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radical element of the Democratic party in New York state from 1842 to 1848, opposed to the conservative HunkersHunkers,
conservative faction of the Democratic party in New York state in the 1840s, so named because they were supposed to "hanker" or "hunker" after office. In opposition to them stood the radical Democrats, or Barnburners.
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. The name derives from the fabled Dutchman who burned his barn to rid it of rats; by implication, the Barnburners would destroy corporations and public works to do away with the abuses they foster. Among their leaders were C. C. Cambreleng, Silas WrightWright, Silas,
1795–1847, American political leader, b. Amherst, Mass. He was admitted (1819) to the bar and began practicing law at Canton, N.Y. Becoming involved in state politics, in the 1820s he opposed the faction headed by De Witt Clinton and became one of the
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, Azariah C. FlaggFlagg, Azariah Cutting,
1790–1873, American political leader, b. Orwell, Vt. He fought in the War of 1812, was editor of the Plattsburgh (N.Y.) Republican until 1825, and was elected (1823) to the New York state assembly.
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, and Samuel J. TildenTilden, Samuel Jones,
1814–86, American political figure, Democratic presidential candidate in 1876, b. New Lebanon, N.Y. Admitted to the bar in 1841, Tilden was an eminently successful lawyer, with many railroad companies as clients.
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. Opposed to the extension of slavery, the Barnburners seceded from the Democratic state organization when the Hunkers captured the state convention at Syracuse in 1847. Refused recognition at the Democratic national convention of 1848, they nominated Martin Van BurenVan Buren, Martin,
1782–1862, 8th President of the United States (1837–41), b. Kinderhook, Columbia co., N.Y. Early Career

He was reared on his father's farm, was educated at local schools, and after reading law was admitted (1803) to the bar.
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 for President and endorsed the Free-Soil partyFree-Soil party,
in U.S. history, political party that came into existence in 1847–48 chiefly because of rising opposition to the extension of slavery into any of the territories newly acquired from Mexico.
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 candidate, Charles Francis AdamsAdams, Charles Francis,
1807–86, American public official, minister to Great Britain (1861–68), b. Boston; son of John Quincy Adams. After a boyhood spent in various European capitals, he was graduated (1825) from Harvard and studied law under Daniel Webster.
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 (1807–86), for Vice President. Largely because of this Democratic split, the Whig candidate, Zachary Taylor, defeated the regular Democrat, Lewis CassCass, Lewis,
1782–1866, American statesman, b. Exeter, N.H. He established (1802) himself as a lawyer in Zanesville, Ohio, became a member (1806) of the state legislature, and was U.S. marshal for Ohio from 1807 to 1812.
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. After 1848 some Barnburners joined the Free-Soilers, who merged with the new Republican party; others returned to the Democratic party.


See H. D. A. Donovan, The Barnburners (1925).

References in periodicals archive ?
Were this not part of an election-year series, this reviewer would like to have seen more discussion of these later echoes of Free Soil, such as the troubled efforts of the Barnburners to reenter New York Democracy.
Then Freeman issued his barnburner of a statement saying it was all about "a Lobby intent on enforcing the will and interests of a foreign government.
I had experienced many barnburner goose hunts with Greg in Killam but hadn't really had good duck shooting.
7 percent, substantially down from their combined barnburner rate of 5.
Even though I wandered into a genuine barnburner, I have to admit my fan experience was a little unsatisfying.
And when marketing researchers start scrapping with one another, you know you're in for a barnburner, huh?
The disc begins with a real barnburner, "Short Ride in a Fast Machine.
For a collection of Barnburner utterances, see A Collection of the Political Writings of William Leggett (T.
Hightower gave a barnburner before a crowd of 2,000 people.
Although the C-Class coupe hasn't been a barnburner, (American guys on an upward mobility swing don't drive cute little hatchbacks), Mercedes-Benz is considering a modified A-Class sedan for the U.
Despite economic woes, "business for Capel hasn't been bad, but it hasn't been a barnburner either," he said.