Whig Party (United States)
The Whig Party was a political party active in the middle of the 19th century in the United States. Four presidents belonged to the party while in office, it emerged in the 1830s as the leading opponent of Jacksonian democracy, pulling together former members of the National Republican and the Anti-Masonic Party. It had some links to the upscale traditions of the long-defunct Federalist Party. Along with the rival Democratic Party, it was central to the Second Party System from the early 1840s to the mid-1860s, it formed in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson and his Democratic Party. It became a formal party within his second term, receded influence after 1854. In particular terms, the Whigs supported the supremacy of Congress over the presidency and favored a program of modernization and economic protectionism to stimulate manufacturing, it appealed to entrepreneurs, planters and the emerging urban middle class, but had little appeal to farmers or unskilled workers. It included many active Protestants and voiced a moralistic opposition to the Jacksonian Indian removal.
Party founders chose the "Whig" name to echo the American Whigs of the 18th century who fought for independence. The political philosophy of the American Whig Party was not related to the British Whig party. Historian Frank Towers has specified a deep ideological divide: The Whig Party nominated several presidential candidates in 1836. General William Henry Harrison of Ohio was nominated in 1840, former Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky in 1844, General Zachary Taylor of Louisiana in 1848, General Winfield Scott of New Jersey in 1852 and the last nominee, former President Millard Fillmore from New York in 1856. In its two decades of existence, the Whig Party had two of its candidates and Taylor, elected president and both died in office. John Tyler succeeded to the presidency after Harrison's death in 1841, but was expelled from the party that year. Millard Fillmore, who became President after Taylor's death in 1850, was the last Whig President; the party fell apart because of internal tension over the expansion of slavery to the territories.
With deep fissures in the party on this question, the anti-slavery faction prevented the nomination for a full term of its own incumbent President Fillmore in the 1852 presidential election—instead, the party nominated General Scott. Most Whig Party leaders quit politics or changed parties; the Northern voter base gravitated to the new Republican Party. In the South, most joined the Know Nothing Party, which unsuccessfully ran Fillmore in the 1856 presidential election, by which time the Whig Party had become defunct having endorsed Millard Fillmore's candidacy; some former Whigs became Democrats. The Constitutional Union Party experienced significant success from conservative former Whigs in the Upper South during the 1860 presidential election. Whig ideology as a policy orientation persisted for decades, played a major role in shaping the modernizing policies of the state governments during Reconstruction; the name "Whig" repeated the term that Patriots used to refer to themselves during the American Revolution.
It indicated hostility to the king. Despite the identical name it did not directly derive from the British Whig Party; the American Whigs were modernizers who saw President Andrew Jackson as "a dangerous man on horseback"—like a king—with a "reactionary opposition" to the forces of social and moral modernization. The Democratic-Republicans who formed the Whig Party, led by Kentucky Senator Henry Clay, drew on a Jeffersonian tradition of compromise, balance in government and territorial expansion combined with national unity and support for a Federal transportation network and domestic manufacturing. Casting their enemy as "King Andrew", they sought to identify themselves as modern-day opponents of governmental overreaching. Despite the apparent unity of Jefferson's Democratic-Republicans from 1800 to 1824, the American people preferred partisan opposition to popular political agreement; as Jackson purged his opponents, vetoed internal improvements and killed the Second Bank of the United States, alarmed local elites fought back.
In 1831, Henry Clay started planning a new party. He defended national rather than sectional interests. Clay's plan for distributing the proceeds from the sale of lands in the public domain among the states was intended to serve the nation by providing the states with funds for building roads and canals, which would stimulate growth and knit the sections together. However, his Jacksonian opponents distrusted the federal government and opposed all federal aid for internal improvements and they again frustrated Clay's plan. Jacksonians promoted opposition to the National Bank and internal improvements and support of egalitarian democracy, state power and hard money; the Tariff of Abominations of 1828 had outraged Southern feelings—the South's leaders held that the high duties on foreign imports gave an advantage to the North. Clay's own high tariff schedule of 1832 further disturbed them as did his stubborn defense of high duties as necessary to his American System. However, Clay moved to pass the Compromise of 1833, which met Southern complaints by a gradual reduction of the rates on imports to a maximum of twenty percent.
