1848 Democratic National Convention

The 1848 Democratic National Convention, a presidential nominating convention of United States Democratic Party delegates representing all thirty states in the union at the time, met in Baltimore on May 22, 1848.[1]

The Democratic National Committee was established at this convention.[2]

1848 Democratic National Convention
1848 presidential election
Lewis Cass crop
WilliamOButler
Nominees
Cass and Butler
Convention
Date(s)May 22–25, 1848
CityBaltimore, Maryland[1]
VenueUniversalist Church[1]
Candidates
Presidential nomineeLewis Cass[1] of Michigan
Vice Presidential nomineeWilliam O. Butler[1] of Kentucky

Proceedings

Former Speaker of the House Andrew Stevenson of Virginia was made the president (chair) of the convention. After readopting the two-thirds rule for selecting the nominee, the assembly turned to the thorny problem of competing delegations representing different factions of the New York party.[1] The convention adopted a compromise (by a vote of 133 to 118) of splitting the thirty-six votes between the pro-Van Buren faction and the Hunkers that opposed them. Unsatisfied, the pro-Van Burenite Barnburners withdrew and the remaining New Yorkers refused to vote.

Presidential nomination

Presidential candidates

The major competitors for the nomination were Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan, Secretary of State James Buchanan from Pennsylvania, and Supreme Court Justice Levi Woodbury from New Hampshire. On the first ballot Cass received a big lead with 125 of the 290 delegate votes with Buchanan and Woodbury trailing with 55 and 53 votes, respectively.[1] On the next two ballots Cass's total went up while the other candidates began to fall. With 179 votes out of 255 actually voting on the fourth ballot, the chair declared Cass the presidential nominee, having surpassed the two-thirds majority of 170 votes.

Presidential vote
Ballots 1 2 3 4
Lewis Cass 125 133 156 179
Levi Woodbury 53 56 53 38
James Buchanan 55 54 40 33
John C. Calhoun 9 0 0 0
William Jenkins Worth 6 5 5 1
George M. Dallas 3 3 0 0
William Orlando Butler 0 0 0 3
Abstaining 39 39 36 36
1848DemocraticPresidentialNomination1stBallot
1st Presidential Ballot
1848DemocraticPresidentialNomination2ndBallot
2nd Presidential Ballot
1848DemocraticPresidentialNomination3rdBallot
3rd Presidential Ballot
1848DemocraticPresidentialNomination4thBallot
4th Presidential Ballot

Vice Presidential nomination

Vice Presidential candidates

COE Levin Hudson - Memphis TN
Inspector General of the Tennessee Militias
Levin Hudson Coe
of Tennessee[3]

Declined

1848DemocraticPoster
Cass/Butler campaign poster

Turning to the choice of a vice presidential running mate, the convention picked General William O. Butler of Kentucky[1] over General John A. Quitman of Mississippi, former Senator and Minister to France William R. King of Alabama, Secretary of the Navy John Y. Mason of Virginia, and Congressman James Iver McKay of North Carolina. Before it adjourned on May 25, this convention also appointed the first Democratic National Committee.[1]

Vice Presidential vote
1st 2nd
Before shifts
2nd
After shifts
William Orlando Butler 114 179 254
John A. Quitman 74 62 0
William R. King 26 8 0
John Y. Mason 24 5 0
James Iver McKay 13 0 0
Jefferson Davis 1 0 0
Abstaining 38 36 36
1848DemocraticVicePresidentialNomination1stBallot
1st Presidential Ballot
1848DemocraticVicePresidentialNomination2ndBallotBefore
2nd Vice Presidential Ballot Before Shifts
1848DemocraticVicePresidentialNomination2ndBallotAfter
2nd Vice Presidential Ballot After Shifts

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Klunder, William (1996). Lewis Cass and the Politics of Moderation. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press. pp. 184–186. Retrieved 9 April 2015 – via Questia.
  2. ^ Smith, Melissa M.; Williams, Glenda C.; Powell, Larry; Copeland, Gary A. (2010). Campaign Finance Reform: The Political Shell Game. Lexington Books. p. 13. ISBN 9780739145678.
  3. ^ Levin Hudson Coe, Tennessee Encyclopedia, August 7, 2018

