The First American Political Conventions

Transforming Presidential Nominations, 1832–1872


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About the Book

For almost two centuries, Americans have relied upon political conventions to provide the nation with new leadership. The modern convention, a four-day, carefully choreographed, prime-time television event designed to portray the party and its candidate in the most favorable light, continues many of the traditions and rules developed during the first conventions in the mid–19th century.
This study analyzes the birth of the convention process in the 1830s and follows its development over 40 years, chronicling each of the presidential elections between 1832 and 1872, the leading candidates, and an analysis of the key issues, and memorable speeches and events on the convention floor. Other topics include back-room deal making, “dark horse” candidacies, meeting halls, parades, rallies, and other accompanying hoopla.
This volume reveals the origins of a quintessentially American spectacle and sheds new light on an understudied aspect of the nation’s political past.

About the Author(s)

Stan M. Haynes has practiced law with the Baltimore law firm of Semmes, Bowen & Semmes since 1983. He lives in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Bibliographic Details

Stan M. Haynes
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 276
Bibliographic Info: 46 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6892-8
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9030-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      viii

Preface      1

1. From Caucuses to Conventions      5

2. The Monumental City      10

3. 1832: Please Join Us, Mr. Carroll      19

4. 1836: Hey Buddy, Wanna Be a Delegate?      40

5. 1840: Keep the Ball Rolling      52

6. 1844: Texas Two-Step      67

7. 1848: New York, New York      91

8. 1852: Frank and Fuss and Feathers      106

9. 1856: New and Old: Parties in Transition      127

10. 1860: Two-Act Tragedy      143

11. 1864: Keeping the Same Horse      178

12. 1868: Let Us Have Peace      202

13. 1872: Strange Bedfellows      216

14. Conclusion      241

Notes      247

Bibliography      260

Index      265

Book Reviews & Awards

“a handy reference…Haynes presents the party conventions of each presidential election year in briskly written form. Recommended”—Choice.