The 1852 Democratic National Convention nominated the dark horse candidate Franklin Pierce for President on the 49th ballot, passing over better known candidates Lewis Cass of Michigan (the previous nominee in 1848), James Buchanan of Pennsylvania, and Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois. It was held at the Maryland Institute in the eastern downtown business district of Baltimore, Maryland, just two weeks before the opposing Whig Party met in the same hall for their nominating convention.
This convention was notable for the hostility between several groups within the party, divided over the "Compromise of 1850". The convention was called to order by Democratic National Committee chairman Benjamin F. Hallett. Romulus M. Saunders served as the temporary convention chairman and John W. Davis served as the permanent convention president.
|1852 Democratic National Convention|
|1852 presidential election|
Pierce and King
|Date(s)||June 1–5, 1852|
|Venue||Maryland Institute for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts [above Centre ("Marsh") Market]|
|Presidential nominee||Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire|
|Vice Presidential nominee||William R. King of Alabama|
The Maryland Institute for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts, then an academic institution founded 1825-1826 with a variety of curriculums including mechanical arts along with visual art and design, was located on the second floor of their recently constructed 1851 landmark structure with two clock towers at each end of the long structure set atop arched, stone and brick piers which covered the ancient "Centre Market", founded in the 1760s as the original main marketplace of old Baltimore Town. Located at Market Place (formerly Harrison Street) and South Frederick Street between East Baltimore Street on the north and Water Street (old colonial shoreline) to the south. It was also known as "Marsh Market" because of the old colonial marsh of Thomas Harrison then located along the western bank of the Jones Falls stream which flowed through downtown Baltimore to the Harbor, and east of "The Basin" (today's "Inner Harbor re-developed entertainment, commercial and hotel area) along the northern shore of the Patapsco River's Northwest Branch. 16th President Abraham Lincoln spoke at the Institute a decade later with his "Liberty Address" or "Baltimore Address" during the Sanitary Fair to raise money to benefit orphans and widows of Union Army soldiers and sailors, held by the United States Sanitary Commission in April 1864. Old Maryland Institute and the Centre Market buildings perished in the Great Baltimore Fire of February 1904. The Institute's buildings were rebuilt with three new parallel structures here for the marketplace and the second floors for the M.I.'s mechanical arts along with another "Main Building" at Mount Royal Avenue in northwestern city in 1906. They were razed in the 1980s for an entranceway into the new Baltimore "Metro" subway system, and one building (the old "Fish Market") was renovated as the "Port Discovery" children's museum, part of the new "Power Plant Live!" entertainment complex of the 1990s.
As Democrats convened in Baltimore in June 1852, four major candidates vied for the nomination- Lewis Cass of Michigan, the nominee in 1848, who had the backing of northerners in support of the Compromise of 1850; James Buchanan of Pennsylvania, popular in the South as well as in his home state; Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, candidate of the expansionists and the railroad interests; and William L. Marcy of New York, whose strength was centered in his home state. Throughout the balloting, numerous favorite son candidates received a few votes.
Cass led on the first 19 ballots, with Buchanan second, and Douglas and Marcy exchanging third and fourth places. Buchanan took the lead on the 20th ballot and retained it on each of the next nine tallies. Douglas managed a narrow lead on the 30th and 31st ballots. Cass then recaptured first place through the 44th ballot. Marcy carried the next four ballots.
Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire, a former Congressman and Senator, did not get on the board until the 35th ballot, when the Virginia delegation brought him forward as a compromise choice, selecting Pierce as their dark horse by one vote over former New York Congressman and Brooklyn Mayor Henry C. Murphy, and then supporting him as a unit. After being nominated by the Virginia delegation, Pierce's support remained steady until the 46th ballot, when it began to increase at Cass's expense. Pierce's support was consolidated in subsequent voting, and he was nominated nearly unanimously on the 49th ballot.
