Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
(?-1899)
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1881
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New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
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1899
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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NEW YORK

II.368.1

NEW YORK, a state of the American Union. Its territory at first belonged to the Dutch, by right of its discovery in 1609 by Henry Hudson, an Englishman in the Dutch service; but it was part of the vast stretch of territory claimed by the English by right of its discovery by the Cabots in 1497-8, and in 1664 an English expedition took possession of it. With the exception of a reoccupation by the Dutch in 1673-4, it remained an English colony until the revolution.

II.368.2

—BOUNDARIES. 1. Under the Dutch the territory, then called "New Netherlands," had no well defined boundaries. The Dutch claims included the present states of New Jersey and Delaware, in which they were enforced, Pennsylvania, in which they were only asserted, and eastward to the Connecticut river; the latter claim was maintained for a time, but was gradually abandoned. 2. Under the English the name of New Netherlands was changed to New York, it having been granted to the duke of York by Charles II. in 1664. The grant included a large part of the present state of Maine (see MAINE), some of the islands south of it, and all of the territory between the Delaware and Connecticut rivers. Even before the duke took possession of his grant, he had bargained away the present state of New Jersey to other proprietors (see NEW JERSEY), but the boundary between New York and New Jersey was not finally settled until 1834. The boundary between Connecticut and New York was marked out by commissioners in November, 1664, but was not finally agreed upon until 1728. The New York authorities from the beginning enforced jurisdiction over the whole of Long Island, though its towns eastward of a prolongation of the Connecticut boundary line had until 1664 sent delegates to the Connecticut legislature and considered themselves a part of that state. The boundary between New York and Massachusetts was long and warmly disputed, was pretty accurately marked out in 1773, but was not finally agreed upon until 1787, after a territorial suit between the two states had been begun before the congress of the confederation. (See CONFEDERATION, ARTICLES OF, Art. IX.) Delaware was made over by the duke of York to Penn in 1682; and the boundary between Pennsylvania and New York was agreed upon and marked out by Rittenhouse in 1786. (See DELAWARE, PENNSYLVANIA.) The duke of York's grant, as made in 1664 and renewed in 1674, was imperfect in that it assigned no western boundary to the territory granted, being really only a grant of a specified part of "the mainland," but the New York authorities claimed all the territory north to the St. Lawrence and west to the great lakes by virtue of Dutch and English occupation and asserted conquest from the Indians. On the other hand, the charter of Massachusetts made "the South Sea" its western boundary, so that it claimed the right to extend its jurisdiction west to the great lakes, excepting, perhaps, the territory along the Hudson river, which New York had long ago reduced to possession. This controversy was settled in 1787, Massachusetts yielding the jurisdiction of the territory in dispute in return for the per-emption right to a large part of it. Before 1789 the boundaries of New York had been settled as at present (but see VERMONT,).

II.368.3

—CIVIL GOVERNMENT. Under the Dutch, New York was governed successively by Peter Minuit, Walter van Twiller, William Kieft, and Peter Stuyvesant, all sent from Holland by the Dutch West India company. When the duke of York became king as James II., New York became a royal province, and so remained until the revolution, with governors appointed by the crown and a popular assembly. The last of these assemblies adjourned April 3, 1775, and a provincial congress (see REVOLUTION) took its place April 20. This body was compelled to meet at Kingston, as New York city was the headquarters of the British throughout the revolution, July 10, 1776, a popular convention met at White Plains, and finally adjourned, April 20, 1777, at Kingston, having formed the first constitution of the state of New York, which went into force without being submitted to the people. It vested the government in a governor, to be elected by popular vote for three years, a senate and an assembly (see ASSEMBLY), with a limited veto power in a council composed of the governor, the chancellor, and the judges of the supreme court; it gave the right of suffrage to freeholders, and provided "that a fair experiment be made" of voting by ballot; and it vested the right of appointment to, and removal from, state offices in a council composed of the governor and four senators, to be chosen by the assembly. A second constitution was framed by a convention at Albany, Aug. 28-Nov. 10, 1821, and was ratified by popular vote. It reduced the governor's term to two years, abolished the councils of revision and appointment, and made suffrage practically universal, but it disfranchised free negroes, unless seized of a freehold of the value of $250. Instead of four senate districts, one choosing nine, two six, and one three senators, as the constitution of 1777 had provided, there were now to be eight senate districts, each choosing four senators. In 1826 manhood suffrage was formally adopted by amendment, and in 1845 property qualifications for public officers were abolished. A third constitution was adopted by a convention at Albany, June 1-Oct. 9, 1846, and ratified by popular vote. Its principal changes were the abolition of "all feudal tenures of every description" (see ANTI-RENTERS), the division of the state into thirty-two senate districts, each to choose one senator, the election of judges by popular vote, and a prohibition of special charters for banking corporations. (See Loco-Foco). In 1869 the constitution of the state judiciary was considerably modified, the rest of a new constitution formed in 1867 being rejected. In 1874 a number of amendments were ratified by popular vote, intended mainly, 1, to prevent bribery and corruption at elections; 2, to prevent the legislature from passing special laws in a number of specified cases; and 3, to prevent the giving of money or loaning of credit by municipal corporations for anything except for their legitimate expenses; the governor's term was also lengthened to three years.

