is admitted as the thirtieth state.
  • June 1848: Whig Party National Convention convenes at the Chinese Museum Building, Philadelphia, nominates Zachary Taylor for President, and Millard Fillmore for Vice President.
  • June 22, 1848: New York Barnburners convene in Utica New York and nominate Martin Van Buren as their candidate for the Presidency.
  • After his nomination, weeks pass and Zachary Taylor does not officially accept the Whig nomination. Taylor’s refusal to pay for non-prepaid letters results in 48 envelopes, including the official notification, sitting in the dead-letter office for weeks.
  • July 12-20, 1848: Women’s Rights Convention headed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott at Wesleyan Methodist Church in Seneca Falls, New York calls for women’s suffrage.
  • July 27, 1848: Abraham Lincoln member House of Representatives states on the House floor; “The people say to General Taylor, ‘If you are elected, shall we have a national bank?’ He answers, ‘Your will, gentlemen, not mine.’ ‘What about the tariff?’ ‘Say yourselves.’ ‘Shall our rivers and harbors be improved?’ ‘Just as you please. If you desire a bank, an alteration of the tariff, internal improvements, any or all, I will not hinder you. If you do not desire them, I will not attempt to force them on you. . .’ “
  • August 2, 1848: Last American military forces vacate Mexico.
  • August 9, 1848: Free Soil Party forms in Buffalo, headed by Salmon P. Chase and John Parker Hale. The new party is composed of antislavery Democrats and  Liberty Party members and “Conscience Whigs”. The free soil convention consists of delegates from 17 states, and the slave states of Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.  The new party endorses and nominates Martin Van Buren for President, and Charles Francis Adams, as Vice President. Antislavery platform, support for the Wilmot Proviso and allocation of free land for settlers. “free soil, free speech, free labor, and free men.”
  • September 4, 1848: Zachary Taylor’s “Allison Letter” saying he was “a Whig but not an ultra Whig” reassured some partisans unsure where this apolitical war hero stood. They show Taylor still reaching out to Whig regulars. Taylor says he was following “good Whig doctrine” by saying “I would not be a partisan President and hence should not be a party candidate.”
  • November 7, 1848: Election Day; the Democratic Party’s divisions between those who were pro and anti-slavery expansion, allowed the Whigs to capture the Northeast electoral votes and win the election. Zachary Taylor is elected President, and Millard Fillmore is elected Vice President.
  • November 1848: Democrats gain a majority in the House.
  • December 6, 1848: Presidential Elector cast their votes in their state capitals.
  • February 14, 1849: Joint session of Congress assembles to count the electoral votes.

 

 

1852

 

  • 1849: The American “Know Nothing” Party forms, it is a nativist, anti-foreigner and anti-Catholic party; the party begins as a secret society in New York.
  • May-September 1850: Congress debates slavery in the territories. Henry Clay proposes the Compromise of 1850, Daniel Webster with Stephen Douglas support the measure, and John C. Calhoun of South Carolina opposes it. The Compromise of 1850 divides the Whig Party; Southern Whigs opposed it, while Northern Whigs supported it. Among Democrats, some Southern Democrats opposed the compromise but the majority supported it.
  • 1850: President Taylor threatens to veto Compromise of 1850 even if it means Civil War.
  • July 9, 1850: “Zachary Taylor dies of “cholera morbus.””
  • July 10, 1850: Vice President Millard Fillmore secedes as President.
  • August 6, 1850: Fillmore announces he supports the Compromise of 1850, in a letter to Congress he wants Texas to give up claims to areas of New Mexico and that the Wilmot Proviso be overturned.
  • September 9, 1850: As part of the Compromise, California, enters as a free state, a border would be established between Texas and New Mexico, New Mexico would established as a free or slaveholding state when they will be admitted to the Union, and Utah establishes it’s borders according to the rules governing New Mexico, “popular sovereignty.”
  • September 18, 1850: Congress passes The Fugitive Slave Law or the Fugitive Slave Act it is concession to the slaveholding south.
  • September 20, 1850: “Congress passes the Compromise of 1850, written by Kentucky senator Henry Clay.” The Compromises solves the issue of slavery within the territories with slave holding states divided at the thirty-seventh parallel, and abolished in Washington, DC. The Compromise causes increase sectional sentiments.
  • 1851: The Southern Rights Party forms with a faction of the Democratic Party from the Southern States.
  • 1851: The Union party forms with a faction of the Whig Party from the Southern States including Georgia.
  • September 17, 1851: Liberty Party Convention holds its first convention for the upcoming election. The convention convenes in Buffalo, New York and nominates Gerrit Smith for President.
  • June 1851: New Hampshire’s “Concord Cabal”, friends of Franklin Pierce hold a convention and nominate Levi Woodbury for President and Luke Woodbury for Governor.
  • June 5, 1851: Uncle Tom’s Cabin (or Life Among the Lowly), by Harriet Beecher Stowe is first published in the National Era.
  • September 4, 1851: Justice Levi Woodbury dies, forcing his New England backers to seek a new candidate.
  • March 20, 1852: Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin or Life among the Lowly, is published as a two volume book. A bestseller with 1.2 million copies sold in the first 16 months of publication. The book increases antislavery sympathies in the north, and “hostility in the South” due to its portrayal of slavery’s cruelty.   The story originally published as a serial in a Washington newspaper and is later a theatrical production adapted by George L. Aiken.
  • June 1-5, 1852: Democratic National Convention convenes at Maryland Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. John W. Davis (Indiana) serves as chairman. The convention nominates on the 49th ballot Franklin Pierce (New Hampshire) for President and William R. King (Alabama) for Vice President. Each of the front runner candidates represent a faction in the slavery debate, none however are able to reach the needed two-thirds delegate support. Franklin Pierce is the compromise candidate, a dark horse candidate, his name is introduced on the 35th ballot, he wins the nomination on the 49th ballot. Senator William R. King of Alabama nominated for Vice President. Party platform supports the Compromise of 1850, but also the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798.
  • June 20, 1852: Whig Party National Convention nominates Winfield Scott for President. Scott is nominated on the 53rd ballot; the ballot faces sectional differences. Party platform supports the Compromise of 1850.
  • June 29, 1852: Henry Clay dies of Tuberculosis in Washington.
  • August 7, 1852: Union Party National Convention nominates Secretary of State Daniel Webster for President.
  • August 12, 1852: Free Soil National Convention, Masonic Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania nominates John Parker Hale. Their platform opposes the Compromise of 1850 and slavery.
  • September 1852: Winfield Scott’s five-week “nonpolitical” tour of the West to garner votes and not appear to be stumping. Scott claims he is en route to a hospital, he tells military anecdotes to audiences along the tour.
  • September 3, 1852: Liberty Party National 2nd Convention convenes in Syracuse, New York where no candidate is nominated.
  • September 14, 1852: The Southern Rights National Convention convenes in  Montgomery, Alabama and nominates George Michael Troup for President.
  • September 22, 1852: Free Democratic Party Convention nominates Gerrit Smith for President.
  • September 30, 1852: Liberty Party 3rd National Convention convenes on Syracuse, New York and nominates William Goodell for President.
  • October 24, 1852: Union Party candidate former Senator and Secretary of State Daniel Webster dies at his home in Massachusetts.
  • Despite the death of Union Party candidate Daniel Webster, the Union ticket is featured on the ballots in Massachusetts and Georgia, winning many votes there, signaling the end of the Whig Party.
  • Oct 27, 1852: Native American Party Convention nominates Jacob Broom for President.
  • November 2, 1852: Election day, Franklin Pierce is elected President, and William King is elected Vice President. Whig candidate Scott wins the North by a 142-11 vote, 21 votes for Webster; Fillmore wins the South by a margin of 101-17.
  • November, 1852: “Democrats gain three Senate seats for a 38-22 majority over the Whigs. The Democrats gain 19 seats in the House for a 159-71 majority.”
  • December 1, 1852: Presidential Electors meet in their state capitals and cast the electoral votes.
  • February 9, 1853: Joint session of Congress assembles to count the electoral votes.

 

 


1856

 

