Chapter 11 Outline Constituencies

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Chapter 11 Outline

  • Two Parties: Democratic and Whig

  • A man’s party affiliation showed personal identity, as well as political preference

  • Youngest and poorest white men rarely voted

  • Party loyalists shared political culture despite diversity of interest groups from which they came

  • The 2 parties proposed coherent programs that appealed to their respective political cultures

The North and West

The South

  • 1830s and 1840s: Southerners evenly divided their votes between Whigs and Democrats

  • Party preference tied to difference in economic life

  • Isolationist neighborhoods: Democrats

  • Cosmopolitan areas: Whigs

  • Prestige of local leaders like John C. Calhoun influenced party preference

  • Religion little to do with political preference

Summary of party divide


  • Benefited from or expected to benefit from Market Revolution

  • Wanted government to subsidize economic development


  • Minimal government

  • Low taxes

  • Leave citizens, families, and neighborhoods alone

The Politics of Economic Development

  • Whigs and Democrats both wanted market society

  • Whigs: economically and morally progressive republic (hierarchical)

  • Democrats: viewed market society with suspicion – that it be subservient to republic

Government and Its Limits

  • Whigs

  • Government should foster economic development, moral progress, and social harmony

  • U.S. has harmony of class interests and equality of opportunity

  • Democrats

  • Government and market power must be limited to protect the civil and legal equality of free men


  • States in control of banking and credit regulation

  • Whigs: banks agents of economic progress

  • Democrats: banks agents of inequality used to enrich the privileged

  • Uniform banking laws instead of individual charters

  • “Hard Money” Democrats

  • Whigs support right of banks to circulate bank notes

Internal Improvements

  • Democrats block federal funding of internal improvements

  • Whigs push for state funded internal improvements

  • William H. Seward, Whig governor of N.Y.

  • Democratic state legislators opposed “partial” legislation: benefiting part of their state at the expense of the rest

  • Opposed projects leading to taxes and debt

The Politics of Social Reform

  • Whigs used government to improve individual morality and discipline

  • Prostitution, temperance, public education, asylums and penitentiaries

  • Democrats felt morality through legislation was anti-republican

  • Social reform provoked angry differences between the two parties

Public Schools

  • Common school movement

  • Whig School reform

  • Horace Mann

  • Henry Barnard

  • Calvin Stowe

  • The Thinker, A Moral Reader (1855)

  • Party differences about organization of schools

  • Whigs want state-level centralization

  • Democrats preferred local school districts

Ethnicity, Religion, and the Schools

  • Issues for many Irish Catholic immigrant children

  • Offensive texts and Bibles used in schools

  • Some parents refused to send children to school

  • State subsidy for Parish schools

  • Foreign language schools for bilingual instruction created

  • State-supported church-run charity schools


  • State governments built and supported institutions for orphans, dependent poor, insane, and criminals

  • Market Revolution increased visibility of these groups and cut them off from family resources

  • Reformers assert these groups exist because of bad family situation

  • Both political parties favored state-support for criminals and dependents

  • Whigs favored rehabilitation

  • Democrats favored isolation and punishment

  • “Auburn system”


  • Dorothea Dix

  • By 1860: legislatures of 28 out of 33 states established state-run insane asylums

  • Few Democrats supported insane asylums

The South and Social Reform

  • Many Southern voters perceived attempts at social reform as “expensive and wrong-headed”

  • Southern schools

  • Locally controlled

  • Limited curriculum

  • Southern prisons

  • Auburn system

  • Temperance succeeds for individuals, but no state level prohibition

  • Southern resistance to social reforms

  • Doomed to failure because of human imperfection

  • Seen as self-righteous imposition of Northeasterners

Excursus: The Politics of Alcohol

  • Whigs demanded social and moral reform

  • Democrats feared big government and the Whigs’ cultural agenda

  • The question of temperance began to define differences between Whigs and Democrats

Ardent Spirits

  • American Temperance Society (1826)

  • Lyman Beecher

  • Six Sermons on the Nature, Occasions, Signs, Evils, and Remedy of Intemperance (1826)