According to Edward Stanwood, there was "no doubt that the nomination of General Pierce was carefully planned before the convention met. The originator of the scheme was James W. Bradbury, then a senator from Maine, a college mate and lifelong friend of Pierce."
|William L. Marcy||27||27||26||25||26||26||26||26||27||27||27||27||26||26||26||26||26||25||26||26||26||26||27||26||26|
|Stephen A. Douglas||20||23||21||33||34||34||34||34||39||40||50||51||51||51||51||51||50||56||63||64||64||77||78||80||79|
|William L. Marcy||26||26||26||26||26||26||26||25||33||34||58||70||84||85||85||85||91||91||91||97||98||95||89||0|
|Stephen A. Douglas||80||85||88||91||92||92||80||60||53||52||43||34||33||33||33||33||33||33||33||32||32||33||33||2|
In a peace gesture to the Buchanan wing of the party, Pierce's supporters allowed Buchanan's allies to fill the second position, knowing that they would select Alabama Senator William R. King, to whom Pierce had no objections. King won the nomination on the second ballot. During the ensuing campaign, King's tuberculosis, which he believed he had contracted while living in Paris, denied him the active behind-the-scenes role that he might otherwise have played, although he worked hard to assure his region's voters with the statement that New Hampshire's Pierce was a "northern man with southern principles."
|Vice Presidential Ballot|
|William R. King||125||277|
|Solomon W. Downs||30||0|
|John B. Weller||28||0|
|David R. Atchison||25||0|
|Gideon J. Pillow||25||0|
|William O. Butler||13||0|
|Thomas J. Rusk||13||0|
|Democratic National Conventions||Succeeded by|
The 1852 United States elections elected the members of the 33rd United States Congress. The election marked the end of the Second Party System, as the Whig Party ceased to function as a national party following this election. Democrats won the presidency and retained control of both houses of Congress.
In the presidential election, Democratic former senator Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire defeated Whig General Winfield Scott. Pierce won the popular vote by a margin of seven percent, and dominated the electoral college. John P. Hale of the Free Soil Party also took about five percent of the popular vote. Pierce won on the 49th ballot of the 1852 Democratic National Convention, defeating 1848 nominee Lewis Cass, former Secretary of State James Buchanan, former Secretary of War William L. Marcy, and Senator Stephen A. Douglas frp, Illinois. Incumbent Whig president Millard Fillmore ran for a full term, but the 1852 Whig National Convention chose Scott, another popular general similar to former Whig presidents William Henry Harrison and Zachary Taylor. Fillmore became the first incumbent president to lose his party's presidential nomination. Scott was the last Whig presidential candidate, as the party collapsed during the 1850s. However, this election was also the last time a Democratic candidate would win a majority of the popular and electoral vote until Franklin D. Roosevelt did so in 1932.
In the House, Democrats won several seats, boosting their majority.In the Senate, Democrats won minor gains, maintaining their commanding majority.1852 United States presidential election
The United States presidential election of 1852 was the seventeenth quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 2, 1852. Democrat Franklin Pierce, a former Senator from New Hampshire, defeated General Winfield Scott, the Whig nominee. This was the last election in which the Whigs served as the principal opposition to the Democrats.
Incumbent Whig President Millard Fillmore had acceded to the presidency after the death of President Zachary Taylor in 1850. Due to Fillmore's support of the Compromise of 1850 and his enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law, he was popular in the South but opposed by many Northern Whigs. On the 53rd ballot of the 1852 Whig National Convention, Scott defeated Fillmore to clinch the party's nomination. The Democrats were divided among four major candidates, who traded leads through the first 48 ballots of the 1852 Democratic National Convention. On the 49th ballot, dark horse candidate Franklin Pierce won his party's nomination. The Free Soil Party, a third party opposed to the extension of slavery into the territories, nominated Senator John P. Hale of New Hampshire.
With no major policy differences between the two major candidates, the election became a contest of personalities. Though Scott had been the top U.S. general in the Mexican–American War and had had a long and distinguished military career, Pierce had also served in the Mexican–American War. The Whigs were badly divided between their Northern and Southern wings, and Scott's anti-slavery reputation further damaged his campaign in the South. A group of Southern Whigs and a separate group of Southern Democrats each nominated their own tickets, but both efforts failed to attract support.
Pierce and his running mate William R. King won by a comfortable majority in the popular vote and carried 27 of the 31 states, while Scott won 43.9% of the popular vote. Pierce won the highest share of the electoral vote since James Monroe's uncontested 1820 re-election. In the aftermath of this overwhelming defeat the Whig Party rapidly collapsed as a national political force as internal tensions regarding the issue of slavery caused mass abandonment of the party.1852 Whig National Convention
The 1852 Whig National Convention was a quadrennial United States presidential nominating convention of the Whig Party. The convention adopted the party's national platform and nominated Major General Winfield Scott as its candidate for president and Secretary of the Navy William A. Graham as its candidate for vice president. The convention was held from June 17, 1852, to June 20, 1852, in Baltimore, Maryland, at the Maryland Institute.