External links

Preceded by
1844
Baltimore, Maryland
Democratic National Conventions Succeeded by
1852
Baltimore, Maryland
1848 United States elections

The 1848 United States elections elected the members of the 31st United States Congress. The election took place during the Second Party System, nine months after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican–American War. With the issue of slavery (and its extension into western territories) dividing the nation, the Free Soil Party established itself as the third most powerful party in Congress. California joined the union before the next election, and elected its first Congressional delegation to the 31st Congress. Whigs won the Presidency, but Democrats won a plurality in the House and retained control of the Senate.

In the Presidential election, Whig General Zachary Taylor defeated Democratic former Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan and the Free Soil candidate, former President Martin Van Buren. Taylor won most of the Northeast and several Southern states, giving him a fairly comfortable majority in both the electoral and popular vote. One-term incumbent Democratic President James K. Polk chose to retire rather than seek re-election (becoming the first elected president to do so), and Cass defeated Supreme Court Justice Levi Woodbury and Secretary of State James Buchanan on the fourth ballot at the 1848 Democratic National Convention. Van Buren, the former Democratic President, ran against Cass for political reasons (Cass was a prominent supporter of slavery) and possibly for personal reasons (Cass helped defeat Van Buren's 1844 bid for the Democratic nomination). Taylor was recruited by the Whigs to replicate the success of the Whig's only previous successful candidate, General William Henry Harrison, and he easily triumphed over other Whig candidates. Taylor's win made him the last President to win election as neither a Democrat nor a Republican.

In the House, Democrats picked up a small number of seats, taking the plurality. The Whigs lost a small number of seats but remained the second largest party, while the Free Soil Party picked up a handful of seats. The House elected Democrat Howell Cobb as Speaker after sixty-three ballots.In the Senate, the Whigs won minor gains, cutting into the Democratic majority.

1848 United States presidential election

The United States presidential election of 1848 was the 16th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 7, 1848. In the aftermath of the Mexican–American War, General Zachary Taylor of the Whig Party defeated Senator Lewis Cass of the Democratic Party. The contest was the first presidential election that took place on the same day in every state, and it was the first time that Election Day was statutorily a Tuesday.Despite Taylor's unclear political affiliations and beliefs, and the Whig opposition to the Mexican–American War, the 1848 Whig National Convention nominated the popular general over party stalwarts such as Henry Clay and Daniel Webster. For vice president, the Whigs nominated Millard Fillmore, a New York Whig known for his moderate views on slavery. Incumbent President James K. Polk, a Democrat, honored his promise not to seek re-election, leaving his party's nomination open. The 1848 Democratic National Convention rejected former President Martin Van Buren's bid for a second term, instead nominating Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan. Van Buren broke from his party to lead the ticket of the Free Soil Party, which opposed the extension of slavery into the territories.

The Whig choice of Zachary Taylor was made almost out of desperation; he was not clearly committed to Whig principles, but he was popular for leading the war effort. The Democrats had a record of prosperity and had acquired the Mexican cession and parts of Oregon country. It appeared almost certain that they would win unless the Whigs picked Taylor. Taylor won a plurality of the popular vote and a majority of the electoral vote, while Van Buren won 10.1% of the popular vote, a strong showing for a third party candidate.

Taylor's victory made him the second of two Whigs to win a presidential election, following William Henry Harrison's victory in the 1840 presidential election. Like Harrison, Taylor died during his term, and he was succeeded by Fillmore. Discounting Republican Abraham Lincoln's 1864 re-election on the National Union ticket, Taylor is the most recent individual who was not a member of the Democratic or Republican parties to win a presidential election.