Controlling the Senate for a while, Whigs passed a censure motion denouncing Jackson's arrogant assumption of executive power in the face of the true will of the people as represented by Congress. The Whig Party began to take shape in 1833. Clay had run as a National Republican against J
The Gettysburg Address is a speech that U. S. President Abraham Lincoln delivered during the American Civil War at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863, four and a half months after the Union armies defeated those of the Confederacy at the Battle of Gettysburg, it is one of the best-known speeches in American history. Although not the day's primary speech, Lincoln's crafted address came to be seen as one of the greatest and most influential statements of American national purpose. In just 271 words, beginning with the now iconic phrase "Four score and seven years ago," referring to the signing of the Declaration of Independence eighty-seven years earlier, Lincoln described the USA as a nation "conceived in Liberty, dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal," and represented the Civil War as a test that would decide whether such a nation, the Union sundered by the secession crisis, could endure.
He extolled the sacrifices of those who died at Gettysburg in defense of those principles, exhorted his listeners to resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. Despite the speech's prominent place in the history and popular culture of the United States, its exact wording is disputed; the five known manuscripts of the Gettysburg Address in Lincoln's hand differ in a number of details, differ from contemporary newspaper reprints of the speech. Neither is it clear. Modern scholarship locates the speakers' platform 40 yards away from the traditional site in Soldiers' National Cemetery at the Soldiers' National Monument, which means that it stood within the private, adjacent Evergreen Cemetery. Following the Battle of Gettysburg on July 1–3, 1863, the removal of the fallen Union soldiers from the Gettysburg Battlefield graves and their reburial in graves at the National Cemetery at Gettysburg began on October 17.
In inviting President Lincoln to the ceremonies, David Wills, of the committee for the November 19 Consecration of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, wrote, "It is the desire that, after the Oration, you, as Chief Executive of the nation, formally set apart these grounds to their sacred use by a few appropriate remarks."On the train trip from Washington, D. C. to Gettysburg on November 18, Lincoln was accompanied by three members of his Cabinet, William Seward, John Usher and Montgomery Blair, several foreign officials, his secretary John Nicolay, his assistant secretary, John Hay. During the trip Lincoln remarked to Hay. Hay noted that during the speech Lincoln's face had "a ghastly color" and that he was "sad, mournful haggard." After the speech, when Lincoln boarded the 6:30 pm train for Washington, D. C. he was weak, with a severe headache. A protracted illness followed, it thus seems likely that Lincoln was in the prodromal period of smallpox when he delivered the Gettysburg address. The program organized for that day by Wills and his committee included: Music, by Birgfeld's Band Prayer, by Reverend T. H. Stockton, D.
D. Music, by the Marine Band, directed by Francis Scala Oration, by Hon. Edward Everett Music, Hymn by B. B. French, Esq. music by Wilson G Horner, sung by Baltimore Glee Club Dedicatory Remarks, by the President of the United States Dirge, sung by Choir selected for the occasion Benediction, by Reverend H. L. Baugher, D. D. While it is Lincoln's short speech that has gone down in history as one of the finest examples of English public oratory, it was Everett's two-hour oration, slated to be the "Gettysburg address" that day, his now seldom-read 13,607-word oration began: Standing beneath this serene sky, overlooking these broad fields now reposing from the labors of the waning year, the mighty Alleghenies dimly towering before us, the graves of our brethren beneath our feet, it is with hesitation that I raise my poor voice to break the eloquent silence of God and Nature. But the duty to which you have called me must be performed, and ended two hours with: But they, I am sure, will join us in saying, as we bid farewell to the dust of these martyr-heroes, that wheresoever throughout the civilized world the accounts of this great warfare are read, down to the latest period of recorded time, in the glorious annals of our common country, there will be no brighter page than that which relates the Battles of Gettysburg.
Lengthy dedication addresses like Everett's were common at cemeteries in this era. The tradition began in 1831 when Justice Joseph Story delivered the dedication address at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts; those addresses linked cemeteries to the mission of Union. Lincoln's address followed the oration by Edward Everett, who subsequently included a copy of the Gettysburg Address in his 1864 book about the event (Address of the Hon. Edward Everett At the Consecration of the National Cemetery At Gettysburg, 19th November 1863, with the Dedicatory Speech of President Lincoln, the Other Exercises of the Occasion.