Scott was nominated on the 53rd ballot, winning 159 votes. President Millard Fillmore received 112 votes and failed to win nomination for a full term. Secretary of State Daniel Webster was also a contender for the nomination, but failed to garner any significant support.Scott and Graham lost the 1852 presidential election to the Democratic candidates, Franklin Pierce and William R. King.Benjamin F. Angel
Benjamin Franklin Angel (November 28, 1815 in Burlington, Otsego County, New York – September 11, 1894 in Geneseo, Livingston County, New York) was an American lawyer, politician and diplomat.Charles O'Conor (American politician)
Charles O'Conor (January 22, 1804 – May 12, 1884) was an American lawyer who was notable for his career as a trial advocate, and for his candidacy in the 1872 U.S. presidential election.
Born in New York City, O'Conor after his father fled Ireland following participation in the Irish Rebellion of 1798, O'Conor was educated in the city and began to study law at age 16. Admitted to the bar at age 20, O'Conor developed a reputation as an effective trial attorney, especially in civil cases. A conservative Democrat in politics, he was a longtime friend of Samuel Tilden. He served as a delegate to the 1852 Democratic National Convention, and was United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1853 to 1854. During the American Civil War, O'Conor supported the Union, but was sympathetic to arguments in favor of states' rights. After the war, he served as counsel for Jefferson Davis after Davis was indicted for treason, and helped post Davis' bail.
In 1871, O'Conor was among the prominent New Yorkers who played a role in the overthrow of corrupt political boss William M. Tweed. In 1872, he was among the conservative Democrats who refused to support Horace Greeley, the nominee of the Liberal Republicans and the Democrats. He was nominated for president by the Straight-Out Democratic Party, with John Quincy Adams II as his running mate. O'Conor did not accept the nomination but remained on the ballot and received a scattering of votes, while the election was won easily by incumbent Republican Ulysses S. Grant. O'Conor was one of Democratic nominee Samuel Tilden's lawyers in 1876, when Tilden unsuccessfully contested the results of that year's presidential election.
O'Conor retired in 1881, and settled in Nantucket, Massachusetts. He died there on May 12, 1884, and was buried at St. Patrick's Old Cathedral in New York City.Charles P. Bush
Charles P. Bush (March 18, 1809 – 1857) was a politician from the U.S. state of Michigan.Daniel S. Dickinson
Daniel Stevens Dickinson (September 11, 1800 – April 12, 1866) was a New York politician, most notable as a United States Senator from 1844 to 1851.David Allen Smalley
David Allen Smalley (April 6, 1809 – March 10, 1877) was a United States federal judge.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.John Benton Sterigere
John Benton Sterigere (July 31, 1793 – October 13, 1852) was an American politician from Pennsylvania who served as a Jacksonian Democrat member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Pennsylvania's 5th congressional district from 1827 to 1831.
Sterigere was born in Upper Dublin Township, Pennsylvania, near what is today Ambler, to Peter Sterigere (1760–1806) and Ann Elizabeth Sterigere (née Haupt) (1770–1853). He worked on a farm and attended school. He was appointed justice of the peace in 1818 and was elected a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, serving from 1821 to 1824. He studied law, was admitted to the bar on November 17, 1829, and commenced practice in Norristown, Pennsylvania.
Sterigere was elected to the Twentieth Congress and reelected as a Jacksonian to the Twenty-first Congress. He served as the chairman of the United States House Committee on Private Land Claims during the Twenty-first Congress. He was a delegate to the state convention to revise the constitution in 1838, and a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate for the 3rd district in 1839 and for the 2nd district from 1843 to 1846. He was a delegate to the 1852 Democratic National Convention. He edited the Register and was appointed by the State assembly as chairman of a commission to improve the town of Norristown. He died in Norristown in 1852. He is interred in Upper Dublin Lutheran Church Cemetery in Ambler, Pennsylvania.Lorenzo B. Shepard
Lorenzo Brigham Shepard (May 27, 1821, Cairo, Greene County, New York – September 19, 1856, New York City) was an American lawyer and politician from New York.Presidency of Franklin Pierce
The presidency of Franklin Pierce began on March 4, 1853, when Franklin Pierce was inaugurated as President of the United States, and ended on March 4, 1857. Pierce, a Democrat from New Hampshire, took office as the 14th United States president after routing Whig Party nominee Winfield Scott in the 1852 presidential election. Seen by fellow Democrats as pleasant and accommodating to all the party's factions, Pierce, then a little-known politician, won the presidential nomination on the 49th ballot of the 1852 Democratic National Convention.