II.368.4

—GOVERNORS (since 1776). George Clinton, 1777-94, John Jay, 1795-1801, George Clinton, 1801-4; Morgan Lewis, 1804-7; Daniel D. Tompkins, 1807-17; De Witt Clinton, 1817-23; Joseph C. Yates, 1823-5; De Witt Clinton, 1825-9; Martin Van Buren, 1829-31; Enos T. Throop, 1831-3; Wm. L. Marcy, 1833-9; Wm. H. Seward, 1839-43, Wm. C. Bouck, 1843-5, Silas Wright,1845-7; John Young, 1847-9; Hamilton Fish, 1849-51; Washington Hunt, 1851-3; Horatio Seymour, 1853-5; Myron H. Clark, 1855-7; John A. King, 1857-9; Edwin D. Morgan, 1859-63; Horatio Seymour, 1863-5; Reuben E. Fenton, 1865-9; John T. Hoffmau, 1869-73; John A. Dix. 1873-5; Samuel J. Tilden, 1875-7; Lucius Robinson, 1877-80; Alonzo B. Cornell, 1880-83; Grover Cleveland, 1883-6.

II.368.5

—POLITICAL HISTORY. It is very difficult to abridge the political history of New York, owing mainly to the extent of the state and the diversity of the interests and feelings of its various parts. New York has always been a political world in itself. Within it every American political party of any importance has first come to notice, with the possible exceptions of the federal and democratic parties, and even of these the former owed its conception to Alexander Hamilton, of New York, and the latter first attained national position by its success in New York in 1800. The anti-masons, the whig, liberty, free-soil, American (knownothing) and republican parties, all first found their local habitation or name in New York, (See the parties named.) And yet the state has shown no great constancy to any of them; its majority has been very shifting and uncertain, and has been considered the decisive, or "pivotal," factor in every presidential election, since 1793, which has been in anywise doubtful.

II.368.6

—In a state of less comparative magnitude this uncertainty would have led to the political elevation of very many of its citizens, through the desire of the parties to conciliate the state; but every New York leader, of any party, has had to contend against factions in his own state, as well as against the compact influence of other states or combinations of states. New York has therefore furnished but one president by election to the United States, though two of its citizens have succeeded to the presidency by the death of the elected president; but each new president, on entering office, has had to deal with a New York leader of his own party, too weak to secure the presidency and yet powerful enough to maintain a quasi-independence. Three presidents, Jackson, Pierce and Lincoln, were able to solve the difficulty by placing the New York leader (Van Buren, Marcy and Seward respectively) at the head of the cabinet; in other cases, as those of Adams and Hamilton, Jefferson and Burr, Madison and George Clinton, Monroe and De Witt Clinton, Polk and Silas Wright, Fillmore and Seward, Grant and Fenton, Hayes and Conkling, and Garfield and Conkling, the efforts of the administration to create or support a faction of its own in New York have endangered or completely destroyed its party's supremacy in the state. The giving of due weight to this one difficulty, common to nearly all administrations, will go far to explain the successive political revolutions in the state.

II.368.7

—I. :1777-1807. The limitation of the right of suffrage to freeholders, during New York's early years of existence as a state, and the hereditary transmission of vast estates, on which many of the freeholders were tenants, gave early rise to three great clans, or families, the Livingstons, the Schuylers and the Clintons, whose struggles for supremacy make up most of the political history of the state until about 1801. The Livingstons were the ablest representatives of the mass of New York landed families, the Van Rensselaers, Van Cortlands, Morrises, Coldens, and others; the Schuylers, of the same class, though not generally so able as the Livingstons, had risen to prominence to virtue of the revolutionary services of their head, Gen. Philip Schuyler, and, above all, of the commanding genius of his son-in-law, Alexander Hamilton; and the Clintons, few in number and far poorer than their rivals, were strong in the confidence of the independent freeholders, who were not attached by interest or marriage to any of the great families. The Clintons seem to have been the most unselfish; but, with all three, political contests were intensely personal, and all interests were more or less subsidiary to those of the family. The most prominent to those who were Livingstons by birth or marriage were Chancellor Robert R. Livingston, the head of the family, Brockholst Livingston, Edward Livingston, Maturin Livingston, Smith Thompson, Morgan Lewis, and Gen. John Armstrong; the Schuylers had only Philip Schuyler and Hamilton; and the Clintons were really but three in number, George, the governor, James, his brother, and De Witt, his nephew, though Chief Justice Robert Yates and John Lansing were their firm supporters.

