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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 ?
The contest turned out to be a barnburner that came down to the last shot, which gave Wcity's team the win.
But our last morning promised to be a barnburner: We had permission to hunt on a field of dreams hosting a motherload of snows, surely numbering 6,000 strong.
Perhaps the most important component of the new party was New York's Barnburner faction, long estranged from the more conservative and spoils-minded Democratic faction, the Hunkers, and smarting from not having been recognized as the official New York delegation at the Democratic convention.
Antislavery "Barnburner" Democrats in New York, and "Conscience Whigs" in Massachusetts and Ohio, equally alienated by President James Polk's pro-Southern expansionism, fought to write the Wilmot Proviso position on slavery containment into their respective party platforms.
In Baker's Dozen she moves with silken cool, and she's locomotion-in-sneakers in Tharp's barnburner, In the Upper Room.
AoWhen you construct a mixed tape, the first song you come out with has to be a barnburner,Ao he said.
The year of her marriage--1905--Elizabeth spoke at the United Daughters of the Confederacy Convention, delivering a barnburner. That summer she headed the department of expression at Winthrop College.
Among their first decisions was renaming the company and process (electrophotography being no barnburner).
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." "There is a special irony in having been accused of improper regard for the opinions of foreign governments and societies by a group so clearly intent on enforcing adherence to the policies of a foreign government--in this case, the government of Israel," he wrote.
I can hear them quacking from the front deck." I had experienced many barnburner goose hunts with Greg in Killam but hadn't really had good duck shooting.
The veteran CBS newsman and anchor of "Face the Nation" called former President Bill Clinton's speech a "barnburner." "You know, you can love Bill Clinton; you can hate Bill Clinton," Schieffer said.
The goods-producing industries grew at 1.7 percent, substantially down from their combined barnburner rate of 5.4 percent in fiscal 2006.