1848 Whig National Convention

The 1848 Whig National Convention was a quadrennial presidential nominating convention of the Whig Party. The convention was held in Philadelphia. War hero Zachary Taylor, a major general from Louisiana with no political background, was nominated as the party's candidate for president. Former New York Representative Millard Fillmore was nominated for vice president. They won the 1848 presidential election, defeating the Democratic candidates Lewis Cass and William O. Butler.

1848 convention

1848 convention may refer to:

The Seneca Falls Convention

The Rochester Women's Rights Convention of 1848

The 1848 Democratic National Convention

The 1848 Whig National Convention

The 1848 Free Soil & Liberty national Conventions

The Industrial Congress National Convention, 1848

The 1848 Constitutional Convention of Seneca People that established the Seneca Nation of New York

The Prague Slavic Congress, 1848

The 1848 founding convention of the Free Soil Party

The 1848 International Peace Congress in Brussels

Andrew Stevenson

Andrew Stevenson (January 21, 1784 – January 25, 1857) was a Democratic politician in the United States. He served in the United States House of Representatives representing Virginia, as Speaker of the House, and as Minister to the United Kingdom.

Churchill C. Cambreleng

Churchill Caldom Cambreleng (October 24, 1786 – April 30, 1862) was an American businessman and politician from New York. He is notable for his service in the United States House of Representatives from 1821 to 1839, including terms as chairman of several high profile committees. In addition, he served as U.S. Minister to Russia from 1840 to 1841.

Daniel Sheffer

Daniel Sheffer (May 24, 1783 – February 16, 1880) was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania.

Sheffer was born in York, Pennsylvania. He attended the common schools and Harvard University. He studied medicine in Philadelphia and commenced practice at York Springs, Pennsylvania. He was associate judge of Adams County, Pennsylvania, from 1813 to 1837.

Sheffer was elected as a Democrat to the Twenty-fifth Congress. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1838 to the Twenty-sixth Congress. He resumed the practice of his profession and was a delegate to the 1848 Democratic National Convention. He died in 1880 at York Springs, where he was interred in the Old Lutheran Cemetery.

Democratic National Committee

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is the formal governing body for the United States Democratic Party. The committee coordinates strategy to support Democratic Party candidates throughout the country for local, state, and national office. It organizes the Democratic National Convention held every four years to nominate and confirm a candidate for president, and to formulate the party platform. While it provides support for party candidates, it does not have direct authority over elected officials.The DNC is composed of the chairs and vice-chairs of each state Democratic Party committee and more than 200 members elected by Democrats in all 50 states and the territories. Its chair is elected by the committee. It conducts fundraising to support its activities.The DNC was established at the 1848 Democratic National Convention. The DNC's main counterpart is the Republican National Committee.

Franklin Pierce

Franklin Pierce (November 23, 1804 – October 8, 1869) was the 14th president of the United States (1853–1857), a northern Democrat who saw the abolitionist movement as a fundamental threat to the unity of the nation. He alienated anti-slavery groups by championing and signing the Kansas–Nebraska Act and enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act, yet he failed to stem conflict between North and South, setting the stage for Southern secession and the American Civil War.

Pierce was born in New Hampshire, and served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate until he resigned from the Senate in 1842. His private law practice in New Hampshire was a success, and he was appointed U.S. Attorney for his state in 1845. He took part in the Mexican–American War as a brigadier general in the Army. He was seen by Democrats as a compromise candidate uniting northern and southern interests and was nominated as the party's candidate for president on the 49th ballot at the 1852 Democratic National Convention. He and running mate William R. King easily defeated the Whig Party ticket of Winfield Scott and William A. Graham in the 1852 presidential election.

As president, Pierce simultaneously attempted to enforce neutral standards for civil service while also satisfying the diverse elements of the Democratic Party with patronage, an effort which largely failed and turned many in his party against him. He was a Young America expansionist who signed the Gadsden Purchase of land from Mexico and led a failed attempt to acquire Cuba from Spain. He signed trade treaties with Britain and Japan, while his Cabinet reformed their departments and improved accountability, but these successes were overshadowed by political strife during his presidency. His popularity declined sharply in the Northern states after he supported the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which nullified the Missouri Compromise, while many whites in the South continued to support him. Passage of the act led to violent conflict over the expansion of slavery in the American West. Pierce's administration was further damaged when several of his diplomats issued the Ostend Manifesto calling for the annexation of Cuba, a document which was roundly criticized. He fully expected to be renominated by the Democrats in the 1856 presidential election, but was abandoned by his party and his bid failed. His reputation in the North suffered further during the American Civil War as he became a vocal critic of President Abraham Lincoln.