II.368.8

—From the first the Clintons were anti-federalist, and opposed the adoption of the constitution (see ANTI-FEDERAL PARTY; CONSTITUTION, II.); the Livingstons and Schuylers were as warmly federalist. Hammond asserts that the federal patronage was used against Gov. George Clinton in his own state as soon as the federal government was fairly organized; nevertheless Clinton held his own until 1795, when he retired temporarily from politics, and Yates was defeated by Jay, a federalist, for the governorship. Jay had really defeated Clinton three years before, and was counted out by the improper rejection of the vote of three counties by the canvassers; but he urged his friends not to "suspend or interrupt that natural good humor which harmonizes society," and the result in 1795 justified the political wisdom of his refusal to contest by forcible means the decision of the canvassers. His election and the retirement of Gov. Clinton, whose nephew De Witt was not yet old enough to take his place, demoralized the New York republicans (see DEMOCRATIC PARTY), and gave the control of the state to the federalists for the next six years. In 1797, therefore, the electors, chosen by the legislature, were federalists, and voted for Adams and Pinckney. There must have been some untoward result, however, in the election of 1793, for, immediately after it, the whole Livingston interest abandoned the federalists, and joined the republicans; Edward Livingston became a republican congressman from New York city in 1795, and the chancellor was the republican candidate for governor in 1798. But, in the meantime, a new republican interest had been forming, apart from, and opposed to, all the landed families. Burr had begun political life as a moderate federalist, had then held aloof from both parties, but was now an ardent republican. He had considerable support throughout the state, from the class which had formerly supported the Clintons; but his stronghold was in New York city, where he first introduced "the machine" into politics. (See BURR, AARON.) Before the end of the year 1799 he had compelled his recognition as one of the republican leaders, and in 1800 his shrewd management in the composition of the republican electoral ticket aided largely in influencing the election. He induced the Clintons to accept a part of the places on his ticket on the apparently impossible condition that the Livingstons would do the same; he repeated this process with the Livingstons; and the whole ticket, when completed by the addition of neutral names, was strong enough to carry the state in the election of April, 1800, for the legislature which was to choose the electors. Burr's apparent control of his state gained for him the nomination, as a fellow candidate with Jefferson, by republican congressional caucus, and he was elected vice-president in 1801. (See CAUCUS,CONGRESSIONAL; DISPUTED ELECTIONS, I.)

II.368.9

—Burr's leadership was only apparent. The year 1801 had been marked also by the re-election of George Clinton as governor, and the entrance of his nephew, De Witt Clinton, upon a share of the management of the party. The latter, in conjunction with his brother-in-law, Ambrouse Spencer, at once reinvigorated the Clinton interest. Charges of treachery were freely brought against the "Burrites"; the administration, in its inevitable conflict with Burr, bestowed its patronage exclusively upon the Clintons and Livingstons; and the Burrites after a final and desperate effort to elect their leader governor in 1804 by aid of the federalists, went down. This result came mainly through the unscrupulous and even savage introduction in 1801, by the Clintons and Livingstons, of the idea that "the spoils belong to the victors," which thereafter corrupted New York politics, and since 1829 has corrupted national politics also. (See CIVIL SERVICE REFORM; DEMOCRATIC PARTY, IV.) Hammond cites two instances under Jay's administration, Dec. 28, 1798, and March 9, 1799, as the first two instances of removal without cause by the New York council of appointment. But these two cases, even if incapable of explanation, are glaring exceptions to the otherwise invariable rule of New York politics until 1801, under both republican and federalist administration; while, after 1801, it would be almost equally difficult to find an instance of removal for any cause except party necessity or advantage. In this manner federalists and Burrites were politically outlawed, and the Clintons and Livingstons secured control of the state. It seems difficult, upon all the evidence, to resist the conviction that the origin of the "spoils system" in American politics was really due to the rising ambition of De Witt Clinton, tempted by the opportunity afforded by an irresponsible council of appointment, to which the New York constitution had given absolute power of removal. Under Jay, a republican council, Clinton being one, had claimed a concurrent power to appoint and remove, not being content with a simple power to decide upon the governor's nominations; and a state convention, Oct.13-27, 1801, declared this view of the council's powers to be correct. From this time the power of removal by the council of appointment, extending to almost all the local offices of the state, even to that of the mayor of New York, became for twenty years the controlling element of New York politics.

II.368.10

—The savage character which this new departure at once gave to political contests was marked by an epidemic of dueling, in which, it was alleged, the Burrites concertedly endeavored to kill their most formidable opponents or drive them out of politics by force of bodily fear. The most vindictive of these duels was that between De Witt Clinton and John Swartwout, a close friend of Burr, in which Swartwout insisted vainly upon having a sixth shot after being twice severely wounded; the most calamitous was that between Hamilton and Burr, in which the former was killed.