  • December 30, 1853: “The Gadsden Purchase, negotiated by James Gadsden, U.S. minister to Mexico, is signed.” The United States finalizes it continental border by acquiring 29,600 square miles in southwest Arizona and New Mexico.
  • January 19, 1854: “Appeal of the Independent Democrats in Congress to the People of the United States” warns against repealing the Missouri Compromise denounces Kansas-Nebraska Act as an “atrocious plot” by the Slave Power.
  • May 30, 1854: Pierce signs the Kansas-Nebraska Act into law. The act introduced by Democratic Senator Stephen Douglas repeals the Missouri Compromise, Kansas and Nebraska would be organized by “popular sovereignty.” Pierce opposes the act which he believes will cause controversy.
  • February 28, 1854: Conscience Whigs, Free-Soilers, and Anti-Slavery Democrats meet in Ripon, Wisconsin to protest the Kansas-Nebraska Act and decide to form a new political party in opposition to the expansion of slavery.
  • July 6, 1854: Republican Party is founded in Jackson, Michigan. It’s supporters include Whigs, Free-Soilers, and northern Democrats who oppose slavery’s expansion and the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The party has an anti-slavery platform.
  • 1854: The Whig Party divide into “Silver Greys” or “Nationals” who support Millard Fillmore, northern commerce, and the South versus “Conscience” Whigs or “Wooly Heads” who support William Henry Seward and the Anti-Slavery forces.
  • October 18, 1854: Ostend Manifesto. After Secretary of State William Marcy wants Pierre Soulé, U.S. minister to Britain to negotiate Cuba’s purchase, Soulé, James Buchanan, and the U.S. minister to France, John Y. Mason, devises a secret plan in Ostend, Belgium to purchase Cuba, and if Spain would not agree, the United States would forcibly take the Island. The plan leaks to the press, because Cuba would have been a slave state, which the Pierce administration refuses.
  • November 1854: Know Nothing Party forms, sweeps the 1854 mid-term elections in Massachusetts and Delaware, and has strong showings throughout the northeast states.
  • November 1854: Mid-term Congressional elections, Whigs power waning. “Forty-four Republicans are elected to the House of Representatives.”
  • 1955: Settlers move in to Kansas Territory predominantly from Free states.
  • March 30, 1855: Free-Soilers and pro-slavery settlers fight over control of the territorial government in Kansas. 5000 Missouri Border Ruffians use force and fear to ensure the pro-slavery faction wins the states legislature in the election.
  • June 5, 1855: “The Native American Party, or Know-Nothing Party, becomes the American Party.” Rise of the anti-immigrant “American Party” known as the “Know Nothings”
  • September 5, 1855: Antislavery settlers in Kansas form the Free State forces. Abolitionist John Brown goes to Kansas to head the army.
  • October 23-November 2, 1855: Anti-slavery Kansans form the Free-State Party, in Topeka they write a constitution that prohibits slaves within the state, the constitution is approved through a popular vote.
  • October 23, 1855: Free State forces write the Topeka Constitution, it outlaws slavery, and forms “a second government in Kansas.”
  • November 26, 1855: Wakarusa War, Fifteen hundred Border Ruffians attack the town later renamed Lawrence. They withdraw after discovering Free State forces defending the town. Lawrence “becomes the center of Free-State activities after being founded by the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Society.”
  • January 15, 1856: Free Soilers in Kansas elect a Free-State legislature; Kansas now has two legislatures, one slave, one free.
  • February 11, 1856: President Franklin Pierce issues an order for both Kansas legislatures.
  • February 11-14, 1856: Dred Scott v. Sandford arguments held before the Supreme Court.
  • February 22, 1856: “The Republican Party holds its first national meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.”
  • February 22-25, 1856: The American National Convention, convenes in National Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The “Know-Nothing Party nominates Millard Fillmore for President and Andrew Donelson for Vice President.
  • April 23, 1856: Free Soilers shoot Douglas County Sheriff Samuel Jones when he attempts arrest free state settlers.
  • May 11, 1856: Federal marshal J. B. Donaldson announces that the free soilers’ action in April interfered with the government warrants for the Free state legislature. The pro-slavery legislature determined that Free State representatives were acting as an extralegal organization. A Grand jury concludes that Lawrence’s Free State Hotel was actually a fort. This announcement causes Sheriff Jones and an army of 700 to destroy the hotel and the free state partisan presses.
  • May 19-20, 1856: “Border Ruffians” menacing Lawrence; Kansas, Senator Charles Sumner delivered his stinging speech denouncing the “Crime Against Kansas” and mocking the authors of the “Kansas-Nebraska Act,” including Senator Andrew Butler of South Carolina.
  • May 21, 1856: Sack of Lawrence, violence erupts in Lawrence, Kansas “Bleeding Kansas” between Free-Soilers and pro-slavery settlers from Kansas; Ohio. One death and extensive property damage results from the violence.  
  • May 22, 1856: Congressman Preston Brooks, Butler’s nephew, beat Senator Sumner on the head repeatedly with a thick gutta-perch cane, until it snapped. “The Caning of Sumner” outraged the North, in the midst of the campaign.
  • May 24-25, 1856: Pottawatomie Massacre, Abolitionist John Brown along with his four sons, three others seek revenge on the pro-slavery supporters. At night, they attack and kill five members of the pro-slavery Law and Order Party in Pottawatomie Creek.
  • June 4, 1856: Governor Shannon of Kansas attempts to end the violence by ordering armed groups to disband, instead a “civil war” erupts.
  • June 2, 1856: “The anti-slavery section of the Know-Nothing Party nominates John C. Fremont for President and W.F. Johnston for vice president.”
  • June 2-6, 1856: Democratic National Convention convenes in Smith and Nixon’s Hall at Cincinnati, Ohio. John E. Ward (Georgia) serves as chairman. The convention nominates on the 17th ballot, James Buchanan (Pennsylvania) for President, and John C. Breckinridge, (Kentucky) for Vice President. Franklin Pierce, the incumbent is denied the Democratic party’s nomination because of his association the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Pierce supporters move to support Stephen A. Douglas to thwart Buchanan’s nomination; however, Douglas is also taken out of consideration for the same Kansas connection. James Buchanan wins the nomination on the 17th ballot, John C. Breckinridge wins the nomination on the second ballot. Party platform supports the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Compromise of 1850.
  • June 17, 1856: North American (Seceders) Party Convention nominates Robert Field Stockton for President. Northern Anti-slavery Americans form the North American Party, also called “Northern Bolters” or “republican Sympathizers”
  • June 17-19, 1856: Republican National Convention convenes at Musical Fund Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The convention nominates on the 2nd ballot, John C. Frémont (California) for President and William L. Dayton (New Jersey) for Vice President. The first Republican Party Convention; the party’s platform supports Congress regulating slavery in the territories; criticizes Ostend Manifesto, admission of Kansas as a free state.
  • June 12-20, 1856: North American Party Convention, New York City
  • August 1, 1856: “Bleeding Kansas” continues.
  • August 13, 1856: Beecher’s Bible armed Free State supporters from the North East come to Kansas and attack town of Franklin.
  • August 24-26, 1856: “400 to 600 hundred pro-slavery Missourians attack John Brown and 40 defenders.” Battle of Osawatomie, the entire settlement except for four homes is burned, and “John Brown’s son Frederick is killed.”
  • August 30, 1856: Pro-slavery supporters drive Brown and 40 others from Osawatomie. Guerilla attacks continue.
  • September 11, 1856: New territorial governor John W. Geary is appointed to Kansas in hopes of squelching the violence.
  • September 17-18, 1856: 5th and last Whig National Convention convenes at Hall of the Maryland Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. The Whig Party endorses the American Know-Nothing Party candidates.
  • 1856: Democrats call the Republicans “Black Republicans”; Governor Wise of Virginia claims “If Frémont is elected, there will be a revolution.” The south would secede and there would be civil war;
  • 1856: Eastern businessmen fear the Republicans’ affect on the economy; they contribute huge amounts of money to the Democratic Party for their victory; Republicans could not compete in donations.
  • November 4, 1856: Election Day, Democrats James Buchanan is elected President and John Breckenridge elected is Vice President.
  • December 3, 1856: Presidential Electors cast the electoral votes in their state capitals.
  • January 15, 1857: “The State of Disunion Convention, contemplating the peaceful separation of North and South, is held in Worcester, Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Society supports this gathering. William Lloyd Garrison delivers a speech avowing “No union with slaveholders.””
  • February 11, 1857: Joint session of Congress assembles to count the electoral vote.


1860

 

  • March 6, 1857: U.S. Supreme Court announces its 7-2 majority decision in the Dred Scott case. Chief Justice Roger Taney declares blacks are not citizens and cannot sue; and federal and territorial governments cannot ban slavery within the territories.
  • October 19-November 8 1857: Proslavery delegates convene to write a proslavery constitution in Lecompton.
  • March 4, 1857: Proslavery factions force Governor Geary to resign after he announces he will oppose any proslavery state constitution that is not submitted to a popular vote.
  • October 5, 1857: Kansas elects Governor Robert J. Walker and a Free State legislature
  • December 21, 1857: Lecompton Constitution’s referendum, rigged to include slavery despite voter outcome is sent to Congress to consider.
  • January 4, 1858: Kansas territory rejects the Lecompton Constitution by a vote of 10,226 to 138.
  • March 23, 1858: “Senate votes to accept Kansas into the Union under the Lecompton Constitution after it has already been rejected in Kansas. The House votes to resubmit the Constitution to popular vote.”
  • August 2, 1858: Third referendum on the Lecompton Constitution that Congress orders takes place. The voters reject it overwhelmingly 11,300-1,788.
  • 1858: The Lincoln-Douglas debates.
  • 1858-1859: Republicans take control of the House.
  • March 12, 1859: “Southern Commercial Convention meets in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Southern slave owners advocate for the reopening of the African slave trade.”
  • July 5, 1859: “Fourth and final Kansas Constitutional Convention convenes in Wyandotte, Kansas, to decide if Kansas will be a free or slave state and drafts a state constitution; the document prohibits slavery in the state.”
  • October 4, 1859: “Kansas Constitution is ratified as an antislavery document by an overwhelming popular vote. A provisional state government is elected in December.”
  • October 16, 1859: John Brown raids Harper’s Ferry, Virginia.
  • December 2, 1859: Authorities capture and hang Brown in Charles Town, Virginia, “for murder, conspiracy, and treason against the state of Virginia.”
  • February 27, 1860: Abraham Lincoln gives a speech at Cooper Union in New York leads to his nomination and election to the Presidency.
  • March 24, 1860: Abraham Lincoln sums up his strategy in a letter to Samuel Galloway: “My name is new in the field; and I suppose I am not the first choice of a very great many. Our policy, then, is to give no offence to others—leave them in a mood to come to us, if they shall be compelled to give up their first love.”
  • May 9, 1860: Constitutional Union Party Convention convenes; party consists of former Whig and American party members. The convention nominates John Bell for the presidency and Edward Everett for the vice president.
  • May 16-18, 1860: Republican Party National Convention convenes at the Wigwam, Chicago, Illinois, and nominates on the 3rd ballot Abraham Lincoln (Illinois) for President and Hannibal Hamlin (Maine) for Vice President.
  • April 23-May 3, 1860: Democratic Party convenes in South Carolina Institute Hall; Charleston Caleb Cushing of Massachusetts serves as chairman. 57 none (deadlocked) none (deadlocked) 50 Southern delegates (led by “Fire-Eaters”) walk out of the first Democratic convention
  • June 28? 18?, 1860: Democratic Party National Convention at the Front Street Theater, Baltimore, Maryland. Additional Southern senators bolt from the second convention. They reconvene at the Maryland Institute in Baltimore and nominate John C. Breckenridge for President and Joseph Lane for the vice president. The “platform supports slavery in the territories.”
  • Abraham Lincoln makes no speeches; the party manages the campaign. There are Republican speakers, campaign posters, leaflets, thousands of newspaper editorials. Watching it all from Springfield, Illinois, Lincoln’s law partner William H. Herndon reports that Lincoln was “bored – bored badly.”
  • President Buchanan and former President Franklin Pierce decide to support Southern Democratic Party nominee John Breckinridge rather than Stephen Douglas.
  • In the North, the campaign is between Lincoln and Douglas, in the South it was between Breckinridge and John Bell.
  • Stephen Douglas is the first Presidential candidate to go on the stump; he gives speeches and interviews. Stephen A. Douglas went on the stump, but at first denies it, claiming he merely was traveling around to visit his mother in upstate New York, attend his brother-in-law’s graduation from Harvard, and visit his father’s grave in Vermont.
  • October 1860: After state elections indicated a Republican victory, Douglas decides to tour the Southern states and convince them not to secede should and when Lincoln would be elected President. “Mr. Lincoln is the next President,” Douglas said after the Republicans swept the bellwether state elections. “We must try to save the Union. I will go South.”
  • November 6, 1860:  Douglas has a presence in Southern cities, while Breckinridge makes some headway in the North, particularly Pennsylvania; Fusion tickets of non-Republicans in the North nearly cost Lincoln New York’s electoral votes and the election
  • December 5, 1860: Presidential Electors cast the electoral votes in their state capitals.
  • December 18, 1860: Crittenden Compromise, in attempt to prevent Southern secession Kentucky senator John Crittenden proposes extending slavery across the same line as the Missouri compromise, (36 30), a position Lincoln opposes.
  • December 20, 1860: South Carolina unanimously votes to secede from the Union.
  • February 13, 1861: Joint session of Congress assembles to count the electoral vote.
  • January 9, 1861: “Mississippi becomes the second state to secede from Union.”
  • January 10, 1861: “Florida secedes from Union.”
  • January 11, 1861: “Alabama secedes from Union.”
  • January 19, 1861: “Georgia secedes from Union.”
  • January 26, 1861: “Louisiana secedes from Union.”
  • January 29, 1861: “Kansas is admitted to the Union as the thirty-fourth state, entering as a free state.”
  • February 4, 1861: “The Confederate States of America (CSA) is formed in Montgomery, Alabama, from seven secessionist states.”
  • February 7, 1861: Kansas adopts a provisional constitution.
  • February 9, 1861: Jefferson Davis is elected President of the CSA, and Alexander Stephens is elected vice president. The provisional Congress agrees to use all laws of the Unites States, except those that conflict with their constitution.
  • February 18, 1861: “Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as President of the Confederacy. The capital of the Confederacy, Montgomery, Alabama, will later be moved to Richmond, Virginia.”
  • February 23, 1861: Texas secedes from Union.