Pierce was popular and outgoing, but his family life was a grim affair, with his wife Jane suffering from illness and depression for much of her life. All of their children died young, their last son being gruesomely killed in a train accident while the family was traveling shortly before Pierce's inauguration. He was a heavy drinker for much of his life, and he died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1869. Historians and scholars generally rank Pierce as one of the worst and least memorable U.S. Presidents.

James Buchanan

James Buchanan Jr. (; April 23, 1791 – June 1, 1868) was the 15th president of the United States from 1857 to 1861, serving immediately prior to the American Civil War. He was a member of the Democratic Party and the 17th Secretary of State, and he had served in the Senate and House of Representatives before becoming president.

Buchanan was born in Cove Gap, Pennsylvania of Ulster Scots descent. He became a prominent lawyer in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and won election to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as a Federalist. In 1820, he won election to the United States House of Representatives, eventually becoming aligned with Andrew Jackson's Democratic Party. He served as Jackson's Minister to Russia, then won election as a senator from Pennsylvania. In 1845, he accepted appointment as President James K. Polk's Secretary of State. He was a major contender for his party's presidential nomination throughout the 1840s and 1850s and was finally nominated in 1856, defeating incumbent President Franklin Pierce and Senator Stephen A. Douglas at the 1856 Democratic National Convention. Buchanan and running mate John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky defeated Republican John C. Frémont and Know-Nothing Millard Fillmore to win the 1856 election.

Shortly after his election, Buchanan lobbied the Supreme Court to issue a broad ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford, which he fully endorsed. He allied with the South in attempting to admit Kansas to the Union as a slave state under the Lecompton Constitution. In the process, he alienated both Republican abolitionists and Northern Democrats, most of whom supported the principle of popular sovereignty in determining a new state's slave-holding status. He was often called a "doughface", a Northerner with Southern sympathies, and he fought with Douglas, the leader of the popular sovereignty faction, for control of the Democratic Party. The Panic of 1857 struck the nation in the midst of the growing sectional crisis. Buchanan indicated in his 1857 inaugural address that he would not seek a second term, and he kept his word and did not run for re-election in the 1860 presidential election. He supported the North during the Civil War and publicly defended himself against charges that he was responsible for the war. He died in 1868 at age 77, and is the only president to remain a lifelong bachelor.

Buchanan aspired to be a president who would rank in history with George Washington by using his tendencies toward neutrality and impartiality. Historians fault him, however, for his failure to address the issue of slavery and the secession of the southern states, bringing the nation to the brink of civil war. His inability to bring together the sharply divided pro-slavery and anti-slavery partisans with a unifying principle on the brink of the Civil War has led to his consistent ranking by historians as one of the worst presidents in American history. Historians who participated in a 2006 survey voted his failure to deal with secession as the worst presidential mistake ever made.

James K. Polk

James Knox Polk (November 2, 1795 – June 15, 1849) was the 11th president of the United States, serving from 1845 to 1849. He previously was speaker of the House of Representatives (1835–1839) and governor of Tennessee (1839–1841). A protégé of Andrew Jackson, he was a member of the Democratic Party and an advocate of Jacksonian democracy. Polk is chiefly known for extending the territory of the United States during the Mexican–American War; during his presidency, the United States expanded significantly with the annexation of the Republic of Texas, the Oregon Territory, and the Mexican Cession following the American victory in the Mexican–American War.

