David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Politics, Philosophy and Economics 2 (1):5-36 (2003)
In his book on Liberalism against Populism , William Riker argued that Lincoln's success in the 1860 election was the culmination of a long progression of strategic attempts by the Whig coalition of commercial interests to defeat the `Jeffersonian-Jacksonian' Democratic coalition of agrarian populism. Riker adduced Lincoln's success to his `heresthetic' maneuver to force his competitor, Douglas, in the 1858 Illinois Senate race, to appear anti-slavery, thus splitting the Democratic Party in 1860. Riker also suggested that electoral preferences in 1860 exhibited an underlying `chaotic' preference cycle. However, these accounts do not explain why the slavery question became paramount in 1858-60. I suggest here that US politics, from 1800 to 1858, can be interpreted in terms of a single land-capital axis that sustained the pre-eminence of an agrarian coalition, first created by Jefferson, of both slave interests and free labor. Lincoln's strategy in 1858-60 was to persuade free labor in the northern and western states that they were threatened by the consequences of the Dred Scott decision by the Supreme Court in 1857. Lincoln argued that although the decision applied to the territories, it was indicative of the intention of the South to extend slavery to the free states. Lincoln's speeches in 1858-60 made this threat credible to the North, and initiated a belief cascade among the electorate. For southern voters, the North consequently appeared to be a `tyrannical' majority, whose creation violated the constitutional logic of Union, and legitimated secession. I argue that this second `civil rights dimension, created in the election of 1860, is necessary for understanding critical elections that have occurred at irregular intervals in US political history. Key Words: constitutional transformation belief cascade contingency.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Leonard Newman (1944). Opposition to Lincoln in the Elections of 1864. Science and Society 8 (4):305 - 327.
Timothy J. White (2010). Change and Continuity in Irish Politics: The General Election of 2007. The European Legacy 15 (3):341-352.
Arash Abizadeh (2005). Democratic Elections Without Campaigns? Normative Foundations of National Baha'i Elections. World Order 37 (1):7-49.
Paul R. Abramson, Abraham Diskin & Dan S. Felsenthal, Nonvoting and the Decisiveness of Electoral Outcomes.
Grant Havers (2010). Lincoln, Macbeth , and the Illusions of Tyranny. The European Legacy 15 (2):137-147.
Jyotirmaya Tripathy, Sura Prasad Rath & William D. Pederson (eds.) (2010). Abraham Lincoln Without Borders: Lincoln's Legacy Outside the United States. Pencraft International.
Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads1 ( #459,665 of 1,102,037 )
Recent downloads (6 months)0
How can I increase my downloads?