19 th Century Political Parties: A Resource for the President; A Constraint on The President
Free Write What should the relationship between the president and his political party be? Should he lead the party, and decide what it stands for? Or should it control him? Why? What does your answer imply about his relationship to the other party? Do you think the president should be “above” partisan politics? You will turn this free-write in for participation credit.
How do the electors decide who the candidates are for the presidency?
How do the electors decide who the candidates are for the presidency? Answer: Party nominations
First Two Methods of Nominating Presidential Candidates “King Caucus”: 1800-1828 Convention System: 1832-1912
Washington’s Farewell Address The common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it. It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
The first parties Adams: The FederalistsJefferson: The Democratic-Republicans
King Caucus 1800-1828 Members of Congress met to nominate presidential candidates from their party Who is advantaged in this system? Problems with this system?
Criticism of the Caucus System “If anything will arouse the freemen of America it must be the arrogance of a number of members of Congress to assemble as an electioneering caucus to control the citizens in their own rights…Is there any paragraph in the Constitution which gives them such an authority or even countenances such a proceeding? After Congress have accomplished their legislative business have they a right to dictate in the choice of an executive?” -Benjamin Austin, Massachusetts Republican, 1803
Jackson, Van Buren and the Party Convention System 1832-1912
Van Buren on a new Party Convention “It is the best and probably the only practicable mode of concentrating the entire vote of the opposition [to Adams] and of effecting what is of still greater importance, the substantial reorganization of the old Republican party…It would greatly improve the condition of the Republicans of the North and Middle states by substituting party principle for personal preference as one of the leading points of the contest.” — Van Buren in letter to the editor of the Richmond Enquirer, Jan., 1827
Elements of Convention system Conventions nominate candidates Candidates subservient to party Mass participation in parties
Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections, 19 th Century
Elements of Convention system Conventions nominate candidates Candidates subservient to parties Mass participation in parties Patronage
How is the convention system a resource for or a constraint on presidents? Which is stronger, the president, or the party?