After building a successful law practice in Tennessee, Polk was elected to the state legislature (1823) and then to the United States House of Representatives in 1825, becoming a strong supporter of Andrew Jackson. After serving as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, he became Speaker in 1835, the only president to have been Speaker. Polk left Congress to run for governor; he won in 1839, but lost in 1841 and 1843. He was a dark horse candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in 1844; he entered his party's convention as a potential nominee for vice president, but emerged as a compromise to head the ticket when no presidential candidate could secure the necessary two-thirds majority. In the general election, Polk defeated Henry Clay of the rival Whig Party.

Polk is considered by many the most effective president of the pre–Civil War era, having met during his four-year term every major domestic and foreign policy goal he had set. After a negotiation fraught with risk of war, he reached a settlement with the United Kingdom over the disputed Oregon Country, the territory for the most part being divided along the 49th parallel. Polk achieved a sweeping victory in the Mexican–American War, which resulted in the cession by Mexico of nearly all the American Southwest. He secured a substantial reduction of tariff rates with the Walker tariff of 1846. The same year, he achieved his other major goal, re-establishment of the Independent Treasury system. True to his campaign pledge to serve only one term, Polk left office in 1849 and returned to Tennessee; he died in Nashville, most likely of cholera, three months after leaving the White House.

Scholars have ranked Polk favorably for his ability to promote and achieve the major items on his presidential agenda, but he has also been criticized for leading the country into war against Mexico and for exacerbating sectional divides. A slaveholder for most of his adult life, he owned a plantation in Mississippi and bought slaves while President. A major legacy of Polk's presidency is territorial expansion, as the United States reached the Pacific coast and became poised to be a world power.

James T. Archer

James Tillinghast Archer (May 15, 1819 – June 1, 1859) was an American lawyer and politician from the state of Florida. Archer held a number of statewide offices.

Levi Woodbury

Levi Woodbury (December 22, 1789 – September 4, 1851) was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, a U.S. Senator, the 9th Governor of New Hampshire, and cabinet member in three administrations.

Born in Francestown, New Hampshire, he established a legal practice in Francestown in 1812. After serving in the New Hampshire Senate, he was appointed to the New Hampshire Supreme Court in 1817. He served as Governor of New Hampshire from 1823 to 1824 and represented New Hampshire in the Senate from 1825 to 1831, becoming affiliated with the Democratic Party of Andrew Jackson. He served as the United States Secretary of the Navy under President Jackson and as the United States Secretary of the Treasury under Jackson and President Martin Van Buren.

He served another term representing New Hampshire in the Senate from 1841 to 1845, when he accepted President James K. Polk's appointment to the Supreme Court. Woodbury was the first Justice to have attended law school. He received significant support for the presidential nomination at the 1848 Democratic National Convention, particularly among New England delegates, but the nomination went to Lewis Cass of Michigan. Woodbury served on the court until his death in 1851.

Lewis Cass

Lewis Cass (October 9, 1782 – June 17, 1866) was an American military officer, politician, and statesman. He represented Michigan in the United States Senate and served in the Cabinets of two U.S. Presidents, Andrew Jackson and James Buchanan. He was also the 1848 Democratic presidential nominee and a leading spokesman for the Doctrine of Popular Sovereignty, which held that the people in each territory should decide whether to permit slavery.

Born in Exeter, New Hampshire, he attended Phillips Exeter Academy before establishing a legal practice in Zanesville, Ohio. After serving in the Ohio House of Representatives, he was appointed as a U.S. Marshal. Cass also joined the Freemasons and would eventually co-found the Grand Lodge of Michigan. He fought at the Battle of the Thames in the War of 1812 and was appointed to govern Michigan Territory in 1813. He negotiated treaties with Native Americans to open land for American settlement and led a survey expedition into the northwest part of the territory.

