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Fighting for the SpeakershipThe House and the Rise of Party Government$
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Jeffery A. Jenkins and Charles Stewart

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691118123

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691118123.001.0001

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Partisan Tumult on the Floor: The Speakership Elections of 1849 and 1855–1856

Partisan Tumult on the Floor: The Speakership Elections of 1849 and 1855–1856

(p.151) Chapter 6 Partisan Tumult on the Floor: The Speakership Elections of 1849 and 1855–1856
Fighting for the Speakership

Jeffery A. Jenkins

Charles Stewart III

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the speakership elections of 1849 and 1855–1856, the most chaotic instances of officer selection in the history of the House of Representatives. It considers how the Second Party System weakened and eventually collapsed as the slavery issue overwhelmed the interregional partisanship that had been in place for two decades. It also discusses the emergence of new political parties, such as the Free-Soil Party, the American Party, and the Republican Party, that created new avenues for coalitional organization. In particular, it looks at the rise of the Republican Party as the primary opposition party to the Democrats. Finally, it describes how the rising popularity of the new parties in congressional elections affected politicians in both the Whig Party and the Democratic Party.

Keywords:   speakership elections, House of Representatives, Second Party System, slavery, partisanship, political parties, Republican Party, congressional elections, Whig Party, Democratic Party

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