II.368.11

—Dissension soon arose between the Clintons and the Livingstons. The latter, in spite of their extensive influence, were no match for the united abilities of De Witt Clinton and Spencer; George Clinton became vice-president in 1805 in Burr's place; and though Morgan Lewis a connection of the Livingstons, was chosen governor in 1804, the Livingston interest began to decline. In 1805-6 the Clintons, having gained control of the council of appointment, began an attack upon the Livingstons, or "Lewisites". which was finally successful in 1807 by the election of Governor Tompkins, a Clintonian. De Witt Clinton thus became the arbiter of New York politics for the time; the last of the great landed families had gone down in the race for power; and the first stage of New York's political history may be considered at an end. Though the dominant faction was headed by two members of the Clinton family, there was no longer any general connection by blood or marriage in its composition; it was united by common interests, and may properly be considered the republican party of the state. The federalists had been completely null since 1800 and most of their voters and leaders had seized the various opportunities of joining one or other of the contending republican factions.

II.368.12

—II.:1807-23. The defeated Lewisites and Burrites at once declared in favor of Madison, and against George Clinton, for the presidency in 1808, and they seem to have been recognized as the "administration wing" in the distribution of federal patronage. The coalition was usually known as "Martling men", from the name of their meeting place in New York city("Martling's Long Room"). The Clintonians were generally unfriendly to the administration's "restrictive system." (See EMBARGO), and out of this one point of agreement was developed a tacit alliance with the federalists, which culminated in their joint support of De Witt Clinton for the presidency in 1812. During the first confusion, in 1809, the federalists, by a sudden effort, succeeded in securing the legislature and the council of appointment, and used the power of removal without pity. But their triumph was brief: the next year Tompkins was again elected governor, with a republican legislature and council. Before the presidential election of 1812 the "Martling men" had taken possession of the hall and appurtenances of the almost defunct Tammany society, of New York city, and were commonly known as "bucktails." (See TAMMANY SOCIETY BUCKTAILS.) They claimed to be the only veritable supporters of the administration, and the opponents of Clintonism, personal government, and disguised or open federalism. The Clintonians, however, were strong enough to elect Clinton presidenial electors on joint ballot in 1812. (See FEDERAL PARTY, II.)

II.368.13

—The election for governor in 1813 revealed a long suspected breach in the dominant party. De Witt Clinton found his influence in his party overbalanced by that of Gov. Tompkins, Ambrose Spencer, Martin Van Buren and John W. Taylor; he therefore became an opponent of Tompkins' re-election, and entirely lost control of his party. His own faction, with the aid of the federalists, held control of the offices until 1815, when an anti-Clinton council made a clean sweep of all the federalist and Clintonian officeholders. This defeat put an end to the federal party in New York, and seemed to be equally fatal to Clinton. Tompkins, Van Buren and Spencer were now the leaders of the party, but the two former were so much more influential than Spencer that he, about the year 1816, sought a reconciliation with his former ally, but late political enemy, De Witt Clinton, and brought him back into politics to restore the balance. The new coalition was immediately successful; to succeed Tompkins as governor, Clinton was nominated and elected in 1817, against Peter B. Porter, the candidate of the Tammany men, or "bucktails"; and with his entrance to office he initiated the "canal policy" of the state.

II.368.14

—The connection between the seaboard and the interior had been one of the earliest problems in American politics. (See ANNEXATIONS, I.) Its great difficulty lay in the mountain barrier which extends from northern Alabama to Maine, parallel with the coast; and the most practicable breach in this was that which was made in the state of New York by the Hudson river. From its upper regions a level territory, excellently adapted for a canal, stretched westward to Lake Erie. The idea of such a canal seems to have been suggested by Gouverneur Morris, of New York, first in 1777 and at intervals afterward. April 8, 1811, the New York legislature passed an act appointing Morris, Clinton, R. R. Livingston, Robert Fulton, and others, "commissioners of inland navigation," but the project slept through the war, which soon after followed, until 1815, when Clinton, during his enforced retirement from politics, renewed his advocacy of it with redoubled vigor. Immediately upon his inauguration, supported by a thorough-going canal legislature and council, his public life became entirely devoted to the construction of the Erie canal, or "Clinton's ditch," as his opponents contemptuously called it.