Cass resigned as governor in 1831 to accept appointment as Secretary of War under Andrew Jackson. As Secretary of War, he helped implement Jackson's policy of Indian removal. After serving as ambassador to France from 1836 to 1842, he unsuccessfully sought the presidential nomination at the 1844 Democratic National Convention; a deadlock between supporters of Cass and former President Martin Van Buren ended with the nomination of James K. Polk. In 1845, the Michigan Legislature elected Cass to the Senate, where he served until 1848. Cass's nomination at the 1848 Democratic National Convention precipitated a split in the party, as Cass's advocacy for popular sovereignty alienated the anti-slavery wing of the party. Van Buren led the Free Soil Party's presidential ticket and appealed to many anti-slavery Democrats, possibly contributing to the victory of Whig nominee Zachary Taylor.

Cass returned to the Senate in 1849 and continued to serve until 1857, when he accepted appointment as the Secretary of State. He unsuccessfully sought to buy land from Mexico and sympathized with American filibusters in Latin America. Cass resigned from the Cabinet in December 1860 in protest of Buchanan's handling of the threatened secession of several Southern states. Since his death in 1866, he has been commemorated in various ways, including with a statue in the National Statuary Hall.

List of Presidents of the United States by other offices held

This is a list of Presidents of the United States by other offices (either elected or appointive) held. Every President of the United States except Donald Trump has served as at least one of the following:

Vice President of the United States

a Member of Congress (either U.S. Senator or Representative)

a Governor of a state

a Cabinet Secretary

a General of the United States Army

Martin Van Buren

Martin Van Buren (; born Maarten Van Buren ([ˈmaːrtə ʋɑŋˈbyːrə], December 5, 1782 – July 24, 1862) was an American statesman who served as the eighth president of the United States from 1837 to 1841. He was the first president born after the independence of the United States from the British Empire. A founder of the Democratic Party, he previously served as the ninth governor of New York, the tenth United States secretary of state, and the eighth vice president of the United States. He won the 1836 presidential election with the endorsement of popular outgoing President Andrew Jackson and the organizational strength of the Democratic Party. He lost his 1840 reelection bid to Whig Party nominee William Henry Harrison, due in part to the poor economic conditions of the Panic of 1837. Later in his life, Van Buren emerged as an elder statesman and important anti-slavery leader, who led the Free Soil Party ticket in the 1848 presidential election.

Van Buren was born in Kinderhook, New York to a family of Dutch Americans; his father was a Patriot during the American Revolution. He was raised speaking Dutch and learned English at school, making him the only U.S. president who spoke English as a second language. He trained as a lawyer and quickly became involved in politics as a member of the Democratic-Republican Party. He won election to the New York State Senate and became the leader of the Bucktails, the faction of Democratic-Republicans opposed to Governor DeWitt Clinton. Van Buren established a political machine known as the Albany Regency and in the 1820s emerged as the most influential politician in his home state. He was elected to the United States Senate in 1821 and supported William H. Crawford in the 1824 presidential election. John Quincy Adams won the 1824 election and Van Buren opposed his proposals for federally funded internal improvements and other measures. Van Buren's major political goal was to re-establish a two-party system with partisan differences based on ideology rather than personalities or sectional differences, and he supported Jackson's candidacy against Adams in the 1828 presidential election with this goal in mind. To support Jackson's candidacy, Van Buren ran for Governor of New York and resigned a few months after assuming the position to accept appointment as U.S. Secretary of State after Jackson took office in 1829.

Van Buren was a key advisor during Jackson's eight years as President of the United States and he built the organizational structure for the coalescing Democratic Party, particularly in New York. He resigned from his position to help resolve the Petticoat affair, then briefly served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom. At Jackson's behest, the 1832 Democratic National Convention nominated Van Buren for Vice President of the United States, and he took office after the Democratic ticket won the 1832 presidential election. With Jackson's strong support, Van Buren faced little opposition for the presidential nomination at the 1835 Democratic National Convention, and he defeated several Whig opponents in the 1836 presidential election. Van Buren's response to the Panic of 1837 centered on his Independent Treasury system, a plan under which the Federal government of the United States would store its funds in vaults rather than in banks. He also continued Jackson's policy of Indian removal; he maintained peaceful relations with Britain but denied the application to admit Texas to the Union, seeking to avoid heightened sectional tensions. In the 1840 election, the Whigs rallied around Harrison's military record and ridiculed Van Buren as "Martin Van Ruin", and a surge of new voters helped turn him out of office.