1856 Republican National Convention
The 1856 Republican National Convention known as the first Republican National Convention, met from June 17 to June 19, 1856, at the Musical Fund Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. The gathering nominated John C. Frémont a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army and Senator from California, former Senator William Dayton of New Jersey for President and Vice President. Frémont and Dayton were the new party's standard-bearers in the 1856 presidential election; the convention appointed a Republican National Committee to govern the new organization. The June 1856 Nominating Convention was preceded by an informal organizational convention held February 22–23, 1856 which elected a National Committee who set the dates of the convention and the terms for delegate participation. On June 19, 1855, a small gathering of like-minded individuals met in Washington, D. C. where they passed a resolution noting the recent abrogation of "all compromises, real or imaginary" by the opening of Kansas Territory and Nebraska Territory to the possible institution of slavery.
These proclaimed themselves the "Republican Association of Washington, District of Columbia" and passed a simple four plank platform including the demand that "There should be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except for the punishment of crime, in any of the Territories of the United States." A number of state organizations were soon established along similar lines and the Republican Party was born. On January 17, 1856, representatives of Republican Party organizations in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — all Northern states in which slavery was prohibited — issued a joint call for an "informal Convention" to be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on February 22, 1856, in order to perfect the national organization and to call a formal, properly delegated national convention to nominate candidates for President and Vice-President of the United States for the forthcoming November 1856 election; the gathering elected a governing National Executive Committee and passed various resolutions calling for the repeal of laws enabling slaveholding in free territories and "resistance by Constitutional means of Slavery in any Territory," defense of anti-slavery individuals in Kansas who were coming under physical attack, a call to "resist and overthrow the present National Administration" of Franklin Pierce, "as it is identified with the progress of the Slave power to national supremacy."The 22-member Republican National Committee, which included one representative from each state attending the Pittsburgh Convention, met in plenary session on March 27, 1856, at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC, issued a call for a formal presidential nominating convention.
This was slated to begin on June 1856, in Philadelphia. Each state organization was to be allocated six at-large delegates, plus three delegates for each congressional district; the candidates to be nominated by the new Republican party were first nominated by the anti-slavery rump of the American Party. Others from the North who were opposed to slavery formed their own party after the nomination of Fillmore in Philadelphia; this party called for its national convention to be held in New York, New York, just before the Republican National Convention. Party leaders hoped to nominate a joint ticket with the Republicans to defeat Buchanan; the national convention was held on June 12 to 1856 in New York. As John C. Frémont was the favorite to attain the Republican nomination there was a considerable desire for the North American party to nominate him, but it was feared that in doing so they may injure his chances to become the Republican nominee; the delegates voted on a nominee for president without a result.
Nathaniel P. Banks was nominated for president on the 10th ballot over John C. Frémont and John McLean, with the understanding that he would withdraw from the race and endorse John C. Frémont once he had won the Republican nomination; the delegates, preparing to return home, unanimously nominated Frémont on the 11th ballot shortly after his nomination by the Republican Party in Philadelphia. The chairman of the convention, William F. Johnston, had been nominated to run for vice-president, but withdrew when the North Americans and the Republicans failed to find an acceptable accommodation between him and the Republican nominee, William Dayton; the first Republican National Convention was held in the Musical Fund Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on June 17 to 19, 1856. The convention approved an anti-slavery platform that called for congressional sovereignty in the territories, an end to polygamy in Mormon settlements, federal assistance for a transcontinental railroad. John C. Frémont, John McLean, William Seward, Salmon Chase, Charles Sumner all were considered by those at the convention, but the latter three requested that their names be withdrawn.