II.368.15

—The anti-Clinton republicans throughout the state now generally accepted the name of bucktails. Though in a popular minority for some years, they were always superior to their opponents in point of ability, for Clinton would not willingly endure a rival near the throne, and dangerously able men among his own supporters rapidly gravitated toward the bucktails. Their leaders were Van Buren, Erastus Root, Samuel Young, Roger Skinner, Peter R. Livingston, Joseph C. Yates, and Ogden Edwards, all noted names in New York politics; Tompkins was already hopelessly lost under a load of debt which he had accumulated in defense of the state during his governorship, and which was really the cause of his death in 1825. The leadership of the Clintonians was strictly confined to Clinton himself and Spencer, who had no aspirations for office. The remnant of the federalists was led by Wm. A. Duer, Peter A. Jay, W. W. Van Ness, and Abraham Van Vechten. Most of them supported Clinton; but a small division, often derisively called "high-minded federalists," from their frequent use of the phrase "high-minded men" in their addresses, supported the bucktails and opposed the Clintonians as a personal party. In 1820 the bucktails at last gained complete control of the legislature, but it is noteworthy that at the same election Clinton was re-elected governor over Tompkins. For this success he was indebted mainly to his canal policy; but his term of office was embittered by the rigorous manner in which the bucktail council exercised the power of removal. This body was abolished by the constitution of the next year, and its last year was acknowledged on all hands to have been the most extraordinarily evil year of its existence. The extent of its power for evil may be estimated from the statement that, in 1820, 8,287 military and 6,663 civil officers throughout the state were absolutely at its mercy. Clinton also complained most bitterly, in his messages to the legislature, of the manner in which the administration at Washington had placed the federal patronage at Van Buren's disposal, and of interferences in state elections by federal officeholders "as an organized and disciplined corps."

II.368.16

—In the election of 1822 the former bucktails at last became the republican party of the state, and the Clintonians were completely overthrown. Clinton himself had discreetly declined to be a candidate for the governorship, and his opponents elected their candidate for governor without opposition, the entire senate, and almost all the assembly. The result was partly due to the Clintonian opposition to the revision of the constitution in 1820-21, but far more to the advance of the democratic idea in the state. The day of personal politics was very nearly over. The growth of the state's population, and the enlargement of the right of suffrage, had made the body of voters so large that it was no longer possible for any one man to exercise direct personal control over a controlling mass of voters. The increase may be shown by comparing the vote at intervals of nearly ten years: (1792) George Clinton 8,440, John Jay 8,332; (1801) George Clinton 24,808, Stephen Van Rensselaer 20,843; (1813) D. D. Tompkins 43,324, Stephen Van Rensselaer 89,718; (1824) De Witt Clinton 103,452, Samuel Young 87,093. The party was now headed by a number of leaders, who were at one in their feelings, interests and methods, and who aimed rather to ascertain than to control the feelings of the people. (See ALBANY REGENCY.)

II.368.17

—III.: 1828-50. The regency began its long and successful career with a mistake. Its members were strongly in favor of Crawford for president in 1824 (see DISPUTED ELECTIONS, II.), as were a great majority of the legislature, which then had the power to choose electors. The party at large seems to have preferred Adams, and many members of the legislature were elected under a pledge to vote for an electoral law to give the choice of electors to the people. The Clintonians, who were also for Adams, were naturally in favor of such a law, and the regency members, after postponing the bill to a date beyond the presidential election, passed a resolution to remove De Witt Clinton from the unsalaried position of canal commissioner, to which he had retired in 1822. The resolution was introduced in order to compel the recalcitrant Adams members either to become identified with the Clintonians or to break with them altogether; the result was to excite a lively indignation throughout the state. Clinton was brought back into politics again, and elected governor in 1824, and again in 1826. In the choice of electors in 1824 the legislature was much divided. The Adams and Clay members at last united on a ticket composed of twenty-six Adams and ten Clay electors. The Adams electors, on the next ballot, were all chosen, but by some legerdemain only four Clay electors were chosen, five of the remaining six being for Crawford and one for Jackson. The change of these five votes from Clay to Crawford excluded the former from the list of three candidates to which the house of representatives was confined in voting for president.

II.368.18

—One of the most singular political manœuvres ever contrived was successfully carried out in the election for United States senator in February, 1825. By law the senate and assembly were to ballot separately for a senator, and, if they chose different persons, the decision was to be made by joint ballot. The Clintonians had a majority in the assembly and on joint ballot; the regency had a majority in the senate. The assembly nominated Ambrose Spencer; the ten Clintonians in the senate voted for him also; but the twenty-two regency senators, by voting each for a different candidate, prevented a choice by the senate and a joint ballot, so that the senatorial election went over to the next year, when a regency senator was chosen.

