Locofocos


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Locofocos

(lō'kōfō`kōz), name given in derision to the members of a faction that split off from the Democratic party in New York in 1835. Tension had been growing between radical Democrats, who believed that Andrew Jackson's war against the national bank should be extended to state banks and other monopolies, and the regular TammanyTammany
or Tammany Hall,
popular name for the Democratic political machine in Manhattan. Origins

After the American Revolution several patriotic societies sprang up to promote various political causes and economic interests.
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 Democrats in New York City. When the Tammany leaders expelled (Sept., 1835) William Leggett, the radical editor of the New York Evening Post, from the party, the radicals decided to act. At a Tammany Hall meeting held on Oct. 29, 1835, to ratify the Tammany nominations, the revolt began. The antibank men voted down the chairman selected by the organization; before the meeting could be reorganized, the gas was turned off and the hall plunged in darkness. The reformers, however, continued their work by the light of candles and of self-igniting "locofoco" matches, from which their nickname derived. In Jan., 1836, this group organized a new party, called the Friends of Equal Rights or the Equal Rights party. They opposed the chartering of state banks and other forms of monopoly as well as exclusive privilege, as antidemocratic and advocated the suspension of paper money and of legal protection for labor unions. By nominating fusion candidates with the Whigs, the Locofocos defeated (Apr., 1836) Tammany men for city office and elected (Nov., 1836) two of their members to the state assembly. However, their intention was not to build a permanent new party, but to convert the regular Democrats to their platform. After Martin Van Buren and his administration adopted a large part of their program, especially its financial policies, Tammany also accepted much of their platform, and by 1838 most of the Locofocos had been reabsorbed into the Democratic party.

Bibliography

See F. Byrdsall, The History of the Loco-Foco or Equal Rights Party (1842, repr. 1967).

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104) Duncombe, like the Locofocos, championed a free banking movement that would level the financial playing field by sanctioning unchartered joint-stock banking associations.
The Owenite free enquirers and the Locofocos shared a common Painite civic republicanism predicated on the separation of church and state that set them at loggerheads with evangelical Whigs.
The economic egalitarianism of a producers' economy was considered by the Locofocos to be essential to the preservation of a "virtuous" republic of independent, self-subsistent farmers; westward economic expansion anticipated, for them, equality of opportunity and not a concentration of wealth in the hands of a "moneyed aristocracy," as appeared to be happening.
Smith were both Cleveland justices elected as Locofocos.
38) Smith's son Archibald was elected to Cleveland City Council in 1836 as part of the same Locofoco city council faction as Hunters' Lodge organizers A.
66) Smith, as we saw earlier, had also been the Working Men's Party candidate for lieutenant governor of New York in 1830 and the Locofoco candidate for governor of New York in 1836.
Given the programmatic similarities of the Canadian rebels and the Locofocos, it is not surprising that the us Patriot movement gained large numbers of adherents.
Locofocos may properly be considered anti-bank in the strict capitalist sense to the extent that they were against all banks of issues.
The radical Democratic successes of the late 1830s put conservative pro-bank Democrats and Whigs evermore on the defensive against the Locofoco critique.
The Jeffersonian, a Locofoco newspaper in Carrollton, Ohio, proposed that if the dictatorship of capital were successful: "It would prove that the banks are stronger than the people; that THE BANKS ARE THE GOVERNMENT, and THE PEOPLE THEIR SLAVES.
Editors of one newspaper in Georgetown, a stone's throw from the Ohio River, ran the address and sounded the Locofoco tocsin: "Freemen, are you still resolved to be FREE?
Hersh, and how many, were dual members of the Patriot and Locofoco movements?