 

 

 

1864

 

  • February 7, 1861: Confederate States of America forms consists of the lower Southern states from South Carolina to Texas. Jefferson Davis is elected president.
  • April 12, 1861: Confederate attack on Fort Sumter “last remaining federal station in the South” after Lincoln attempts to resupply it.
  • April 15, 1861: After the attack on Fort Sumter, President Lincoln declares Civil War with the Southern states.
  • April 17, 1861: Virginia secedes from the union is followed by North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas. The “Four border slave states remain in the Union.”
  • April 19, 1861: “Lincoln orders a blockade of Confederate ports.”
  • May 6, 1861: “Arkansas secedes from the Union.”
  • May 20, 1861: “North Carolina secedes from the Union.”
  • May 21, 1861: Capital of the Confederacy moves to Richmond, Virginia.
  • June 8, 1861: “Tennessee secedes from the Union.”
  • July 21, 1861: Battle of Bull Run, Manassas, Virginia.
  • October 31, 1861: “General Winfield Scott retires as commander in chief of the Union army.”
  • November 1, 1861: Lincoln names George McClellan the commander of the Union army.
  • April 16, 1862: “Slavery is abolished in District of Columbia.”
  • August 29-30, 1862: The Second Battle of Bull Run.
  • September 17, 1862: The Battle of Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg, Maryland.
  • September 22, 1862: Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation.
  • November 1862: Midterm elections the Republicans retain control of Congress, 39-12 in the Senate and 103-80 in the House.
  • December 13, 1862: Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia, major Union defeat.
  • January 1, 1863: “The Emancipation Proclamation goes into effect.”
  • July 1-5, 1863: The Battle of Gettysburg, turning point n the war, Confederacy from then on fights on the defensive.
  • November 19, 1863: Lincoln gives his Gettysburg Address
  • January 14, 1864: General Sherman begins his march to the South.
  • May 4, 1864: Ulysses S. Grant crosses the Rapidan? and begins to push Confederate General Robert E. Lee into the outer defenses of Richmond.
  • May 7-20, 1864: General Grant heads the Spotsylvania campaign.
  • May 31, 1864: Independent Republican Party Convention convenes and nominates John Charles Frémont for President.
  • May 29, 1864: The Radical Republican National Convention convenes in Cleveland, Ohio Radical Republicans want Constitutional amendments to prohibit slavery and grant blacks legal equality
  • June 7-8, 1864: Union National Convention convenes at Front Street Theatre, nominates on the 1st ballot Abraham Lincoln (Illinois) for President and Andrew Johnson (Tennessee) for Vice President.  Republicans and war Democrats unite together and form the “Nation Union” Party. They support Abraham Lincoln and his policies. All Northern states participate.
  • June 9, 1864: Abraham Lincoln accepts the Union Party’s nomination for President: “I have not permitted myself, gentlemen, to conclude that I am the best man in the country; but I am reminded, in this connection, of a story of an old Dutch farmer, who remarked to a companion once that ‘it was not best to swap horses when crossing streams.”
  • June 18, 1864: Battle of Petersburg ends after 4 days
  • July 11, 1864: Gen J. Early and Confederate troops invade Washington, DC.
  • July 22, 1864: Battle of Atlanta
  • August 29-31, 1864: Democratic National Convention convenes at The Amphitheatre, Chicago, Horatio Seymour (New York) serves chairman. Pro-war General George B. McClellan (New Jersey) is nominated on the 1st ballot, anti-war Representative George H. Pendleton (Ohio) is nominated for Vice President. The Democratic Party divides over the war and slavery into different factions: War Democrats; Peace Democrats; Moderate Peace Democrats; Radical Peace Democrats (Copperheads) The inconsistent political compromises that is made at the Democratic National Convention undermines McClellan’s campaign.
  • May 7-September 2, 1864: Atlanta Campaign led by General William Tecumseh Sherman
  • September 1-2, 1864: General John Hood and Confederates evacuate from Atlanta, Georgia.
  • September 3, 1864: General William Tecumseh Sherman and Union forces occupy Atlanta.
  • September 1864: Frémont withdraws from the campaign to better the chances of defeating McClellan.
  • October 31, 1864: Nevada joins the Union only a few days prior to Election Day and appoints electors.
  • Union victories by Admiral Farragut in Alabama and General Sherman in Atlanta. November 8, 1864: Only 24states participate in the election, 11 seceded from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America. Three new states participate for the first time: Nevada, West Virginia, and Kansas. The reconstructed portions of Tennessee and Louisiana elect presidential electors, although Congress does not count their votes. Union Party, Abraham Lincoln is reelected President, Andrew Johnson is elected Vice President; Lincoln wins more than 70 percent of the ballots cast by soldiers.
  • November 15, 1864: General Sherman begins his march to the sea by leaving Union captured Atlanta, uses “total warfare.”
  • December 7, 1864: Presidential Electors cast their electoral votes in their states capitals.
  • February 8, 1865: Joint session of Congress in the U.S. House chamber count the electoral votes.
  • March 11, 1861: “Confederate Congress unanimously adopts the Confederate Constitution.”

 


1868

 