Pierce vetoed funding for internal improvements, called for a lower tariff, and vigorously enforced the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Influenced by the Young America expansionist movement, the Pierce administration completed the Gadsden land purchase from Mexico, clashed with Britain in Central America, and led a failed attempt to acquire Cuba from Spain. Pierce's administration was severely criticized after several of his diplomats issued the Ostend Manifesto, which called for the annexation of Cuba, by force if necessary. His popularity in the Northern free states declined sharply after he supported the 1854 Kansas–Nebraska Act, which nullified the Missouri Compromise. Passage of the act led directly to a long and violent conflict over the expansion of slavery in the American West.
In the wake of the Kansas–Nebraska Act, the Whig Party was destroyed and the Democratic Party was severely weakened. With the destruction of the Whigs, two new major parties emerged in the nativist American Party and the anti-slavery Republican Party. Pierce actively sought renomination at the 1856 Democratic National Convention, but he was defeated by James Buchanan, who had served as Pierce's ambassador to Britain. Buchanan went on to win the 1856 presidential election, defeating the nominees of the American Party and the Republican Party. Pierce is viewed by presidential historians as an inept chief executive, whose failure to stem the nation's inter–sectional conflict accelerated the course towards civil war. He is generally ranked as one of the worst presidents of all time.Richard Frothingham Jr.
Richard Frothingham Jr. (January 31, 1812 – January 29, 1880) was a Massachusetts historian, journalist, and politician. Frothingham was a proprietor and managing editor of The Boston Post. He also served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and as the second mayor of Charlestown, Massachusetts, United States.Richard S. Molony
Richard Sheppard Molony (June 28, 1811 – December 14, 1891) was a U.S. Representative from Illinois.
Born in Northfield, New Hampshire, Molony studied medicine. He graduated from Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, New Hampshire, in 1838 and commenced the practice of his profession in Belvidere, Illinois. He served as delegate to the 1852 Democratic National Convention.
Molony was elected as a Democrat to the 32nd United States Congress (March 4, 1851 – March 3, 1853). He was not a candidate for renomination in 1852. He moved to Humboldt, Nebraska, and engaged in agricultural pursuits 1866-1891. In 1882 he declined the Democratic nomination for United States Senator from Nebraska on account of ill health. He was again a delegate to the Democratic National Convention at Chicago in 1884. He died in Humboldt, Nebraska, December 14, 1891. He was interred in Belvidere Cemetery, Belvidere, Illinois.Stephen A. Douglas
Stephen Arnold Douglas (April 23, 1813 – June 3, 1861) was an American politician and lawyer from Illinois. He was the Democratic Party nominee for president in the 1860 election, but he was defeated by Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln. Douglas had previously bested Lincoln in the 1858 Illinois election for the United States Senate, which is known for the Lincoln–Douglas debates. During the 1850s, Douglas was one of the foremost advocates of popular sovereignty, which held that each territory should be allowed to determine whether to permit slavery within its borders. Douglas was nicknamed the "Little Giant" because he was short in physical stature, but a forceful and dominant figure in politics.
Born in Brandon, Vermont, Douglas migrated to Jacksonville, Illinois in 1833 to establish a legal practice. He experienced early success in politics as a member of the Democratic Party, serving in the Illinois House of Representatives and various other positions. He resigned from the Supreme Court of Illinois upon being elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1843. Douglas became an ally of President James K. Polk, and favored the annexation of Texas and the Mexican–American War. He was one of four Northern Democrats in the House to vote against the Wilmot Proviso, which would have banned slavery in any territory acquired from Mexico.