McLean's name was withdrawn by his manager Rufus Spalding, but the withdrawal was rescinded at the strong behest of the Pennsylvania delegation led by Thaddeus Stevens. Frémont was nominated for president overwhelmingly on the formal ballot, William L. Dayton was nominated for vice-president over Abraham Lincoln. 1856 Democratic National Convention 1856 Whig National Convention United States presidential election, 1856 History of the United States Republican Party List of Republican National Conventions U. S. presidential nomination convention Gienapp, William E.. Origins of the Republican Party, 1852–1856. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-504100-3. Johnson, Charles W. ed.. Proceedings of the First Three Republican National Conventions of 1856, 1860 and 1864: Including Proceedings of the Antecedent National Convention Held at Pittsburg in February, 1856, as Reported by Hora
James Shields (politician, born 1806)
James Shields was an Irish American Democratic politician and United States Army officer, the only person in U. S. history to serve as a Senator for three different states. Shields represented Illinois from 1849 to 1855, in the 31st, 32nd, 33rd Congresses, Minnesota from 1858 to 1859, in the 35th Congress, Missouri in 1879, in the 45th Congress. Born and educated in Ireland, Shields emigrated to the America in 1826, he was a sailor, spent time in Quebec, before settling in Kaskaskia, where he studied and practiced law. In 1836, he was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives, as State Auditor, his work as auditor was criticized by a young Abraham Lincoln, who published a series of inflammatory pseudonymous letters in a local paper. Shields challenged Lincoln to a duel, the two nearly fought on September 22, 1842, before making peace, becoming friends. In 1845, Shields was appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court, from which he resigned to become Commissioner of the U. S. General Land Office.
At the outbreak of the Mexican–American War, he left the Land Office to take an appointment as brigadier general of volunteers. He was twice wounded. In 1848, Shields was appointed to and confirmed by the Senate as the first governor of the Oregon Territory, which he declined. After serving as Senator from Illinois, he moved to Minnesota and there founded the town of Shieldsville, he was elected as Senator from Minnesota. He served in the American Civil War, at the Battle of Kernstown, his troops inflicted the only tactical defeat of Stonewall Jackson in the war. Shields resigned his commission shortly thereafter. After moving multiple times, Shields settled in Missouri, served again for three months in the Senate, he died in 1879, represents Illinois in the National Statuary Hall. Shields was born in Altmore, County Tyrone, in what is now Northern Ireland, to parents, Charles Shields and Anne McDonnell, the first of three children; as his father died when Shields was six, his uncle named James Shields and born in Ireland, played a large role in his life.
The elder Shields was a professor of Greek and Latin, served as a Congressman from Ohio. The younger Shields obtained early schooling at a hedge school near his home at a school run by a clergyman from Maynooth College, subsequently his uncle, he was educated in military science and the French language by a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars, of which there were many in Ireland at the time. Shields attempted to emigrate to the United States in 1822, but failed when his ship was driven aground off the coast of Scotland, leaving him one of only either three or four survivors, he made it to America around 1826, although his uncle whom he had sailed to meet had died. Shields took a job as a sailor. However, after a time, an accident left Shields disabled, in the hospital with both legs broken for three months. After the accident, he volunteered and fought in the Second Seminole War, reaching the rank of lieutenant, he spent some time in Quebec. Shields settled in Kaskaskia, Randolph County, Illinois where he studied and began practicing law in 1832, supplementing his income by teaching French.
He served as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives, beginning in 1836, in 1839 was elected as State Auditor. As auditor, Shields was involved in correcting the state's finances following the Panic of 1837; this was done, through practices that proved unpopular. Shields fought a duel on September 22, 1842 with Abraham Lincoln a young lawyer in Springfield, Illinois. Lincoln had published an inflammatory letter in a local newspaper, the Sangamo Journal, that attacked Shields, impersonating a local farmer, taking the pseudonym of Aunt Becca, or Rebecca. At the time, there was great controversy over the use of paper money, or that of gold and silver for the paying of public debts; the Illinois State Bank had been forced to close, Shields as state auditor had become the target of resentment among members of the Whig Party, more so given the upcoming 1842 elections. Lincoln's future wife and fiancée, Mary Todd, helped to revise the letter, she and a close friend Julia Jayne, continued writing to the paper without Lincoln's knowledge."Rebecca" as she was, denounced Shields in the paper as a "fool as well as a liar," and scandalously described him at a party among a group of women: If I was deaf and blind I could tell him by the smell...
All the galls about town were there, all the handsome widows, married women, finickin about, trying to look like galls, tied as tight in the middle, puffed out at both ends like bundles of fodder that hadn't been stacked yet, wanted stackin pretty bad... He was paying his money to this one and that one and tother one, sufferin great loss because it wasn' silver instead of State paper... "Dear girls, it is distressing. Too well I know how much you suffer, but do, do remember, it is not my fault that I am so handsome and so interesting." The publications caused "intense excitement" in Springfield, Shields, taking great offense at being publicly ridiculed, demanded satisfaction, as well as the true identity of the author known only to the editor of the paper. Lincoln accepted the challenge. Shields confronted Lincoln, demanded a full retraction, the incident escalated to the two men picking seconds, meeting on an island located between Missouri and Illinois called Bloody Island to participate in a duel.