  • March 3, 1865: Congress creates the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, Freedmen’s Bureau
  • April 9, 1865: Confederate General Robert E Lee surrenders at Appomattox Court House, Virginia to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant ending the Civil War.
  • April 14, 1865: (10:15 pm) John Wilkes Booth shoots President Lincoln at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
  • April 15, 1865: (7:22 am) Abraham Lincoln dies in the home of William Petersen; Andrew Johnson succeeds as President.
  • May 29, 1865: President Andrew Johnson announces his Reconstruction Plan to allow Southern states back into the Union; white Southerners who take loyalty oath will regain property below $20,000; North Carolina Reconstruction plan, provisional governors and new constitutions abolishing slavery, and renouncing secession. Reconstruction becomes an issue in north and south
  • June 13, 1865: Johnson begins appointing provisional governors, William L. Sharkey for Mississippi first appointed.
  • December 12, 1865: Johnson begins handing over Southern states to elected Governors, mostly former Confederates, starts with governorship of Mississippi.
  • December 24, 1865: Six Confederate veterans from Pulaski, Tennessee form the  Ku Klux Klan.
  • March 27, 1866: President Johnson’s vetoes Civil Rights Act of 1866.
  • April 6, 1866: Congress passes Civil Rights Act of 1866.
  • May 1, 1866: Memphis Race Riot
  • June 19, 1866: Congress passes the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
  • July 30, 1866: New Orleans Race Riot, 25 white delegates and 200 black supporters assemble in New Orleans for the constitutional convention, fight erupts between supporters and dissenters outside the convention.
  • July 24, 1866: Tennessee, first former Confederate state readmitted to the Union
  • August 28 to September 15, 1866: President Andrew Johnson and administration official embark on a campaign speaking tour across the nation to build support for Johnson’s Reconstruction policies and the upcoming mid term election.
  • November, 1866: Radical Republicans win big, Republican possess at than two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress.
  • March 1867: Congresses passes Reconstruction Acts, which President Johnson vetoes.
  • March 2, 1867: Congress passes the First Reconstruction Act, after Johnson’s veto; Army Appropriations Act; Tenure of Office Act, to ensure Johnson could not remove Secretary of War Edwin Stanton the only Radical Republican in the cabinet.
  • March 23, 1867: Johnson vetoes the Second Reconstruction Act; Congress overrides Johnson’s veto.
  • July 19, 1867: Johnson vetoes the Third Reconstruction Act; Congress overrides Johnson’s veto.
  • August 12, 1867: Johnson temporarily removes Secretary of War Stanton and appoints Ulysses S. Grant, ad interim secretary of war.
  • January 13, 1868: Congress refuses to agree to Johnson’s removal of Edwin Stanton.
  • February 21, 1868: President Johnson removes Stanton as secretary of war permanently and replaces him with Adjutant-General Lorenzo Thomas.
  • February 24, 1868: Radical Republicans in Congress vote to impeach Andrew Johnson. House of Representatives vote 126 to 47.
  • March 4, 1868: Congress appoints seven managers to present the eleven articles of impeachment, predominately relating to Stanton’s removal.
  • March 5, 1868: President Johnson’s Senate removal trial begins Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase presides.
  • Republican Party drops the “Union Party” label; Ulysses S. Grant announces he is  a Republican; seeks a Radical Republican Vice Presidential candidate
  • Despite his impeachment, Johnson hopes to be nominated and elected in his own right as a Democrat, but receives minimal party support.
  • May 16, 1868: Senate votes 35-19 in favor of the last article of impeachment.
  • May 20-21, 1868: Republican National Convention convenes at Crosby’s Opera House, Chicago, Illinois. Convention nominates on 1st ballot, Ulysses S. Grant (Illinois) for President, and Schuyler Colfax (Indiana) for Vice President. Ulysses S. Grant is the only nominee placed on the ballot; unanimous roll call vote; Eleven Vice Presidential candidates; Colfax wins the nomination on the sixth ballot.
  • May 26, 1868: Senate votes 35-19 on two other articles of impeachment; Senate drops the case, did not believe there was enough votes for a conviction.
  • June 1868: Congress readmits senators and representatives from seven former Confederates states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
  • June 30, 1868: Blair writes to Colonel James O. Broadhead suggesting that Reconstruction laws should be nullified. This inflammatory “Broadhead Letter” helped secure Blair’s nomination.
  • Nashville, Tennessee, paper publishes “The Colored Voter: a Sober Appeal to His Interest and His Sober Reason.”
  • July 4-9, 1868: Democratic National Convention convenes at Tammany Hall; New York Horatio Seymour (New York) serves as chairman. The Convention nominates on 22nd ballot, Horatio Seymour (New York) for President, and Francis P. Blair, Jr. (Missouri) for Vice President. Party is still fractured from the Civil War. President Andrew Johnson a War Democrat attempts to unify the party. Early frontrunner George H. Pendleton leads on the first 15 ballots, but no candidate receives a majority of delegate support. On the 4th ballot the convention chairman Horatio Seymour was given 9 votes, the momentum increased and on the 22nd ballot Seymour is unanimously nominated as the compromise candidate, despite his objections and insistence he would not accept the nomination.  “Committee of One Hundred” pushes the candidacy of Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase.
  • July 28, 1868: Three-fourths of states ratify the Fourteenth Amendment securing citizenship for black Americans.
  • Seymour, a great orator, reluctantly agrees to stump. He does not indulge in violence, slander, or fraud; the party accuses Grant of drunkenness and stupidity.
  • New York Post attacks Seymour as “childless, scheming, not studious, selfish, stealthy, earnest of power, feeble, insincere, timid, closefisted, inept, too weak to be enterprising.”
  • The Hartford Post calls Seymour “almost as much of a corpse” as the late former President James Buchanan.
  • October 1868: Republicans still fear that the Democrats with Seymour (the “man of charity and peace”) could win against their candidate the warrior and hero Grant. Radical Republicans and the partisan press cranks up their attacks on Seymour
  • While Republicans appeal for black votes, there is violence and intimidation, by the Ku Klux Klan and others, against African-Americans in the South
  • November 3, 1868: Election Day, Republicans Ulysses Grant is elected President, and Schuyler Colfax is elected Vice President.
  • December 2, 1868: Presidential Electors cast their electoral votes in their state capitals.
  • February 26, 1869: Republican Congress proposes the Fifteenth Amendment.
  • February 3, 1870: The Fifteenth Amendment is ratified claiming “the right to vote could not be denied or abridged on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude”
  • February 10, 1869: Joint session of Congress assembles and counts the electoral vote, Louisiana’s votes are contested, but Congress overrides with the Senate concurring.

 


1872

 

  • September 24, 1869: “Black Friday” financial panic; gold plot by Jay Gould and James Fisk, Jr. (“The “Black Friday” financial panic takes place in New York City. The panic results from the efforts of two railroad entrepreneurs, Jay Gould and James Fisk, Jr., to corner the gold market. Gould and Fisk, along with President Grant’s brother-in-law, frame their argument by claiming that if the government refrains from selling gold, its value will increase and improve depressed farm prices. A suspicious Grant finally orders a large sale of $4 million in gold, ruining many speculators. The gold plot is the first of several scandals to take place during the Grant years.”)
  • 1869: Founding of the National Woman’s Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association.
  • January 11, 1870: “Grant vetoes the Private Relief Bill.”
  • January 26, 1870: “Virginia is readmitted to the Union.”
  • February 23, 1870: “Mississippi is readmitted to the Union.”
  • March 30, 1870: “Texas is readmitted to the Union.”
  • March 30, 1870?: The Fifteenth Amendment is ratified claiming “the right to vote could not be denied or abridged on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude”
  • May 31, 1870: First of three Enforcement Acts, Congress makes it a federal crime to prevent a citizen from their right to vote.
  • 1870: Group of Missouri Republicans opposing the Radical Republicans split and form the Liberal Republican Party. Their candidate wins the gubernatorial race.
  • February 28, 1871: Second Enforcement Act, Congress passes the Federal Election Law to supervise elections with populations greater than 20,000.
  • April 20, 1871: The Ku Klux Klan Act passes to enforce the Fourteenth Amendment in the South and fight the Klan and their influence in the South.
  • September 4, 1871: Citizen’s commission forms in New York to investigate corruption at William M. “Boss” Tweed’s Tammany Hall.
  • October 12, 1871: “Grant issues a proclamation against the Ku Klux Klan in South Carolina.”
  • February 22, 1872: Prohibition Party Convention nominates James Black for President.
  • February 22, 1872: Labor Reform Party Convention nominates David Davis for President.
  • May 2, 1872: Reunion and Reform Convention nominates Horace Greeley for President.
  • May 3, 1872: Liberal Republican Party Convention nominates Horace Greeley for President. Reform-minded Republicans take the Liberal Republican Party national, hosting a convention in Cincinnati, Ohio to nominate Presidential and vice presidential candidates.
  • May 10, 1872: Equal Rights Party Convention nominates Victoria Woodhull for President, and Frederick Douglass for Vice President.
  • May 23, 1872: National Workingmen Convention nominates Ulysses S. Grant for President.
  • May 23, 1872: Anti-Masonic Convention nominates Charles Francis Adams, Sr. for President.
  • June 5-6, 1872: Republican National Convention convenes at the Academy of Music, Philadelphia renominates on the 1st ballot, Ulysses S. Grant (Illinois) for President and nominates Henry Wilson (Massachusetts) for Vice President. Vice President Colfax is not renominated. Henry Wilson proves a more popular choice. George Julian, a founder of the Republican Party proclaims, “I could not aid in the reelection of Grant without sinning against decency and my own self-respect.”
  • June 6, 1872: Police arrest and fine Susan B. Anthony for attempting to vote at a state election.
  • June 22, 1872: Independent Liberal Republicans Convention nominates William Slocum Groesbeck for President.
  • July 9-10, 1872: Democratic National Convention convenes at Ford’s Opera House, Baltimore, Maryland. James R. Doolittle (Wisconsin) serves as chairman.  The convention nominates on the 1st ballot, Horace Greeley (New York) for President, and B. Gratz Brown (Missouri) for Vice President. Democrats ally with the Liberal Republican Party by nominating/endorsing the Liberal Republican Greeley/Brown ticket; Greeley receives 686/724 of the delegate votes cast, while Brown receives 713/724. Horace Greeley was long the Democratic regulars’ archenemy. The convention lasts only six hours, but is stretched over two days. It is the shortest major political party convention in history. One Southern Democrat says, “if the party puts Greeley into our hymn book we’ll sing him through if it kills us.”
  • September 5, 1872: Straight-Out Democratic Convention nominates Charles O’Conor for President.
  • August 1872: Horace Greeley tours New England.
  • September 1872: Greeley tours the Midwest and upper South, giving partisan speeches at each stop. Greeley claims he could accept secession under certain circumstances and that his prewar opposition to slavery “might have been a mistake.”  “I was, in the days of slavery, an enemy of slavery, because I thought slavery inconsistent with the rights, the dignity, the highest well being of free labor. That might have been a mistake.”
  • September 25, 1872: Liberal Colored Republican Convention nominates/endorses  Horace Greeley for President.
  • Greeley’s running mate Brown’s gaffes from his drunkenness at speeches and public events hinder the Democratic ticket’s campaign and chances at being elected.
  • November 5, 1872: Election Day, Republicans Ulysses Grant is reelected President and Henry Wilson is elected Vice President.
  • November 29, 1872: Liberal Republican candidate Horace Greeley dies before the Electoral College cast its votes.  Electoral votes cast posthumously are considered invalid. Electors committed to Greeley distribute their votes among four candidates, with most going to Greeley’s votes going to his running mate Brown. Three Georgia electoral votes are cast for Greeley, but Congress considers them invalid.
  • December 4, 1872: Presidential Electors cast their Electoral votes in their state capitols.
  • February 12, 1873: Joint session of Congress assembles to count the Electoral votes.