  • Charles Grandison Finney

  • Abstinence from alcohol condition for conversion

  • Temperance becomes badge of middle class respectability

  • American Congressional Temperance Society

  • Military ends traditional liquor ration 1832

  • Alcohol consumption cut in half by 1840

The Origins of Prohibition

  • Mid-1830s: Whigs made Temperance a political issue

  • “Fifteen-Gallon Law” in Massachusetts

  • Democrats: Forced temperance violate Republican liberty

  • Alcohol becomes defining political difference for many

The Democratization of Temperance

  • Democrats not opposed to individual temperance, opposed to prohibition

  • Washington Temperance Society

  • “True Washingtonians”

Temperance Schisms

  • Whigs: temperance as an arm of evangelical reform

  • Washingtonians continued working class popular culture without alcohol

  • Whig reformers tied abstinence to individual ambition and middle-class domesticity

  • Washingtonians sought to rescue the self-respect and moral authority of working-class fathers

Ethnicity and Alcohol

  • 1840s-1850s: millions of Irish and German immigrants

  • Germans: lager beers, old-country beer halls

  • Irish: whiskey, bars

  • Legitimized levels of male drunkenness and violence

  • Nativism and temperance politics merge in the 1850s at expense of Democrats

The Politics of Race

  • Traditional view: God gave white males power over others

  • Whig evangelicals

  • Marriage changes from rank domination to sentimental partnership

  • The emergence of a radical minority envisioning a world without power

  • Attacked slavery and patriarchy as national sin

Free Blacks

  • North: states began to abolish slavery

  • Revolutionary idealism

  • Slavery was inefficient and unnecessary

  • Gradual emancipation (Pennsylvania model)

  • Free black populations grew and moved into the cities

  • Many took stable, low-paying jobs


  • Discrimination rises

  • White workers drive blacks out of skilled and semi-skilled jobs

  • Blacks increasingly politically disenfranchised

  • Segregated schools

  • Blacks build their own institutions

  • African Methodist Episcopal Church (1816)

  • Black Anti-slavery activism

  • David Walker: Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World (1829)

  • Harriet Tubman

  • Frederick Douglass

Democratic Racism

  • Neither Whigs nor Democrats encouraged aspirations of slaves or free blacks

  • Democrats make racism part of their political agenda—protect the white republic

  • Democrats contributed to rise of anti-black violence

  • NYC riot victims: Lewis Tappan, Charles Finney, English actors

  • Philadelphia riots: “the Killers”

Conceptions of Racial Difference

  • Educated whites taught racist “biological determinism”

  • White racists regarded blacks with stereotypes:

  • Incompetent, dishonest, treacherous and secretive

  • Herman Melville, Benito Cereno

  • Democrats: Blacks unfit for citizenship

  • Some Whigs support Black suffrage

The Beginnings of Antislavery

  • First anti-slavery efforts die out in early 1800s

  • American Colonization Society (1816)

  • Gradual, compensated emancipation

  • “Repatriation” to Liberia

  • Slavery abolished many places outside the U.S.

  • Toussaint L’Ouverture and Haiti

  • South American Republics

  • British Caribbean


  • William Lloyd Garrison

  • The Liberator (1831)

  • American Anti-Slavery Society (1833)

  • Abolition a logical extension of middle class evangelicalism

  • American Anti-slavery Society demands:

  • Immediate emancipation

  • Full civil and legal rights for African-Americans


  • Abolitionists minority of Evangelicals

  • Beecher and Finney say end of slavery will come with conversion of masters

  • Logical end of antislavery is civil war

  • “Postal Campaign”

  • Petition campaign

  • Jackson administration response

  • Censor mail

  • Right to petition abridged

The Politics of Gender and Sex

  • Whig vs. Democratic masculine styles

  • Whigs: sentimentalized homes of northern business classes, or Christian gentility of Whig plantations

  • Democrats: in favor of domestic patriarchy


  • Whig reform often more about domestic and personal life than politics

  • Sylvester Graham and moderation

  • John Humphrey Noyes

  • Oneida (N.Y.) community

Moral Reform

  • Middle-class ideal: combination of female purity and male self-control

  • Magdalen Society

  • First Annual Report (1831)

  • Female Moral Reform Society

  • The Advocate of Moral Reform

Women’s Rights

  • Women’s role as missionaries to their family make them public reformers

  • Antislavery movement leads women to advocate for equal rights

  • State legislative changes in favor of women

  • Married Woman’s Property Act (New York 1860)

  • Women’s Rights Convention, Seneca Falls, NY (1848)

  • Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions

  • Female participation in politics

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