1852 Democratic National Convention

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1852 Democratic National Convention
1852 presidential election
George Peter Alexander Healy - Franklin Pierce - Google Art Project.jpg William Rufus DeVane King 1839 portrait.jpg
Nominees
Pierce and King
Convention
Date(s)June 1–5, 1852
City Baltimore, Maryland
Venue Maryland Institute for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts
Candidates
Presidential nominee Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire
Vice presidential nominee William R. King of Alabama
  1848   ·  1856  

The 1852 Democratic National Convention was a presidential nominating convention that met from June 1 to June 5 in Baltimore, Maryland. It was held to nominate the Democratic Party's candidates for president and vice president in the 1852 election. The convention selected former Senator Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire for president and Senator William R. King of Alabama for vice president.

Contents

Four major candidates vied for the presidential 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. Cass led on the first nineteen ballots of the convention, but was unable to win the necessary two-thirds majority. Buchanan pulled ahead on the twentieth ballot, but he too was unable to win a two-thirds majority. Pierce won votes for the first time on the 35th ballot, and was nominated almost unanimously on the 49th ballot.

King was nominated on the second vice presidential ballot, defeating Senator Solomon W. Downs and several other candidates. The Democratic ticket went on to win the 1852 election, defeating the Whig ticket of Winfield Scott and William Alexander Graham.

Convention proceedings

The convention took place at the Maryland Institute for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts and was called to order by Democratic National Committee chairman Benjamin F. Hallett. [1] Romulus M. Saunders served as the temporary convention chairman and John W. Davis served as the permanent convention president. [2] Delegates at the convention approved a platform that largely mimicked the one adopted in 1848. Two notable additions were the denouncement of a national bank and an endorsement of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. [3]

Presidential nomination

Dark Horse candidates

Major Presidential candidates

Minor Presidential candidates

Declined

Balloting

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.

With a two-thirds majority required to win, 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. [4] 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. [5]

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." [6]

Presidential Ballot
1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th9th10th11th12th13th14th15th16th17th18th19th20th21st22nd23rd24th25th
Cass 1161181191151141141131131121111019898999999999689816043373334
Buchanan 9395948989888888878687888887878787858592102104103103101
Marcy 27272625262626262727272726262626262526262626262626
Douglas 20232131343234343940505251515151505663646477788079
Butler 211111111111111111111315202324
Dickinson 1100111111111111111111111
Lane 13131313131313131314131313131313131313131313131313
Houston 867788998889101010109119109910910
Weller 4000000000000000000000000
Dodge 3333303300000000000000000
Blank99121271388888788881089888888
Presidential Ballot
26th27th28th29th30th31st32nd33rd34th35th36th37th38th39th40th41st42nd43rd44th45th46th47th48th49th
Pierce 0000000001530292929292929292929444955283
Cass 33322827336598123130131122120107106107107101101101967875722
Buchanan 101989693918374724939282828282727272727272828280
Marcy 26262626262626253344587084858585919191979895890
Douglas 80858891929280605352433433333333333333323233332
Butler 242425252017111111111111111111
Dickinson 1111111116111111111111110
Lane 13131313130000000000000000000
Houston 1091112129865555555555555561
Boyd 000000000000000000000120
King 000000000000000000001000
Ingersoll 000000000000000000000010
Blank888883889888888888888887

Source: [7]


Vice Presidential nomination

Vice Presidential candidates

Declined

Democratic Pierce/King campaign poster 1852DemocraticPoster.png
Democratic Pierce/King campaign poster

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 [3]
Ballot1st2nd
William R. King 126277
Solomon W. Downs 300
John B. Weller 280
William O. Butler 270
David R. Atchison 250
Gideon J. Pillow 250
Robert Strange 230
Thomas J. Rusk 120
Jefferson Davis 211
Howell Cobb 20
Abstaining214

See also

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References

  1. Johnson, Charles W. (1852). Proceedings of the Democratic National Convention Held at Baltimore, June 1-5, 1852. Washington, DC: Robert Armstrong. p. 3 via HathiTrust.
  2. Proceedings, pp. 3, 7.
  3. 1 2 Havel, James T. (1996). U.S. Presidential Elections and the Candidates: A Biographical and Historical Guide. Vol. 2: The Elections, 1789–1992. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 26. ISBN   0-02-864623-1.
  4. Stiles, Henry Reed (1883). Memoir of Hon. Henry C. Murphy, LL.D., of Brooklyn, N.Y. The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Volumes 13-14. p. 14.
  5. William DeGregorio, The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents, Gramercy 1997
  6. Stanwood, Edward (1898). A History of the Presidency: From 1788 to 1897. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 248.
  7. Proceedings, pp. 28–50.
Preceded by
1848
Baltimore, Maryland
Democratic National Conventions Succeeded by
1856
Cincinnati, Ohio