 


1876

 

 

 

  • January 6, 1873: The Credit Mobilier scandal (“The House of Representatives adopts a resolution to investigate the relations of Credit Mobilier in conjunction with the Union Pacific Railroad. In 1872, the New York Sun published the story of a scandal in which Union Pacific Railroad directors used the dummy Credit Mobilier Corporation to pay themselves from the railroad treasury; additionally they had bribed congressmen to avoid an investigation. Thirteen Senators are involved, although only two receive censure.”)
  • Grant administration’s scandals. (Whiskey Ring scandal, corruption)
  • February 12, 1873: President Grant signs the Coinage Act of 1873 into law,  returning to the gold standard Silverites denounced as the “Crime of ‘73”, growing controversy over currency.
  • September 18, 1873: Panic of 1873; the collapse of Jay Cooke’s banking company Jay Cooke & Company leads to an economic depression
  • November 19, 1873: Court convicts New York’s Tammany Hall boss William Marcy “Boss” Tweed on 204 charges of fraud, swindling 200 million from the city. Samuel J. Tilden, a millionaire corporate lawyer and reform governor of New York, overthrows the corrupt Tweed Ring. ( “Samuel J. Tilden gains recognition for his role in breaking up the Tweed ring and reasserting control of the Democratic organization in the city.”)
  • November 18-20, 1874: The Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) forms in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • November 1874: Mid-term Congressional elections. The Republicans lose the House after controlling it for 20 years.
  • 1874: The Greenback Party organizes in Indianapolis by agricultural interests, championing paper money, greenbacks, to inflate the economy.
  • March 1, 1875: Grant signs Civil Rights Act of 1875 equal rights for blacks in public places and guarantees black’s rights for jury duty.
  • May 1875: President Grant announces he will not run for President for a third term.
  • November 22, 1875: Vice President Henry Wilson dies.
  • December 15, 1875: The House of Representatives supports a resolution against third presidential terms to prevent Grant from running again.
  • April 27, 1876: James Blaine makes a speech in the House of Representatives  denying any wrongdoing in his interactions with the Arkansas railroad, his “whole connection…open as the day.”
  • May 2, 1876: A House committee begins an investigation; James Mulligan, former bookkeeper in Warren Fisher, Jr., Boston railroad broker’s office finds the “Mulligan letters.” In 1869, Republican frontrunner James G. Blaine received commissions for saving the Little Rock and Fort Smith federal land grant
  • Spring 1876: Greenback Party Convention, Indianapolis
  • June 5, 1876: James Blaine, who has requested to see the letters, speaks in the House with the letters in hand, saying he has nothing to hide; “I am not afraid to show the letters. Thank God Almighty I am not ashamed to show them….”
  • June 14-16, 1876: Republican National Convention convenes in Exposition Hall, Cincinnati nominates on the 7th ballot Rutherford B. Hayes (Ohio) for President  and William A. Wheeler, (New York) for Vice President. James G. Blaine, the front-runner is only 100 delegate votes short of nomination on the first ballot. However, Anti-Blaine delegates doubt he could win the election, therefore he loses 41% support on the 6th ballot. Reform Republicans end the deadlock by supporting Ohio reform Governor, Rutherford B. Hayes.
  • July 8, 1876: Rutherford B. Hayes accepts the Presidential Nomination to the Committee of the Republican National Convention, Columbus, Ohio, “What the South most needs is “peace,” and peace depends upon the suppremacy of law.  There can be no enduring peace, if the constitutional rights of any portion of the people are habitually disregarded.  A division of political parties, resting merely upon distinctions of race, or upon sectional lines, is always unfortunate, and may be disastrous.”
  • June 27-29, 1876: Democratic National Convention convenes at Merchant’s Exchange Building in Saint Louis, Missouri. John A. McClernand (Illinois) serves as chairman. The convention nominates on the 2nd ballot, Samuel J. Tilden (New York) for President, and Thomas A. Hendricks (Indiana) for Vice President. Democratic campaign chairman Abram Hewitt organizes the Democratic National Committee into various departments, including a literary bureau and a speaker’s bureau, laying the foundation for the “Educational Campaign”
  • “Waving the bloody shirt,” Republicans continue to blame the Democrats by making the Civil War the main issue of the campaign.
  • November 7, 1876: Paramilitary groups in the South, especially the Redshirts and White League following the Mississippi plan to disrupt meetings and rallies, harass Republicans, and suppress black and white Republican voter turnout.
  • November 7, 1876: All the votes are counted; there is only a difference of over a quarter of a million popular votes between both candidates. Tilden 4,300,000 to Hayes 4,036,000. The Electoral vote is Tilden 184 to Hayes 165, Tilden is just short of one vote to win a majority. Twenty electoral votes (South Carolina 7, Louisiana 8, Florida 4, and one of Oregon’s) are contested.
  • November 8, 1876: Zachariah Chandler, chairman of the Republican national committee and Republican Party leaders work to ensure Hayes the 20 electoral votes he needs to win, they declare all of Oregan’s 3 votes for Hayes, and secure the electoral vote of the three southern states that were still under carpetbag rule. Both sides declare a victory
  • November 8, 1876: Oregan clearly votes Republican; however, one of their electors is ineligible for that post, J. W. Watts.  Watts serves as a postmaster and federal officeholders are prohibited from being electors. Abram Hewitt, chairman of the Democratic national committee convinces the Democratic governor to replace the ineligible elector with a Democrat one, to “offset the palpable frauds” with the votes in Louisiana, Florida, and South Carolina. At the same time, Watts resigns from his post and along with the other two Republican electors, and forward their votes for Hayes to the state capitol.
  • November 9, 1876: Republicans declare victory for Hayes in the election, prompting representatives from both parties to go to the Southern states in question and investigate.
  • November 10, 1876: President Grant sends additional troops to the South “to preserve peace and good order, and to see that the proper and legal Boards of Canvasses are unmolested in the performance of their duties.”
  • November 10, 1876: The voter fraud in the three questionable states centers around black voters; Democrats intimidated and prevented black voters from voting, while Republicans convinced black voters to vote and often, with voters voting more than once. Republicans justifiably won South Carolina, while the Democrats won Louisiana and Florida.
  • December 6, 1876: Electors vote in their state capitols where two sets of electoral votes from both parties are certified and sent Washington for Louisiana and South Carolina and three from Florida, two sets for Tilden and one for Hayes.
  • December 7, 1876: Lame-duck Congressional session opens. The Republicans control the Senate and the Democrats the House.  The Constitution does not explain what should be done with conflicting results, and the Congress does not know what to do to resolve the issue. The President of the Senate usually presides over the Electoral vote count, however, the Democrats do not want the Republican Senate President to control the decision and the Republicans do not want to leave it to the Democratic House.
  • December 21, 1876: The Senate creates a special committee to determine a process for a resolution, which is chaired by Republican George Edmunds of Vermont.
  • December 22, 1876: The House also creates and announces a special committee, which is chaired by Democrat Henry Payne of Ohio.
  • January 25, 1877: After much debate, the two Houses agree to set up an Electoral Commission to decide the vote. The commission would consist of five senators, five representatives, and five Supreme Court justices. The commission would give the final decision unless both Houses override the decision. Senate passes the Electoral Commission bill, 47-17, Democrats voted 23-1 and Republicans vote 24-16 for the bill.
  • January 25, 1877: Justice David Davis, an independent was to fill the 15th position, but a Democratic-Greenback coalition in the Illinois legislature elects him to the U.S. Senate, he then refuses to join the commission. Davis is replaced by Republican Joseph Bradley, who is suppose to remain neutral and non-partisan.
  • January 26, 1877: The House passes the Electoral Commission bill, 191-86; Democrats vote 158-18 for the bill, while 68-33 Republicans oppose it. Democrats are more in favor of the commission than Republicans in both Houses.
  • January 29, 1877: “President Ulysses Grant signs the Electoral Commission Act into law”
  • February 1, 1877: A Joint Session of Congress meets to count the Electoral votes; Republican Senator Thomas Ferry of Michigan and president pro tempore presides. Florida’s two sets of results are given to the electoral commission.
  • February 2-3, 1877: Lawyers for the Democratic and Republican Parties argue their case for Florida’s votes in front if the commission.
  • February 5, 1877: William Evarts, the lead counsel for the Republicans argues that only evidence previously submitted to the Congress should be admissible and Charles O’Conor argues for the Democrats that additional evidence should be admissible. The Electoral commission than dismisses the hearing to deliberate.
  • February 8, 1877: The Electoral Commission votes 8 to 7 along party lines, and rule in favor of Evarts and Republicans regarding evidence.
  • February 9, 1877: The Electoral Commission votes 8 to 7 along party lines, and gives Florida’s electoral votes to Hays and Wheeler.
  • February 10, 1877: A Joint Session of Congress meets and receives the commission decision. The Senate affirms their decision.
  • February 12, 1877: The House rejects the Commission’s decision 168-103.
  • February 13-15, 1877: The Electoral Commission listens to the arguments concerning Louisiana’s votes.
  • February 15, 1877: The Commission deliberates on Louisiana.
  • February 15, 1877: There is an assassination attempt on the Republican Governor of Louisiana, Stephen Packard, he fights off his attacker, and the bullets misses his heart, only grazes his knee.
  • February 16, 1877: The Electoral Commission votes 8 to 7 along party lines, and gives Louisiana’s electoral votes to Hays and Wheeler.
  • February 18, 1877: Although the Congress is in recess, they receive the official results
  • February 19, 1877: A Joint Session of Congress meets announces the commission’s decision. The Senate affirms their decision with Louisiana’s votes 41-28; the House recesses.
  • February 20, 1877: The House rejects the Commission’s decision 172-99. A Joint Session of Congress meets and the Electoral vote counting resumes. There is an objection to one Republican vote from Michigan, which both houses overrule.
  • February 21, 1877: A Joint Session of Congress resumes the Electoral vote counting until they encounter Oregon’s contested votes; they pass it over for the Commission to review.
  • February 22, 1877: Commission hears arguments for Oregon and then deliberate in secret
  • February 23, 1877: The Electoral Commission votes 8 to 7 along party lines, and gives Oregon’s electoral votes to Hays and Wheeler
  • February 24, 1877: Congress receives the Commission’s results; Senate affirms it 40-24, the House rejects it, 151-107.  Then the Joint session of Congress reconvenes and continues the Electoral vote count.
  • February 26, 1877: During the Electoral vote count Democrats object to the Pennsylvania and Rhode Island votes, but both Houses overrule the objection. When South Carolina’s contested votes turn up, they refer them to the Commission who hears arguments for the vote.
  • February 26, 1877: Southern Democrats and Ohio Republicans meet at the Wormley House hotel in Washington D.C. to negotiate ending the deadlock, secret meeting results in the “Compromise of 1877.”
  • February 27, 1877: The Electoral Commission votes 8 to 7 along party lines, and gives South Carolina’s electoral votes to Hayes and Wheeler
  • February 28, 1877: Congress receives the Commission’s results; Senate affirms it, the House rejects it. When the Electoral count continues Congressman Abram Hewitt, the Democratic party chairman, presents a second set of Vermont votes, which Senate President Ferry refuses, each then Congress separately vote on the Vermont votes issue; the Senate votes down the objection, the House filibusters the vote.
  • March 1, 1877: Late at night, the objection is overruled and the votes are awarded to Hayes and Wheeler. However, when the count continues Democrats object to Wisconsin’s votes. The Senate overrules and grants the votes to Hayes/Wheeler.
  • March 2, 1877: At 3:38 a.m the House overrules. The Joint session of Congress reconvenes and at 4:10 a.m they grant Wisconsin’s votes to Hayes/Wheeler. The session also declares Rutherford Hayes President of the United States and William Wheeler Vice President, by a vote of 185-184 in the Electoral College.
  • March 5, 1877: Rutherford B. Hayes is inaugurated President of the United States.
  • Spring of 1877: Soon after, Hayes removes the remaining Federal troops in the South, formally ending Reconstruction.

