The matter of Importance of United States Elections

             The presidential election of 1836 is often overlooked in the matter of importance of United States elections. Common opinion is that it was an insignificant election that was a runaway by the Democrats because the Whigs could not agree on a candidate. However, the election was important in the fact that there was once again a two party system. The election was not as convincing a victory for the Democrats as is popularly held. The Democrats and Whigs each faced various challenges on the road to the election of 1836. .

             Andrew Jackson and the Jacksonian Democratic Republicans enjoyed dominating victories in both the 1828 and 1832 elections, but there was uncertainty heading into the election of 1836. Many former Democrats had left the party for various reasons; Jackson had disillusioned some by the extensive powers he used while in office, while others feared Martin Van Buren, former Vice-president and the apparent heir to Jackson. "Stunned when the legislature of his own state of Tennessee decided to nominate favorite son Senator Hugh Lawson White in January 1835, he {Jackson} called for a Democratic convention before more states were lost,” (5, 57.) Jackson wanted to unite the Democratic party behind the man that he saw as the future of the party, Van Buren. Many factors now would play against Van Buren. He had trouble within his party as the vice-presidential nomination was very close and the man who was defeated, Senator William C. Rives of Virginia and his supporters were angered by their loss. Van Buren personally wrote Rives to explain the need for balance on their ticket and to urge him to join in and support the Democratic party. Van Buren also had to stave off personal attacks including accusations of being an abolitionist. "These charges were unfounded; as in earlier campaigns, Van Buren was too intent on keeping the support of the southern planters to say anything about slavery.

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