The Democratic Party and the Sectional Crisis
This book is a great complement to the previous book Slave Power. That book describes the start of the process, while this book details the final decade as the Democratic Party failed to meet the challenge of how to reconcile the power of the slaveholding bloc in national politics with the increasing reluctance of the northern voter to accept the situation.
The poster child of the 1850s rift is the “doughface”, a term that originated in a diatribe of a southerner over how easy it was to manipulate northern politicians. When it begins to be a term used by your own voters, you have an image problem.
The book is a short, but detailed look at the inner workings of the 1850s Democratic Party, by then the one national based party. As the dominant force, it had the fate of the nation in its hand, and the result was continual sectional crisis, division, a virtual civil war in Kansas, and eventually the breakup of its own party and true national warfare.
The inner workings of the Democratic Party were the essential forces causing the problem, not outside agitation or other forces. This book exposes that in a short and clear way. No party ever had such a dominating position in history, and yet within a decade it had all crumbed to dust.
I’ll be reading this one again, like I do America in 1857.by Kenneth Stamp.as views into political collapse.