Lincoln, as the one challenged, chose the
Memorials to Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States from 1861 to 1865, has been memorialized in many town and county names, Along with George Washington, he is an iconic image of American democracy and American nationalism. Barry Schwartz, a sociologist who has examined America's cultural memory, states that in the 1930s and 1940s, the memory of Abraham Lincoln was sacred and provided the nation with "a moral symbol inspiring and guiding American life." During the Great Depression, he says, Lincoln served "as a means for seeing the world's disappointments, for making its sufferings not so much explicable as meaningful." Franklin D. Roosevelt, preparing America for World War II, used the words of the American Civil War-era president to clarify the threat posed by Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan. Americans asked, "What would Lincoln do?" However, he finds that since World War II, Lincoln's symbolic power has lost relevance, this "fading hero is symptomatic of fading confidence in national greatness."
He suggested that multiculturalism have diluted greatness as a concept. While Lincoln remains in the top tier of the historical rankings of presidents of the United States, all of the presidents have slipped in historical prestige in the public's mind. Schwartz said that the reason is what he calls the "acids of equality": as the culture of the United States became more diverse and multicultural, it suffered a "deterioration and coarsening of traditional symbols and practices."Lincoln sites remain popular tourist attractions, but crowds have thinned. In the late 1960s, 650,000 people a year visited the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, slipping to 393,000 in 2000–2003. Visits to Lincoln's New Salem fell by half because of the enormous draw of the new museum in Springfield. Visits to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C. have since declined. However crowds at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D. C. have grown sharply. The oldest continuously-operating association in the United States honoring Lincoln is the Lincoln Association of Jersey City in Jersey City, New Jersey, formed in 1865 shortly after Lincoln's assassination.
The association has held a banquet in Jersey City every year on Lincoln's birthday, February 12. The association has been addressed by a number of people of national importance, including political figures, military veterans and civil rights leaders; the association celebrated its 150th anniversary on February 12, 2015, which included the laying of a wreath at the entrance to Jersey City's Lincoln Park. The association's annual dinner featured speaker Todd Brewster, author of Lincoln's Gamble, about the struggle to create the Emancipation Proclamation; the memorials include the name of the capital of Nebraska. The first public monument to Abraham Lincoln, after his death, was a statue erected in front of the District of Columbia City Hall in 1868, three years after his assassination; the first national memorial to Abraham Lincoln was the historic Lincoln Highway, the first road for the automobile across the United States of America, dedicated in 1913, predating the 1921 dedication of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.
C. by nine years. Lincoln's name and image appear in numerous other places, such as the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C. and Lincoln's sculpture on Mount Rushmore, Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in Hodgenville, Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Lincoln City, Lincoln's New Salem and Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois commemorate the president. The Lincoln Memorial at Louisville Waterfront Park features a double-life-size sculpture of a seated, hatless Lincoln surrounded by narrative bas relief sculptures by Edward Hamilton which depict the history of slavery as witnessed by Lincoln in the slave markets of Kentucky. Ford's Theatre and Petersen House are maintained as museums, as is the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, located in Springfield; the Lincoln Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, contains his remains and those of his wife Mary and three of his four sons, Edward and Thomas. Springfield's airport is named for the Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport.
There was the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln exhibit in Disneyland, the Hall of Presidents exhibit at Walt Disney World, based on Walt Disney admiring Lincoln since he was a little boy. On the night of November 7, 1876, a group of counterfeiters entered Lincoln's tomb with the intent of absconding with his mortal remains and holding them for ransom in order to secure the release of their leader, Benjamin Boyd, an imprisoned engraver of counterfeit currency plates; the group entered his tomb, but had only succeeded in dislodging its marble lid before a US Secret Service agent who had infiltrated their number alerted law enforcement authorities. Although several escaped, most served a one-year prison term. For much of the next decade, Lincoln's tomb was mobile. Stone Mountain Park, Georgia, a Confederate memorial, opened 100 years to the day after Lincoln's assassination. On August 16, 2017, a bust of Abraham Lincoln in a park in West Englewood, Chicago was spray-painted black and covered in tar and set on fire.
