Liberty Party (United States, 1840)


Liberty Party (United States, 1840)
Liberty Party
Founded 1840
Dissolved Unknown (became politically insignificant after 1848)
Succeeded by Free Soil Party
Ideology Abolitionism
International affiliation None
Politics of the United States
Political parties
Elections

The Liberty Party was a minor political party in the United States in the 1840s (with some offshoots surviving into the 1850s and 1860s). The party was an early advocate of the abolitionist cause. It broke away from the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS) to advocate the view that the Constitution was an anti-slavery document; William Lloyd Garrison, leader of the AASS, held the contrary view that the Constitution should be condemned as an evil pro-slavery document. The party included abolitionists who were willing to work within electoral politics to try to influence people to support their goals; the radical Garrison, by contrast, opposed voting and working within the system. The party was announced in November 1839, and first gathered in Warsaw, New York. Its first national convention took place in Arcade on April 1, 1840.

The Liberty Party nominated James G. Birney, a Kentuckian and former slaveholder, for President in 1840[1] and 1844.[2] The second nominating convention was held in August 1843 in Buffalo, New York. The Liberty Party platform of 1843 resolved "to regard and to treat" the fugitive slave clause of the U. S. constitution "as utterly null and void, and consequently forming no part of the Constitution of the United States", and also:

Resolved, That the Liberty Party...will demand the absolute and unqualified divorce of the general [i.e., federal] government from slavery, and also the restoration of equality of rights among men, in every State where the party exists, or may exist.

The party did not attract much support; in the 1840 election, Birney received only 6,797 votes, and in the 1844 election 62,103 votes (2.3% of the popular vote). A third nominating convention was held in Syracuse, New York in October 1847, endorsing John P. Hale of New Hampshire with 103 votes (there Gerrit Smith received forty-four votes for the nomination, with another twelve scattered votes for others).[3] However, this nomination was later withdrawn due to the subsequent events of 1848.

In 1848, with the political sentiment stirred up by the Wilmot Proviso controversies, and the "Barnburner" faction of New York Democrats splitting off from the rest of the Democratic party, there was the possibility of forming a much larger and more influential political grouping devoted to anti-slavery goals—but not all of whom considered themselves to be primarily abolitionists as such, or were willing to work under the Liberty Party name. Therefore, many Liberty Party members met in Buffalo, New York with other groups in August 1848 to form the Free Soil Party, a party that, although opposed to slavery, was not strictly speaking abolitionist. A minority which was not willing to merge with the Free Soil Party nominated Gerrit Smith as rump National Liberty Party candidate for 1848, at a convention held on June 14th and 15th 1848 in Buffalo.[4] Smith went on to win 2,545 votes, less than 1% of the Free Soil vote total.

The Free Soil Party later merged with the Republican Party in 1854, by which time many of the issues originally championed by the Liberty Party had become politically mainstream. A member of the Liberty Party who later rose to great political prominence as a Free-Soiler and Republican was Salmon P. Chase.

Chase had joined the Liberty Party in 1841, and had a significant influence on the Liberty Party platform of 1843/1844, as well as organizing the "Southern and Western Liberty Convention" in Cincinnati in 1845, where a number of delegates from the midwest and upper south met. In order to broaden the appeal of the party, Chase advocated supplementing the almost purely religious and moral Liberty Party rhetoric of the 1840 election with political and constitutional analysis, and wished the party to emphasize that its immediate goal was to withdraw all direct federal government support and recognition of slavery (or to "divorce" the federal government from slavery), as opposed to simply demanding the abolition of slavery everywhere in the United States (something which was beyond the legal power of the federal government to accomplish as the U. S. constitution then existed). In 1847-1848, Chase was a strong supporter of the fusion movement which resulted in the formation of the Free Soil Party.[5]

The Liberty Party continued to exist many years afterwards, despite most of its supporters having left to join less-religiously-motivated parties. In the absence of Chase, religious rhetoric in the party's official addresses and platforms increased. The 1848 platform strongly condemned the perceived attempts to moderate the party. That same year, the party began openly advocating various general moralistic policies, such as prohibitions on alcohol, gambling, and prostitution. Other than these religiously motivated restrictions on market activity, the party largely favored free trade, and opposed tariffs. One year later, the twenty-second plank of the 1849 platform praised Lysander Spooner's book The Unconstitutionality of Slavery.

In 1852, the party held its national convention on September 30, 1852, in Syracuse, N. Y. The presidential nominee that year was William Goodell of New York, and his running mate was S. M. Bell of Virginia. The platform that year only had four planks.

Candidates

Election year Result Nominees
President Vice President
1840 lost James G. Birney (New York) Thomas Earle (Pennsylvania)
1844 lost James G. Birney (New York) Thomas Morris (Ohio)
1848 withdrew John P. Hale (New Hampshire) Leicester King (Ohio)
1848 lost Gerrit Smith (New York) Charles C. Foote (Michigan)
1852 lost William Goodell (New York) S. M. Bell (Virginia)

Contents

Notes

  1. ^ Willey 1886, p. 131.
  2. ^ Willey 1886, p. 175.
  3. ^ The National Era 1847, p. 3.
  4. ^ Smith 1848, p. 4.
  5. ^ Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War by Eric Foner, Oxford University Press (1970) ISBN 0-19-501352-2

References

  • National Party Conventions 1831-1972, Rhodes Cook, Congressional Quarterly, 1976. ISBN 0-87187-093-2.

Further reading

  • Johnson, Reinhard O. (2009). The Liberty Party, 1840-1848: Antislavery Third-Party Politics in the United States. Louisiana State University Press. ISBN 978-0-8071-3393-4. 

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Liberty - все актуальные промокоды Liberty в категории Страхование

  • Whig Party (United States) — This article is about the 19th century political party. For the contemporary third party, see Modern Whig Party. Whig Party Founded 1833 Dissolved 1856 Preceded by National Republican Party, Anti Masonic Party, and unofficially the …   Wikipedia

  • Democratic Party (United States) — Democratic Party …   Wikipedia

  • Third party (United States) — The term third party is used in the United States for a political party other than one of the two major parties, at present, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. It is used as (innumerate) shorthand for all such parties, or sometimes… …   Wikipedia

  • Liberty Party (1840s) — Infobox Historical American Political Party party name= Liberty Party party party articletitle= Liberty Party (United States) active= 1840–1848 ideology= abolitionist position= N/A international= None preceded by= succeeded by= Free Soil Party… …   Wikipedia

  • United States presidential election, 1844 — 1840 ← November 1 December 4, 1844 → 1848 …   Wikipedia

  • United States presidential election, 2008 — 2004 ← November 4, 2008 → 2012 …   Wikipedia

  • United States presidential election, 1948 — 1944 ← November 2, 1948 → 1952 …   Wikipedia

  • Liberty party — U.S. Hist. the first antislavery political party, organized in 1839 and merged with the Free Soil party in 1848. * * * (1840–48) U.S. political party formed by a splinter group of abolitionists. It was created by Arthur Tappan and Theodore Weld… …   Universalium

  • UNITED STATES OF AMERICA — UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, country in N. America. This article is arranged according to the following outline: introduction Colonial Era, 1654–1776 Early National Period, 1776–1820 German Jewish Period, 1820–1880 East European Jewish Period,… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • United States House of Representatives elections, 2006 — 2004 ← November 7, 2006 → 2008 …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.