 

 


1880

 

  • April 10, 1877 Hayes withdraws troops from South Carolina
  • April 24, 1877: Republicans end Reconstruction in the South, withdraw troops from Louisiana
  • September 6, 1877: Hayes above New York Senator Roscoe Conkling authority, when he announces he will replace Collector of the Port of New York, Chester A. Arthur, and naval officer Alonzo Cornell, and instead nominates Theodore Roosevelt, Sr., however Conkling blocks Roosevelt’s nomination.
  • September 1877: Hayes tours the South.
  • May, 1878: House Democrats begin investigating the 1876 Presidential election, Hayes fears he might be replaced by Tilden.
  • November 1878: Democrats gain control of both Houses of Congress.
  • February 3, 1879: Resolution of differences between Hayes and Senator Conkling, Senate confirms Hayes choices for the New York Customhouse, the start of civil service system reform.
  • May 29, 1879: Hayes vetoes the appropriations bill for a third time, Hayes objects to the army “policing the polls.”
  • June 1879: Hayes vetoes the appropriations bill, because Democrats exclude election law funds.
  • Tariffs: Republicans supported higher tariffs; Democrats supported lower tariffs
  • A National Blaine Club and local “Blaine Clubs” formed champion James G. Blaine .
  • June 2, 1880: Rutherford B. Hayes keeps his promise to serve one term and does not seek the nomination again in 1880.
  • June 2-8, 1880: Republican National Convention convenes at the Interstate Exposition Building in Chicago, Illinois. The convention nominates on the 36th ballot James A. Garfield (Ohio) for President, and Chester A. Arthur (New York) for Vice President. Former President Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877) seeking a third term arrives at the Republican convention as the frontrunner, but the pro-Grant “boom” triggers a potent anti-third-term movement crying “Anyone to Beat Grant.” Conkling wants a “unit rule” at the Republican National Convention to force state delegations to cast their votes as one. The Half-Breeds defeat this proposal, but are unable to get their hero, Blaine, nominated. James Garfield (Congressman, Ohio, Senator-elect) speaks so eloquently in support of his fellow Ohioan John Sherman, he gains the delegates’ support for himself as a candidate. Garfield becomes the dark horse candidate on the 35th ballot and the frontrunner for the nomination, beating Grant on the 36th. Garfield is a compromise between the Stalwarts and the Half-Breeds. Levi P. Morton withdraws on NY boss Roscoe Conkling’s behest. To appease the Stalwarts, Chester A. Arthur is nominated for Vice President.
  • June 11, 1880: Greenback Party Convention convenes and nominates James B. Weaver for President, and Benjamin J. Chambers for Vice President. The party’s platform champions the use of greenbacks, paper money, as they had in 1876.
  • June 17, 1880: Prohibition National Convention nominates Neal Dow for President.
  • June 22-24, 1880: Democratic National Convention convenes in the Cincinnati Music Hall, Cincinnati, Ohio. John W. Stevenson (Kentucky) serves as chairman.  The convention nominates on the 2nd ballot Winfield S. Hancock (Pennsylvania) for President, and William H. English (Indiana) for Vice President. Wisconsin delegation commences movement to switch votes and catapults General Winfield Scott Hancock to the nomination on the second ballot.
  • July 1, 1880: Anti-Masonic National Convention nominates John Wolcott Phelps for President.
  • July 12, 1880: James A. Garfield accepts the Presidential nomination in a letter.   
  • The American Party (A new nativist party) nominates John W. Phelps (Former Civil War general, head of the Vermont Anti-Masonic movement) for President, and Samuel C. Pomeroy, former U.S. Senator (Kansas) for Vice President.
  • Republicans dismiss “Hancock the Superb” a Civil War hero as a “padlocked” candidate, representing “no policy, no principle, no issue, nothing but the party which has nominated him.” Republicans warn Hancock would be a figurehead covering up Democratic corruption.
  • Democratic Party attacks the Republicans for the “fraud of ‘76”, the “stolen” 1876 election, calling the President “Rutherfraud.”
  • Thomas Nast’s cartoon mocking Hancock as clueless, asking “WHO IS TARIFF, AND WHY IS HE FOR REVENUE ONLY?”
  • October 18, 1880: Democrats publicize the “Morey Letter.” New York City alone is flooded with halfa-million copies. The letter, allegedly written by Garfield, supports Chinese immigration.
  • Oct 21, 1880: Garfield denounces the “Morey Letter” as a forgery, but his hesitation feeds the controversy and almost loses him the election.
  • Republicans mocked Hancock for saying “The tariff is a local question” – an answer that was economically sound, politically disastrous.
  • Democrats remind voters that Garfield had been suspected of receiving a $329 bribe in the Credit Mobilier scandal. They chalk the number, “329,” on buildings all over the country.
  • Democrats publish a pamphlet that compares the “Bright Record of the Patriot Hancock” with the “Black Record of the Politician Garfield.”
  • Big fight surrounds two states New York and Indiana, where Garfield is told confidentially that there were “30,000 merchantable votes in the state, … which side will manage to buy most of them is the question.”
  • November 2, 1880: Election Day, Republicans James Garfield is elected President  and Chester A. Arthur is elected Vice President.
  • December 1, 1880: Presidential electors cast their electoral votes in their state capitals. California’s electoral votes split between Garfield (1) and Hancock (5).
  • December 8, 1880: Georgia’s electors cast their votes the second Wednesday in December rather than the constitutionally-prescribed first Wednesday in the month (December 1, 1880). However, Congress decides to include Georgia’s vote in the official tally.


1884

 

  • July 2, 1881: James Garfield is wounded by Charles Julius Guiteau who is hung June 30, 1882.
  • September 19, 1881: James Garfield dies from blood poisoning from doctors’ attempts to recover the bullet lodged in his pancreas;
  • September 22, 1881: Chester A. Arthur succeeds as President
  • March 22, 1882: Congress passes the Edmunds Act, excludes bigamists and polygamists from voting and holding office, and creates the “Utah commission” to supervise voting in the territory.
  • May 6, 1882: Revised Chinese Exclusion Act goes into law, bans Chinese immigration for 10 years, and bans American citizenship for Chinese immigrants.
  • May 15, 1882: Arthur agrees to a tariff commission, whose findings suggest tariff reductions.
  • November 7, 1882: Republicans lose 33 Congressional seats in the midterm elections, Democrats gain 50 seats, 197-118. The election is a backlash against political patronage and Republican corruption. Republicans gain 2 seats and a 38-36 minority in the Senate. Third parties fill the remainder of seats in both houses.
  • January 16, 1883: Congress passes the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act. March 3, 1883: Congress passes the “Mongrel” Tariff Act, which reduces rates by less than 2 percent on certain items.
  • May 14, 1884: Anti-Monopoly Convention nominates Benjamin Franklin Butler for President.
  • May 28, 29, 1884: Greenback Party National Convention, National Greenback Labor Party convenes at the Opera House, in Indianapolis Indiana, and nominates Benjamin Franklin Butler (3rd) for President on the 1st ballot, and nominates unanimously Absalom M. West (Mississippi) for Vice President.
  • June 3-6, 1884: Republican National Convention convenes at the Exposition Hall,  Chicago, Illinois. 4th James Gillespie Blaine (Maine), John A. Logan (Illinois) Stalwart faction challenged incumbent Chester Arthur’s nomination, because of his investigations into political corruption. Arthur wins his choice of party chairman, John R. Lynch, but lost momentum at the forth ballot, without being able to capture a majority. Arthur receives a third of his votes from the North, none from Ohio, 1 of 44 from Illinois, 9 of 30 from Indiana, 11 of 60 from Pennsylvania and only 31 of 71 from his home state of New York. Blaine receives 130 more than the majority needed, 67 votes from Arthur and 28 from Edmunds.
  • June 20, 1884: American Prohibition Party Convention nominates Samuel C. Pomeroy for President.
  • July 8-11, 1884: Democratic National Convention convenes at the Exposition Building in Chicago, Illinois. William F. Vilas (Wisconsin) serves as chairman. The convention nominates on the 2nd ballot, Grover Cleveland (New York) for President, and Thomas A. Hendricks (Indiana) for Vice President. Democratic Bosses from New York City’s political machine Tammany Hall try to block the front-runner Grover Cleveland, New York’s reforming governor who fought Tammany corruption. North Carolina’s delegation shift their support towards front runner Governor Cleveland on the second ballot, allowing him to capture the nomination.
  • Republican reformers, Mugwumps– many founders of the Party — oppose Blaine because of the scandals associated with him and support Cleveland.
  • July 21, 1884: The Buffalo Evening Telegraph reports “A Terrible Tale,” that Cleveland had fathered a child out of wedlock (the child’s paternity was unclear, but Cleveland had taken responsibility). Cleveland orders his staff: “Tell the Truth.” That strategy enhances his standing with the public, especially in contrast with Blaine’s evasiveness.
  • July 23-24, 1884: Prohibition Party National Convention convenes at Lafayette Hall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (4th ticket). The convention unanimously nominates John Pierce St. John for President, and William Daniel Vice President.
  • September 20, 1884: Equal Rights Party Convention convenes in San Francisco CA, nominate: Belva A. Lockwood DC for President, and Marietta L. Stow CA for Vice President.
  • September-October 1884?: Blaine gives over 400 speeches on a cross-country tour in the fall that lasted six weeks. He gave partisan speeches on the tariff.
  • September 15, 1884: The Boston Journal published a number of the “Mulligan Letters”, discovered in 1876 and released by bookkeeper James Mulligan, which cost Blaine the nomination twice beforehand. Blaine wrote those letters to Warren Fisher, a Boston railroad lawyer. One letter dated on April 16, 1876, was a self-exonerating letter Blaine wrote, asking Fisher to sign to clear him of any wrong doings (being paid for Congressional favors for railroad companies) the cover letter was particularly damning and ended in “Burn this letter!”
  • October 1884: Cleveland gives his only two speeches of the campaign.
  • October 23, 1884: Andrew D. White in the Nation reflects on the campaign; “Party contests, have never before reached so low a depth of degradation in this . . . country.”
  • October 29, 1884: “Black Wednesday”: During Blaine’s final campaign tour, the Reverend Samuel D. Burchard, introduces Blaine and states, “We are Republicans, and don’t propose to leave our party and identify ourselves with the party whose antecedents have been Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion.” Blaine’s failure to repudiate this slur alienated Catholics and Southerners – this may have cost Blaine New York’s electoral votes and the election.
  • October 29, 1884: Blaine attends a banquet with some of the country’s wealthiest people in his honor at Delmonico’s and is pilloried for attending “Belshazzar’s Feast” or the “Boodle Banquet,” as most Americans are suffering during the recession.
  • Fall 1884?:John St. John, the Prohibition Party candidate, also helped sway New York’s electoral votes toward Cleveland. Usually the Prohibitionists allied with the Republicans but the Republicans pushed too hard for St. John to withdraw and as revenge, he campaigned more vigorously in New York against the Republicans.
  • November 4, 1884: Election Day, Democrats Grover Cleveland is elected President, and Thomas Hendricks is elected Vice President.
  • December 3, 1884: Presidential Electors cast the electoral votes in their state capitals.