Within a year of this death, Lincoln's image began to be disseminated throughout the world on stamps. Pictured on many United States postage stamps, Lincoln is the only U. S. President to appear on a U. S. airmail stamp. Lincoln was one of five people to be depicted on United States paper currency during their lifetime (along with Salmon P. Chase, Francis E. Sp
President of the United States
The president of the United States is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces. In contemporary times, the president is looked upon as one of the world's most powerful political figures as the leader of the only remaining global superpower; the role includes responsibility for the world's most expensive military, which has the second largest nuclear arsenal. The president leads the nation with the largest economy by nominal GDP; the president possesses international hard and soft power. Article II of the Constitution establishes the executive branch of the federal government, it vests the executive power of the United States in the president. The power includes the execution and enforcement of federal law, alongside the responsibility of appointing federal executive, diplomatic and judicial officers, concluding treaties with foreign powers with the advice and consent of the Senate.
The president is further empowered to grant federal pardons and reprieves, to convene and adjourn either or both houses of Congress under extraordinary circumstances. The president directs the foreign and domestic policies of the United States, takes an active role in promoting his policy priorities to members of Congress. In addition, as part of the system of checks and balances, Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution gives the president the power to sign or veto federal legislation; the power of the presidency has grown since its formation, as has the power of the federal government as a whole. Through the Electoral College, registered voters indirectly elect the president and vice president to a four-year term; this is the only federal election in the United States, not decided by popular vote. Nine vice presidents became president by virtue of a president's intra-term resignation. Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 sets three qualifications for holding the presidency: natural-born U. S. citizenship.
The Twenty-second Amendment precludes any person from being elected president to a third term. In all, 44 individuals have served 45 presidencies spanning 57 full four-year terms. Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms, so he is counted twice, as both the 22nd and 24th president. Donald Trump of New York is the current president of the United States, he assumed office on January 20, 2017. In July 1776, during the American Revolutionary War, the Thirteen Colonies, acting jointly through the Second Continental Congress, declared themselves to be 13 independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. Recognizing the necessity of coordinating their efforts against the British, the Continental Congress began the process of drafting a constitution that would bind the states together. There were long debates on a number of issues, including representation and voting, the exact powers to be given the central government. Congress finished work on the Articles of Confederation to establish a perpetual union between the states in November 1777 and sent it to the states for ratification.
Under the Articles, which took effect on March 1, 1781, the Congress of the Confederation was a central political authority without any legislative power. It could make its own resolutions and regulations, but not any laws, could not impose any taxes or enforce local commercial regulations upon its citizens; this institutional design reflected how Americans believed the deposed British system of Crown and Parliament ought to have functioned with respect to the royal dominion: a superintending body for matters that concerned the entire empire. The states were out from under any monarchy and assigned some royal prerogatives to Congress; the members of Congress elected a President of the United States in Congress Assembled to preside over its deliberation as a neutral discussion moderator. Unrelated to and quite dissimilar from the office of President of the United States, it was a ceremonial position without much influence. In 1783, the Treaty of Paris secured independence for each of the former colonies.
With peace at hand, the states each turned toward their own internal affairs. By 1786, Americans found their continental borders besieged and weak and their respective economies in crises as neighboring states agitated trade rivalries with one another, they witnessed their hard currency pouring into foreign markets to pay for imports, their Mediterranean commerce preyed upon by North African pirates, their foreign-financed Revolutionary War debts unpaid and accruing interest. Civil and political unrest loomed. Following the successful resolution of commercial and fishing disputes between Virginia and Maryland at the Mount Vernon Conference in 1785, Virginia called for a trade conference between all the states, set for September 1786 in Annapolis, with an aim toward resolving further-reaching interstate commercial antagonisms; when the convention failed for lack of attendance due to suspicions among most of the other states, Alexander Hamilton led the Annapolis delegates in a call for a convention to offer revisions to the Articles, to be held the next spring in Philadelphia.
