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Barnburners,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.
..... Click the link for more information. . 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
..... Click the link for more information. , 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.
..... Click the link for more information. , 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.
..... Click the link for more information. . 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.
..... Click the link for more information. 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.
..... Click the link for more information. 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.
..... Click the link for more information. (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.
..... Click the link for more information. . 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).
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