II.368.19

—The failing health of Crawford during Adams' presidency compelled the regency to look elsewhere for a candidate. As between Adams and Jackson, the former seems to have been the natural preference of the regency, as the latter was of Clinton personally. Until Sept. 26, 1827, the regency preserved a profound and almost ostentatious neutrality between the two most prominent candidates remaining; on that day the first Jackson address was issued from Tammany Hall, and thereafter all the political prospects of the regency were hazarded upon the chances of Jackson's election. Before Clinton had any opportunity to define his position, his sudden death, Feb 11, 1828, left the opposition to the regency almost without a head. Nevertheless the Adams opposition was strong enough to secure sixteen of the state's electors, who were then chosen in congressional districts, though the eighteen Jackson electors, being a majority of the college, chose the two electors at large and made the state's electoral vote twenty to sixteen in favor of Jackson. Van Buren was at the same time chosen governor. Immediately afterward he passed into Jackson's cabinet, and carried with him the methods which had long been familiar in New York politics. Thereafter national democratic politics were to be marked by the use of popular conventions as nominating bodies, by absolute submission to the majority, no matter how small a portion of the party might make the decision, unsparing punishment of individual action in opposition to the majority, and the use of the civil service as an instrument of reward or punishment. The whole programme may be summed up as the unitizing of political action. Majorities were to be absolute in every democratic organization, national, state, county or city; minorities were simply to be ignored, and individuals were morally and politically bound to follow the majority of their organizations, even in opposition to their own party organization of higher rank. (See DEMOCRATIC REPUBLICAN PARTY, IV; ALBANY REGENCY; NATIONAL CONVENTIONS; TAMMANY SOCIETY.) But, though regency methods thus became national, the regency itself remained cautiously, judiciously and strictly a state organization; it refrained carefully from interfering in national politics, except to secure the federal patronage within the state, and, in dangerous or difficult elections, to call back some one of its former members from the federal service to serve as its candidate.

II.368.20

—The Adams, or national republican, party in New York was seriously embarrassed not only by its lack of leaders, but by the sudden rise of an anti-masonic party, pledged to proscribe every freemason of any party. (See ANTI-MASONRY, I.) From motives of expediency the Adams conventions usually endeavored to conciliate the anti-masonic candidates in their nominations; but at the same time the Adams men, who were freemasons, preferred a regency candidate to an anti-masonic candidate, and frequently gave their votes and influence to the former. The result was that, though the two parties, voting separately, generally polled as large a vote as the Jackson men, any attempt at coalition was followed by a defeat. For eight years, therefore, New York was democratic (the "Jackson men" having taken the name of democrats); the governors were regency men; and the legislature was strongly democratic in both branches. In 1837 the democrats were for the first time beaten in a legislative election, the whigs carrying six of the eight senatorial districts, and 101 of the 128 assembly districts; and in the following year Wm. H. Seward, who had been beaten in 1836 by Marcy, was elected governor over Marcy. In all this long struggle the western part of the state, commonly called by the democrats "the infected district," was the staying power of the opposition. It never wavered. Its opposition to the regency had begun under Clinton, was continued (since most of the regency were freemasons) in the form of anti-masonry, but when the anti-masonic fever had died out so far that the anti-masons accepted Clay, a freemason, as one of its leaders, the "infected district" was as cohesive as ever in its opposition; and the territorial location of party strongholds in the state is closely and curiously similar in 1883 to that which existed while Clinton and Spencer were fighting the bucktails in 1818-22.

II.368.21

—Under the reign of the regency every governor and legislature were democratic until 1846, with the exception of this period, 1837-41, when the state became whig through democratic divisions. The charter of a national bank was the question which divided political parties from 1833 until 1843 (see BANK CONTROVERSIES, III., IV.; WHIG PARTY); and in New York this was further complicated with others relating to state banks (see LOCO-FOCO), so that there were there three parties: the whig party, which supported banking interests in general, the regency democratic party, which opposed a national bank but supported the state banks, and the "loco-foco" democratic party, which opposed the grant of special banking privileges to any corporation whatever. Further, the canal question had divided the democrats into hunkers, or conservatives, and barnburners, or radicals; the former desiring the extension of the canal system, and the latter its limitation to immediately profitable canals. The loco-foco division of the party ceased after 1839; the hunker and barnburner division continued even after the adoption of the constitution of 1846, which removed the original cause of division, and the barnburners then became practically the regency party, though Croswell and Marcy, of the regency, inclined toward the hunker faction. These democratic divisions gave the whigs some temporary successes. In 1839 they gained a majority in the senate, which had been steadily democratic for twenty-one years, and in 1840 they secured the electoral vote of the state for Harrison. The democratic division as to banks was then healed, and the legislature in 1841, and the governor in 1842, again became democratic.

II.368.22

—In 1844 the regency labored with more than usual energy to carry the state, its ablest member, Silas Wright, leaving the United States senate to run for the governorship. Polk, soon after his inauguration, began to cultivate a New York faction of his own, in opposition to the regency, and the result was a wider disruption of the democratic party, and the return of the whigs to power. The regency were able to secure the nomination of Wright in their party convention, but were unable to elect him. In 1848 the struggle between the regency and the administration widened into national proportions. (See BARNBURNERS, FREE-SOIL PARTY.) The result of this election was, not so much to overthrow the remnant of the regency as to show that it was already overthrown. Out of sympathy with the national party, stigmatized with the reproach of having introduced abolitionism as a weapon by which to defeat Cass, the regency went down, and its adherents either abandoned it or retired from politics. In 1850 it formed a coalition ticket with its opponents, and in the state convention of 1852 it had but twenty delegates, under John Van Buren, who refused to "walk arm-in-arm to the funeral" by approving all the measures of the democratic national convention of 1848. The reign of the regency was over. Its sceptre had passed to a larger circle of its own party, and a similar knot of leaders in the whig party had learned its method and followed it with success.