At the opening of the Democratic convention in 1844, Van Buren was the leading candidate for the party's nomination for the presidency. Southern Democrats, however, were angered by his continued opposition to the annexation of Texas, and the party nominated James K. Polk. Van Buren grew increasingly opposed to slavery after he left office, and he agreed to lead a third party ticket in the 1848 presidential election, motivated additionally by intra-party differences at the state and national level. He finished in a distant third nationally, but his presence in the race most likely helped Whig nominee Zachary Taylor defeat Democrat Lewis Cass. Van Buren returned to the Democratic fold after the 1848 election, but he supported Abraham Lincoln's policies during the American Civil War. His health began to fail in 1861 and he died in July 1862 at age 79. He has been generally ranked as an average or below-average U.S. president by historians and political scientists.

William Hayden English

William Hayden English (August 27, 1822 – February 7, 1896) was an American US Representative from Indiana and the Democratic nominee for vice president in 1880. English entered politics at a young age, becoming a part of Jesse D. Bright's conservative faction of the Indiana Democratic Party. After a few years in the federal bureaucracy in Washington beginning in 1845, he returned to Indiana and participated in the state constitutional convention of 1850. He was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1851 and served as its speaker at the age of twenty-nine. After a two-year term in the state house, English represented Indiana in the federal House of Representatives for four terms from 1853 to 1861, working most notably to achieve a compromise on the admission of Kansas as a state.

English retired from the House in 1861, but remained involved in party affairs. In the American Civil War he was a War Democrat, supporting the Union war effort. As well as pursuing a political career, he was an author and businessman. He owned an opera house, was president of a bank, and developed many residential properties. English was successful in business, and became one of the wealthiest men in Indiana. After nearly two decades in the private sector, English returned to political life as the Democratic nominee for vice president in 1880. English and his presidential running mate, Winfield Scott Hancock, lost narrowly to their Republican opponents, James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur.

William Orlando Butler

William Orlando Butler (April 19, 1791 – August 6, 1880) was a U.S. political figure and U.S. Army major general from Kentucky. He served as a Democratic congressman from Kentucky from 1839 to 1843, and was the Democratic vice-presidential nominee under Lewis Cass in 1848.

Born in Jessamine County, Kentucky, Butler studied law after graduating from Transylvania University. He served in the War of 1812, taking part in the Battle of the Thames and the Battle of New Orleans. After the war, he practiced law in Carrollton, Kentucky and briefly served in the Kentucky House of Representatives. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1839 to 1843 before running for Governor of Kentucky in 1844. He lost the 1844 gubernatorial election to Whig nominee William Owsley.

During the Mexican–American War, Butler served as a major general of volunteers. He was General Zachary Taylor's second-in-command during the Battle of Monterrey and later succeeded Winfield Scott as the commander of American forces occupying Mexico City. The 1848 Democratic National Convention nominated a ticket of Cass and Butler, but the Whig ticket of Taylor and Millard Fillmore won the 1848 presidential election. He attended the Peace Conference of 1861, which sought to defuse the secession crisis that arose following the 1860 presidential election. During the Civil War, Butler was a War Democrat who favored the Union.

Wilmot Proviso

The Wilmot Proviso was an unsuccessful 1846 proposal in the United States Congress to ban slavery in territory acquired from Mexico in the Mexican–American War. The conflict over the Wilmot Proviso was one of the major events leading to the American Civil War.

Congressman David Wilmot first introduced the proviso in the United States House of Representatives on August 8, 1846, as a rider on a $2,000,000 appropriations bill intended for the final negotiations to resolve the Mexican–American War (this was only three months into the two-year war). It passed the House but failed in the Senate, where the South had greater representation. It was reintroduced in February 1847 and again passed the House and failed in the Senate. In 1848, an attempt to make it part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo also failed. Sectional political disputes over slavery in the Southwest continued until the Compromise of 1850.

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