1888

 

  • November 25, 1885: Vice President Hendricks dies in office only eight months into the term.
  • January 19, 1886: Cleveland signs the Presidential Succession Act into law.
  • June 2, 1886: Cleveland marries twenty-two year old Francis Folsom.
  • November 1886: Democrats lose 12 seats in the House of Representatives.
  • March 3, 1887: The Tenure of Office Act of 1867 is repealed; unconstitutional to require Senate confirmation when a President wishes to remove a cabinet member.
  • September 20-October 22, 1887: Cleveland tours the southern and western United States.
  • Passage of the Pendleton Act and Cleveland’s own reformist inclinations cut down on patronage opportunities – infuriating Democrats.
  • 1887: Cleveland introduced the Mills bill to lower tariff rates to help reduce the Treasury surplus of $94 million, but the Republican Senate blocks it in the “great tariff debate.”
  • 1887: Cleveland as the “veto” President blocking Congress (the tariff)
  • December 6, 1887: Cleveland gives his annual address to Congress, “Our present tariff laws, the vicious inequitable, and illogical sources of unnecessary taxation.”
  • February 23, 1888: The Industrial Reform Party National Convention held in Grand Army Hall, Washington DC nominates Albert E. Redstone
  • May 16, 1888: Equal Rights Party Convention convenes in Des Moines IA. nominates Belva Ann Lockwood for President, and Alfred H. Love PA for Vice President, Charles S. Wells NY later replaces Love.
  • May 16, 1888: 4th Greenback Party National Convention convenes in Cincinnati OH, few delegates attend and no decisions are made.
  • May 17, 1888: The United Labor Party National Convention convenes in the Grand Opera House in Cincinnati, Ohio and nominates on the first ballot Robert H. Cowdrey for President and W.H.T. Wakefield (Kansas) for Vice President.
  • May 17, 1888: The Union Labor Party National Convention convenes in Cincinnati, Ohio and nominates unanimously Alson Jenness Streeter for President and Samuel Evans for Vice President, who declines and Charles R. Cunningham (Arkansas) later replaces Evans on the ticket.
  • May 31, 1888: Prohibition Party Convention nominates Clinton B. Fisk for President and John Brooks for Vice President. The prohibition movement is gaining momentum.
  • June 5-7, 1888: Democratic National Convention convenes at the Exposition Building in Saint Louis, Missouri. Patrick A. Collins (Massachusetts) serves as chairman. The convention renominates on the 1st ballot Grover Cleveland (New York) for President, and Allen G. Thurman (Ohio) for Vice President. President Cleveland is renominated unanimously without a formal ballot. First incumbent Democratic president renominated since Martin Van Buren in 1840.
  • James G. Blaine knew he was too controversial a figure within the Republican Party and declines to run. For party unity, he endorsed either Benjamin Harrison or John Sherman.
  • June 19-25, 1888: Republican National Convention convenes at the Auditorium; Chicago, Illinois, nominates on the 8th ballot Benjamin Harrison (Indiana) for President and Levi P. Morton (New York) for Vice President. Frederick receives  one delegate vote for the Presidential nomination, making him the first African American to receive a ballot vote for a major party ticket at a convention (Gray, an ex-Republican, lost the nomination to Thurman, because rivals remembered his partisan past.)
  • August 15, 1888: American Party’s third and last National Convention convenes in Grand Army Hall, Washington DC nominates James Langdon Curtis (New York) for President and James R. Greer (Tennessse) for Vice President, who declines and is replaced by and Peter D. Wigginton (California).
  • September 12, 1888: Second session of the Greenback National convention convenes with only seven delegates in attendance, no nominee; party ceases to exist.
  • William McKinley and James G. Blaine campaign and give stump speeches around the country.
  • Harrison conducts a Front Porch campaign in Indianapolis, delivers more than 80 speeches from his house. Reporters cover this enthusiastically.
  • Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Allan G. Thurman is main campaigner for the ticket.
  • October 8, 1888: Cleveland renews the Chinese Exclusion Act.
  • October 21, 1888: “The Murchison letter” is published. Republicans claim Cleveland was pro-British. They publicize a letter by California Republican George Osgoodby posing as one “Charles F. Murchison,” who writes to the British ambassador to the U. S, Sir Lionel Sackville-West. Claiming to be a former Englishman “Murchison” asks which candidate was better for England. Sackville-West foolishly answers, saying it would be Cleveland. As a result, the Ambassador loses his job and, many argue, Cleveland losses the Irish vote, New York State and the presidency.
  • November 6, 1888: Election Day, Republicans Benjamin Harrison is elected President and Levi Morton is elected Vice President. “Blocks of Five” electoral fraud in Indiana is committed by the Republican Party. “Boss” Thomas C. Platt sought to raise $150,000 for the Republican Party in New York, to buy votes and the election. In return, Platt wants to be appointed Secretary of Treasury.
  • January 14, 1889: Presidential Electors cast the electoral vote in their state capitals.

 

 

 


1892

 

