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The Illinois Political Realignment of 1844-1860: Revisiting the Analysis

The Illinois Political Realignment of 1844-1860: Revisiting the Analysis james l. huston In Illinois as well as the rest of the nation, parties underwent continuous upheavals between the inaugurations of James K. Polk and Abraham Lincoln. The Free Soil Party flared into existence in 1848, the KnowNothing Party (American Party) ruled numerous states for several years in the mid-1850s, the northern Democrats confronted a humiliating decline in numbers, and ultimately the Republicans came to dominate the northern landscape. Quantitative political historians between 1962 and 1990--the new political history--investigated this phenomenon extensively, referred to it as the realignment of the second-party system, and offered an interpretation that has since gone statistically uncontested. They argued that by 1850 the major political parties began to look alike on economic issues, and both the Whigs and Democrats underestimated the forces of temperance agitation and immigration that were upsetting the northern public. At the same time, the slavery issue came to a head in the Kansas-Nebraska Act, simultaneous with, to the eternal frustration of historians, the emergence of the American Party. These forces pulled a goodly portion of northern Democrats away from their party, brought new voters into the system, and realigned group party preferences. By 1860, the Republicans had eliminated the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of the Civil War Era University of North Carolina Press

The Illinois Political Realignment of 1844-1860: Revisiting the Analysis

The Journal of the Civil War Era , Volume 1 (4) – Nov 17, 2011

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University of North Carolina Press
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Copyright © University of North Carolina Press
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Abstract

james l. huston In Illinois as well as the rest of the nation, parties underwent continuous upheavals between the inaugurations of James K. Polk and Abraham Lincoln. The Free Soil Party flared into existence in 1848, the KnowNothing Party (American Party) ruled numerous states for several years in the mid-1850s, the northern Democrats confronted a humiliating decline in numbers, and ultimately the Republicans came to dominate the northern landscape. Quantitative political historians between 1962 and 1990--the new political history--investigated this phenomenon extensively, referred to it as the realignment of the second-party system, and offered an interpretation that has since gone statistically uncontested. They argued that by 1850 the major political parties began to look alike on economic issues, and both the Whigs and Democrats underestimated the forces of temperance agitation and immigration that were upsetting the northern public. At the same time, the slavery issue came to a head in the Kansas-Nebraska Act, simultaneous with, to the eternal frustration of historians, the emergence of the American Party. These forces pulled a goodly portion of northern Democrats away from their party, brought new voters into the system, and realigned group party preferences. By 1860, the Republicans had eliminated the

Journal

The Journal of the Civil War EraUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Nov 17, 2011

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