II.368.23

—The accession of Fillmore to the presidency in 1850 brought to light a division in the New York whig party also. The Seward whigs leaned toward abolitionism; the Fillmore, or "silver gray," whigs wished to ignore slavery in politics. This division aided the democrats in carrying the state in 1852. But the schism in the victorious party immediately broke out afresh, the former hunker party now taking the name of "hards" or "hard shells," and their younger rivals that of "softs"; the names, however, had principal reference to the slavery question, and many individuals in both factions had changed sides in the confusion. The general election of 1854 was therefore extremely complicated, four tickets being run, a fusion ticket of whigs, a hard, a soft, and a know-nothing ticket. The fusion ticket was successful, and in the following year its supporters had developed into the new republican party. The former Fillmore whigs went either into the republican party, under Seward's leadership, or into the American party, or know-nothings. The democratic party of the state, without leadership, and distracted by divisions which had their origin only in the disappointed ambitions of local leaders, remained in the minority until 1862. In 1855 the know-nothings elected the state officers inferior in rank to the governor, and there was no party majority in the legislature; in other years the state was steadily republican.

II.368.24

—In 1862, during the depression caused by federal disasters, the democrats elected the governor and state officers, but the senate was republican and the assembly a tie. Since that time the vote of the state has been very uncertain and irregular. The legislature has usually been republican, but the state has nevertheless often been carried by the democrats on the total vote. In 1868 the democrats elected the governor and state officers, and secured the electoral vote of the state, but the legislature remained republican in both branches. That there was fraud in the vote seems to be undeniable, for in all previous elections, even in such exciting contests as 1840, 1844, 1860, and 1864, the proportion of voters never exceeded 90 to 92 per cent. of the legal voting population, while in 1868 it reached the incredible proportion of 97.07 per cent. The enormous democratic majority in New York city (112,522 dem., 43,372 rep.), and the control of the count by the Tweed ring, seem to localize the fraud beyond question. In 1870 the democrats again carried the state, electing the governor, state officers, and a majority in both branches of the legislature. In 1872 the state was carried by the republicans, Governor Dix's majority over his opponent being over 50,000.

II.368.25

—By this time the political condition of the state had been very considerably changed. From 1854 until about 1873-4 the democratic party was practically a minority in the state outside of New York city, and the only question was, whether the republican majority in the rest of the state would be large enough to overcome the democratic majority which it was to encounter at the Harlem river. The organization of the republican party throughout the state had long been very complete, under the leadership at first of R. E. Fenton, and, after 1868, of Roscoe Conkling, whose sympathy with the then administration was more pronounced than his predecessor's. The democratic organization, outside of New York city, had long been imperfect; its local managers were discouraged; and there was no recognized state leadership, except in the counsels of Gov. Seymour. About 1873 the leadership was suddenly assumed by Samuel J. Tilden, only known hitherto as a lawyer, the chairman of the democratic state committee, and one of the agents in the overthrow of the Tweed ring. (See TAMMANY SOCIETY.) Abandoning the absolute dependence of former years upon New York city, he pushed the reorganization of the party throughout the state, secured entire control of its machinery, and in 1874 was elected governor by over 50,000 majority over Dix. His term was distinguished by his success in breaking up a canal ring in the western part of the state, and in 1876 he was nominated for the presidency by the democratic national convention. (See TILDEN, S. J.) His retirement from state politics left the organization which he had revived under the control of a circle of his most trusted supporters. The most prominent of these was Lucius Robinson, who was nominated for the governorship in 1879. The organization of both the great parties in the state was now strikingly similar. It may best be described in the words of the "Evening Journal," a republican newspaper of Albany, which, though used with reference to the republican "machine," are just as applicable to its rival. "The choice of delegates [to the state convention] was a 'put-up job.' The plan of operations was carefully and minutely mapped out at head-quarters. Trusty and well-instructed lieutenants were assigned to each district. These had their sergeants in every county, and these their corporals in every town. Success was made the test of fidelity, and rewards were to follow in proportion to the success achieved. No man could be a tide-waiter who did not carry his ward; no man could be a harbor-master who did not carry his county; and no man could be so much as thought of for canal superintendent, or auditor, or state assessor, or bank superintendent, who did not take his district with him to the Utica convention. It was a race for the spoils on the part of the subordinates, and a race for the presidency on the part of the chiefs." The democrats of the state, outside of the city of New York, seem to have been very well satisfied with the workings and results of their "machine"; but in New York city a new Tammany, under a local leader named John Kelly, had arisen from the ashes of the old one. The Kelly organization seems to have become disaffected partly by a general dislike to the predominance of the country democracy, partly by a disinclination to submit to any authority whatever, but most of all by the apprehension that the Tilden "machine" intended to substitute some more popular nominating body or bodies in the city instead of the Tammany oligarchy. It therefore declared war upon the Tilden machine, and, when it was excluded from the state convention, a rival body of delegates admitted, and Robinson nominated, it nominated its leader, Kelly, for the governorship. The republican machine had given great dissatisfaction to its party, and a number of its voters, commonly called "scratchers," or independents, decided to erase from their ballots the names of its candidates for governor and state engineer. In the election the two parties were almost a tie on most of the candidates. Kelly polled 43,047 votes in New York city, 34,519 in the rest of the state, from various elements ill-affected to the Tilden machine, and 77,566 in all; the republican candidate for governor fell 16,737 below the lowest of the unscratched candidates; and the Kelly revolt was thus successful in defeating Robinson, and in giving the republicans a majority of seventy-three out of the 161 members of the legislature. In 1880 the electoral vote of the state was republican. The popular vote shows the character of the party strength and its locality very clearly. What may be called the urban counties, the seats of the great cities of Albany, New York and Brooklyn, or in their immediate neighborhood, all gave heavy democratic majorities; outside of these, only five of the sixty counties gave democratic majorities, and these were all exceedingly small.