  • 1889-1891: Fifty-first Congress is the spendthrift “Billion Dollar Congress.”
  • July 2, 1890: The Sherman Anti-Trust Act is enacted.
  • July 14, 1890: Harrison signs into the law the Sherman Silver Purchase Act to increase currency circulation. Agrarian anger in the Midwest and South at Eastern bankers feeds the growing Populist movement.
  • October 1, 1890: Congress passes the McKinley Tariff, a more protectionist tariff Senator William McKinley introduces; the tariff increases Presidential power giving the president the ability to negotiate reciprocity agreements for some items.
  • November 7, 1890: Mid-term elections, Democrats gain the majority in the House, Republican Senate majority shrinks to eight; due largely to the McKinley Tariff.
  • May 23, 1892: Harrison announces his intention to run for re-election; party basses oppose his renomination.
  • 1892: Fearing a President Cleveland comeback, the bosses of Tammany Hall called a “snap” state convention – called to make a quick decision – and nominate anti-Cleveland delegates pledged to David B. Hill. The reformist backlash against Tammany’s power play mobilizes pro-Cleveland delegates across the country.
  • June 4, 1892: Secretary of State James Blaine resigns just prior to the Republican Convention, making one last play for nomination, supported by enthusiastic “Blainiacs.” Blaine also resigns because of growing disagreements with Harrison, and increasingly ill health; Blaine dies within eight months.
  • April 27, 1892: Portland Morning Oregonian reports that a Silver Party was being formed.
  • June 7-10, 1892: Republican National Convention convenes in Industrial Exposition Building; Minneapolis, Minnesota and renominate on the 1st ballot  Benjamin Harrison (Indiana) for President and nominates Whitelaw Reid (New York) for Vice President. Levi P. Morton, the incumbent Vice President is dropped from the ticket; Whitelaw Reid, the ambassador to France and the former editor of the New York Tribune replaces Morton on the ticket. Reid is nominated by acclamation, the first time this method was used to vote on a nominee at a Republican convention.
  • June 21-23, 1892 Democratic National Convention convenes at the Wigwam in Chicago, Illinois. William L. Wilson (West Virginia) serves as chairman. The convention nominates on the 1st ballot Grover Cleveland (New York) for President and Adlai E. Stevenson I (Illinois) for Vice President. Cleveland wins on the first ballot with a slim majority. Elaborate notification ceremonies for Grover Cleveland at Madison Square Garden. New York delegation is filled with Tammany Hall men who oppose Cleveland’s nomination, and instead support New York Governor David B. Hill. Iowa Democrats push Governor Horace Boies as the champion of the Midwestern farmers. At the convention the 10,000 people rally for Boies face down the “Tammany braves” supporting David Hill. Cleveland supporters want Isaac P. Gray of Indiana for the Vice Presidential slot; he loses to convention party choice Adlai E. Stevenson of Illinois, former representative and assistant postmaster general.
  • June 25, 1892: Nevada silverites held a state convention since neither the Republican or Democratic party is concerned about the silver issue that affects the western states. They officially form the “Silver Party of Nevada.” They endorse Populist candidate James B. Weaver.
  • June 30, 1892: Prohibition Party Convention convenes for 6th convention at the Music Hall in Cincinnati, Ohio and nominates John Bidwell for President and James Cranfill for Vice President.
  • July 5, 1892: Populist Party Convention convenes first convention in Convention Hall Coliseum, Omaha, Nebraska and nominates James B. Weaver, former U.S. representative (Iowa) for President, and James H. Kyle, U.S. senator (South Dakota) for Vice President; The party’s platform focuses on protecting  agriculture from the encroachment of the railroads.
  • July 6, 1892: Steel workers are locked out of the Homestead plant (Carnegie Steel) in Pennsylvania; Workers strike in protest over wage cut and union recognition; they fire on Pinkerton detectives there to break the strike. Seven Pinkertons and nine workers die.
  • July 9, 1892: Governor of Pennsylvania sends 8,000 state troopers/militiamen to restore and maintain order and accompany the Pinkertons; they remain on guard for three months until the strike is over.
  • July 11, 1892: Silver miners at Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, go on strike. Violence erupts and thirty miners are killed fighting strike breakers. Marshall Law is invoked to restore order. Strikes and violence also breaks out in Wyoming and Tennessee. In Tennessee, the strikers are protesting convict labor. In both cases Harrison sends federal troops and court injunctions to end the strikes.
  • July 30, 1892: “Harrison privately supports mediation in the Homestead Steel Strike.” He sends Whitelaw Reid to be an emissary to Henry Clay Frick, who had been in charge of Homestead when the strikes and violence erupts. Mediation does not resolve the issue.
  • August 28, 1892: Socialist Labor Party Convention convenes their first convention in New York and nominates Simon Wing for President and Charles Matchett for Vice President.
  • Matt Quay the architect behind Harrison’s successful campaign in 1888, quits after Harrison claims he got to his position because of god, Quay’s response; “Let God re-elect you then.”
  • 1888: Populist Party actively campaign with a stumping tour
  • October 25, 1892: First Lady Caroline Harrison dies of Tuberculosis. The candidates stop campaigning out of respect.
  • November 8, 1892: Election Day, Grover Cleveland is elected President for second nonconsecutive term, and Adlai Stevenson is elected Vice President. Factory workers furious about the bloody “Homestead Strike” abandon the Republicans
  • November 20, 1892: Homestead strike ends; steel union destroyed by the strike, takes 40 years to rebuild the union, workers return to the mill as non-union men.
  • December 14, 1892: Presidential Electors cast the electoral vote in their state capitols.


1896

 

  • February 23, 1893: Philadelphia and Reading Railroad goes bankrupt, Panic of 1893 commences; 15,000 business bankrupted, including 493 banks
  • April 22, 1893: U.S. Treasury gold reserve goes below $100 million.
  • August 8, 1893: Congress debates silver monetary issue and tariffs.
  • August 16, 1893: William Jennings Bryan gives a speech supporting free silver.
  • August 28, 1896: Houses votes to repeal the Sherman Silver Act.
  • November 1, 1893: Sherman Silver Purchase Act is repealed.
  • February 1, 1894: House passes tariff revision bill.
  • May-July, 1894: Pullman strike; Eugene Debs, president of the American Railway Union, organizes a strike of all the workers at the Pullman railway company over wage decreases, without cost of living decreases. The strike occurs throughout the west paralyzing railroad service.
  • July 3, 1894: Cleveland sends troops to end the strike, and Debs and strike organizers are arrested.
  • August 28, 1894: Wilson-Gorman Tariff Bill becomes law, with Cleveland’s signature or veto.
  • November 1894: Midterm Elections, Democrats lose 125 House seats; Republicans gain 130 seats, the greatest midterm election victory in American history.
  • February 8-20, 1895: “A third treasury bond sale to a syndicate headed by J.P. Morgan restores gold reserves and validates the credit of the government.”
  • May 27, 1895: The Supreme Court rules in Debs v. the United States that the government had the right to arrest Eugene Debs for initiating and planning the strike. Injunctions are legal to end strikes.
  • 1894: Coxey’s “Army” of Unemployed; high unemployment rate.
  • Battle of the Standards: Republicans have some silverites, but mostly “Gold-Standard” Democrats: the Democratic party and country is deeply divided: Cleveland is a Gold Standard Democrat, but the powerful, populist Silverite forces are furious
  • July 1894: Democratic President Grover Cleveland’s deploys troops to break the Pullman Strike. Unions are furious, but the press and public opinion mostly support the President, even as Americans worry about the loss of “law and order.”
  • Discovery that Bland’s wife is Catholic hurt Blands with conservative Democrats.
  • 1894: William McKinley’s 12,000 mile tour to 16 states solidified his Republican Party support
  • January 29, 1896: Silver Party leaders arrange for a national convention to be held in St. Louis in July.
  • May 28, 1896: Prohibition Party National Convention convenes in Exposition Hall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and nominates unanimously Joshua Levering (Maryland) for President and Hale Johnson Illinois for Vice President.
  • May 28, 1896: National Prohibition Convention convenes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania nominates Charles Eugene Bentley (Nebraska) for President and James H. Southgate North Carolina for Vice President. It is comprised of 200 silver delegates who bolted from the Prohibition Party national convention. Two hundred free silverites for the new party, after leaving in protest the Prohibition Party convention when they would not include a silver plank in the platform.
  • June 16-18, 1896: Republican National Convention convenes on the lawn south of City Hall in St. Louis, Missouri/ Senator Henry Teller of Colorado and Twenty-four Western delegates walk out of the convention when their minority plank calling for the free coinage of gold and silver is defeated by a margin of 16-to-1.
  • July 10, 1896: Socialist Labor Party National Convention convenes in Grand Central Palace, in New York City and nominates on the first ballot Charles Horatio Matchett for President, and unanimously nominates Matthew Maguire (New Jersey) for Vice President.
  • July 7-11, 1896: Democratic National Convention convenes in the Chicago Coliseum in Chicago, Illinois. Delegate William Jennings Bryan is determined to have silver plank included the platform. William Jennings Bryan’s electrifying “Cross of Gold” speech helps him secure the nomination, most memorable address at a political convention. Bryan is nominated on the fifth ballot; Bryan refuses to choose a Vice Presidential running mate, and instead asks the delegates make the decision. Sixteen candidates vie for the position on the first ballot, Arthur Sewell of Maine wins the Vice Presidential nomination the fifth ballot.
  • July 25, 1896: Second Populist Party Convention convenes at the Auditorium in St. Louis Missouri and endorses/nominates Democrat William Jennings Bryan for President, but nominates Thomas E. Watson (Georgia) for Vice President.
  • July 25, 1896: Silver Party Convention convenes in the Music Hall of the Exposition Building, Nevada’s Silver Party endorses the Democratic ticket with William Jennings Bryan for President.
  • August 8, 1896: McKinley formally accepts the Republican nomination in a speech made from his “front porch” in Canton, Ohio.
  • 1896: Front Porch campaign: Republican McKinley stayed home in Canton, Ohio, speaking over 300 times to an estimated 750,000 visitors from 30 states.
  • 1896: Francis Loomis: “The desire to come to Canton has reached the point of mania.” 1896: McKinley’s campaign manager Mark Hanna builds a campaign on “business principles.” He organizes different bureaus appealing to different constituencies Germans, blacks, wheelmen, women deployed hundreds of speakers across the country; distributed hundreds of millions of pamphlets in
  • different languages; Sophisticated Fundraising – no campaign spent so much money until 1920.
  • August 12, 1896: “Bryan formally accepts the Democratic nomination in a speech at Madison Square Garden, New York City.”
    August 26, 1896: “McKinley issues his letter of acceptance for the Republican nomination, outlining his views on the Republican platform.”
  • September 3, 1896: National Democratic Party Convention (Gold Democrats) convenes at Tomlinson Hall in Indianapolis, Indiana and nominates John McAuley Palmer for President and Simon B. Buckner (Kentucky) for Vice President.
  • September 8, 1896: Election day in Arkansas and Vermont.
  • 1896: Mark Hanna’s Republican orators denounced Bryan as a “radical.” Label Bryan a “socialist, anarchist, communist, revolutionary, lunatic, madman, rabble-rouser, thief, traitor, murderer”
  • September 11 to November 1, 1896: Democrat William J. Bryan stumps and travels over 18,000 miles and gives 600 speeches to 5 million people in 27 states, with an emphasis on the battleground states of Michigan, Illonois, Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin.
  • September 27, 1896: New York Times publishes an editorial “Is Mr. Bryan Crazy?” questioning Bryan’s mental health and sanity, based on the message in his speech. Article creates a flurry of psychologists questioning Bryan’s stability to run the country.
  • October 6, 1896: Election Day in Florida.
  • Banks and employers threaten workers that they might lose their jobs if they vote for Bryan.
  • October 31, 1896: “Responding to a call from Republican chairman Mark Hanna, Republican’s celebrate the Saturday before the election as “Flag Day,” declaring Republicanism the only “partiotic” choice. At the request of their party leaders, Democrats and Populists also celebrate “Flag Day,” arguing that the flag should not be the property of one party.”
  • November 3, 1896: Election day, Republicans William McKinley is elected President, Garret Hobart is elected Vice President.
  • January 11, 1897: Presidential Electors meet to cast the electoral vote in their state capitols.
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