The Illinois legislature elected Douglas to the United States Senate in 1847, and Douglas emerged as a national party leader during the 1850s. Along with Henry Clay, he led the passage of the Compromise of 1850, which settled some of the territorial issues arising from the Mexican–American War. Douglas was a candidate for president at the 1852 Democratic National Convention, but lost the nomination to Franklin Pierce. Seeking to open the west for expansion, Douglas introduced the Kansas–Nebraska Act in 1854. Though Douglas had hoped the Kansas–Nebraska Act would ease sectional tensions, it elicited a strong reaction in the North and helped fuel the rise of the anti-slavery Republican Party. Douglas once again sought the presidency in 1856, but the 1856 Democratic National Convention instead nominated James Buchanan, who went on to win the election. Buchanan and Douglas split over the admission of Kansas as a slave state, as Douglas accused the pro-slavery Kansas legislature of having conducted an unfair election.
During the Lincoln–Douglas debates, Douglas articulated the Freeport Doctrine, which held that territories could effectively exclude slavery despite the Supreme Court's ruling in the 1857 case of Dred Scott v. Sandford. Disagreements over slavery led to the bolt of Southern delegates at the 1860 Democratic National Convention. The rump convention of Northern delegates nominated Douglas for president, while Southern Democrats threw their support behind John C. Breckinridge. In the 1860 election, Lincoln and Douglas were the main candidates in the North, while most Southerners supported either Breckinridge or John Bell of the Constitutional Union Party. Campaigning throughout the country during the election, Douglas warned of the dangers of secession and urged his audiences to stay loyal to the United States. Ultimately, Lincoln's strong support in the North led to his victory in the election. After the Battle of Fort Sumter, Douglas rallied support for the Union, but he died in June 1861.Thompson Campbell
Thompson Campbell (1811 – December 6, 1868) was a U.S. Representative from Illinois.William F. Coolbaugh
William Findlay Coolbaugh (July 1, 1821 – November 13, 1877) was an American politician and banker from Pennsylvania. After working his way up the ranks at a Philadelphia dry goods house, he began his own store in Burlington, Iowa in 1842. He became active in Iowa politics, serving in the Iowa Senate from 1854 to 1862. In 1855, he was the Democratic Party candidate to the United States Senate, but lost. In 1862, he moved to Chicago, Illinois to set up a banking house which became the Union National Bank of Chicago. Coolbaugh was also the father-in-law of Chief Justice of the United States Melville Fuller. Coolbaugh died of an apparent suicide in 1877.William R. King
William Rufus DeVane King (April 7, 1786 – April 18, 1853) was an American politician and diplomat. He was the 13th vice president of the United States for six weeks in 1853 before his death. Earlier he had been elected as a U.S. representative from North Carolina and a senator from Alabama. He also served as minister to France during the reign of King Louis Philippe I.
A Democrat, he was a Unionist and his contemporaries considered him to be a moderate on the issues of sectionalism, slavery and westward expansion, which contributed to the American Civil War. He helped draft the Compromise of 1850. He is the only United States executive official to take the oath of office on foreign soil; he was inaugurated in Havana, Cuba due to poor health. King died of tuberculosis after 45 days in office. With the exceptions of John Tyler and Andrew Johnson—both of whom succeeded to the presidency—he is the shortest-serving vice president.
King was the only U.S. vice president from the State of Alabama and held the highest political office of any Alabamian in American history. He was the third vice president to die in office.Zadock Pratt
Zadock Pratt Jr. (October 30, 1790 – April 5, 1871) was a tanner, banker, soldier, and member of the United States House of Representatives. Pratt served in the New York militia from 1819–1826, and was Colonel of the 116th regiment from 1822 until his resignation from the militia on September 4, 1826.In the Catskill Mountains, Pratt built the largest tannery in the world at its time, and built the town of Prattsville to accommodate the labor force necessary for the tannery, raising the town's population from around 500 to over 2000. Pratt was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1836 and 1842. During his second term, in 1845 he first proposed the transcontinental railroad. In 1848, Pratt tried but failed to receive the Democratic/Hunker nomination for the 1848 New York state gubernatorial election. He was a delegate to the 1852 Democratic National Convention.
In 1843, Pratt established the Prattsville Bank with, which printed its own bills that were kept on par with the US dollar, but he closed the bank nine years later in 1852. Pratt financed multiple smaller tanneries in the Catskills, and also one in Pennsylvania as a joint venture with Jay Gould. In 1860 he retired from active business pursuits, and died in 1871.