Prospects for the next convention appeared bleak until James Madison and Edmund Randolph succeeded in securing George Washington's attendance to Philadelphia as a delegate for Virginia. When the Constitutional Convention convened in May 1787, the 12 state delegations in attendance (Rh
John Alexander McClernand
John Alexander McClernand was an American lawyer and politician, a Union general in the American Civil War. He was a prominent Democratic politician in Illinois and a member of the United States House of Representatives before the war. McClernand was dedicated to the principles of Jacksonian democracy and supported the Compromise of 1850. McClernand was commissioned a brigadier general of volunteers in 1861, his was a classic case of the politician-in-uniform coming into conflict with career Army officers, graduates of the United States Military Academy. He served as a subordinate commander under Ulysses S. Grant in the Western Theater, fighting in the battles of Belmont, Fort Donelson, Shiloh in 1861–62. A close friend and political ally of Abraham Lincoln, McClernand was given permission to recruit a force to conduct an operation against Vicksburg, which would rival the effort of Grant, his department commander. Grant was able to neutralize McClernand's independent effort after it conducted an expedition to win the Battle of Arkansas Post, McClernand became the senior corps commander in Grant's army for the Vicksburg Campaign in 1863.
During the Siege of Vicksburg, Grant relieved McClernand of his command by citing his intemperate and unauthorized communication with the press putting an end to a rivalry that had caused Grant discomfort since the beginning of the war. McClernand served as a judge and a politician in the postbellum era. McClernand was born in Breckinridge County, near Hardinsburg, but his family moved to Shawneetown, when he was quite young, his early life and career were similar to that of another Illinois lawyer of the time, Abraham Lincoln. He was self-educated and was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1832. In that same year he served as a volunteer private in the Blackhawk War. In 1835 McClernand founded the Shawneetown Democrat newspaper, which he edited; as a Democrat he served from 1840 to 1843 in the Illinois House of Representatives. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1843 until 1851, he was known for his adherence to Jacksonian principles. His dislike of abolitionists generated favor among his constituents, many of whom were natives of slaveholding states, as he was.
McClernand vigorously opposed the Wilmot Proviso. He was an important ally to Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas. Douglas played a crucial role in formulating the Compromise of 1850, McClernand served as a liaison for him the House of Representatives during the debate over the proposed compromise. McClernand served as Chairman of the Committee on Public Lands from 1845 to 1847 and on the Committee on Foreign Affairs from 1849 to 1851. In 1850, McClernand declined to be a candidate for renomination, his term expired in 1851. McClernand was again elected to the House to fill a vacancy caused by the death of Thomas L. Harris, his term began on November 8. He was a strong Unionist and introduced the resolution of July 15, 1861, pledging money and men to the national government. In 1860 he was defeated in a bid for the speakership of the House of Representatives. McClernand supported the campaign of Stephen Douglas, in the 1860 presidential election, he served as one of his campaign managers during the divisive Democratic presidential nomination convention held in Charleston, South Carolina in 1860.
In November 1842, McClernand married Sarah Dunlap of Jacksonville, Illinois, a close friend of Mary Todd Lincoln. Sarah was a daughter of James Dunlap, who served as a quartermaster in the Union Army during the Civil War appointed to the rank of brevet major general. John and Sarah's son, Edward John McClernand, was notable as a U. S. Army brigadier general in the Indian Wars and in the Philippines. After Sarah's death, McClernand married Minerva Dunlap. Upon the outbreak of the American Civil War, he raised the "McClernand Brigade" in Illinois, was commissioned brigadier general of volunteers on May 17, 1861, his commission as a general was based not on his brief service in the Blackhawk War, but on Lincoln's desire to retain political connections with the Democrats of Southern Illinois. He resigned his Congressional seat effective October 28, he was second in command under Ulysses S. Grant at the Battle of Belmont in Missouri on November 7, 1861, commanded the 1st Division of Grant's army at Fort Donelson.
On March 21, he was promoted to major general of volunteers for his service at Fort Donelson. At the Battle of Shiloh on April 6–7 he commanded a division of the Army of the Tennessee, which resisted, along with that of William Tecumseh Sherman, the strong Confederate assaults around Shiloh Church. McClernand's service as a major general was tainted by political maneuvering, well resented by his colleagues, he communicated directly with his commander-in-chief, President Lincoln, offering his criticisms of the strategies of other generals, including Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan's in the Eastern Theater and Grant's in the West. In October 1862, McClernand used his political influence with Illinois Governor Richard Yates to obtain a leave of absence to visit Washington, D. C. and President Lincoln, hoping to receive an important independent command. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton agreed to order him north to raise troops for the expedition against Vicksburg. Early in January