II.368.26

—When the new administration of President Garfield was inaugurated in 1881, it was almost immediately called upon to solve the problem which had embarrassed almost every administration since that of Washington—the settlement of a modus vivendi with the chief of the party in New York. The solution could only be found in choosing between an open conflict and a grant of the federal patronage within the state to the state leader. (See CONFIRMATION BY THE SENATE.) The president sought to find a middle course by dividing the patronage between the two factions of New York republicans. Thereupon the two New York senators, one of whom was the recognized leader of the republican "machine" in the state, resigned their positions, apparently under the delusion that, if they should be re-elected by the state legislature, the administration would be utterly unhinged by such a rebuke, and would succumb at once. The contest in the legislature was long, and roused a curiously intense excitement. (See GARFIELD, J. A.) The senators were defeated for re-election. But their close political associate, Vice-President Arthur, became president at Garfield's death; and the division of feeling was thus extended into the state election of 1882, which resulted in the choice of a democratic legislature and governor, the majority of the latter (192,854) being the largest yet recorded in a state election.

II.368.27

—The political situation in New York in 1883 is very singular. There are two great parties in the state. Both are distracted by quarrels in which the mass of voters take little or no interest; neither has now any recognized leader, nor would either submit generally to the guidance of a leader, if one could be found; neither has a trace of principle or policy in state interests, such as divided parties in the state until 1850; and both organizations maintain a precarious existence as offshoots of the national parties, the adherents of the dominant party struggling for federal offices in prœsenti, as their opponents do in prospectu. The only strictly state organization is the much-berated Tammany society of New York city, whose efforts are directed solely to local offices, with such few federal offices as it can secure by barter. The whole political history of the state is the clearest possible record of the inevitable results of the spoils system in politics: its first employment by a few strong-willed men, with some idea of great principles in its application; its extension to a clique of smaller and less passionate leaders, who use it more as a business means; its immediate and brilliant success in winning elections, and in compelling all parties to adopt it; its further debasement as a mere tool in the hands of men who use it without knowledge of, or care for, any other weapon in politics; its certainty to drive men of a higher understanding of politics out of the competition, as bad money drives out good; and its ultimate disintegration of all parties who employ it, as soon as local leaders, through it, learn to regard political contests as without principle, and to employ the spoils system against their own party as well as against their opponents. To the Italian astronomer Jupiter's moons seemed to be hung in the sky as a convincing proof of the truth of the Copernican system; to the political student the last eighty years of New York's history are fully as instructive.

II.368.28

—The names of men who have become prominent in New York politics are of course very numerous. Among them are those of C. A. Arthur, Aaron Burr, De Witt Clinton, George Clinton, Roscoe Conkling, Millard Fillmore, Francis Granger, Horace Greeley, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Rufus King, Wm. L. Marcy, Wm. H. Seward, Horatio Seymour, S. J. Tilden, D. D. Tompkins, Martin Van Buren, Wm. A. Wheeler, Silas Wright (see those names), and the following: John Armstrong, democratic United States senator 1801-4, minister to France 1804-10, and secretary of war 1813-14; Daniel D. Barnard, whig representative in congress 1827-9 and 1839-45, minister to Prussia 1850-53, and the ablest contributor to the "Whig Review" (see WHIG PARTY); Benjamin F. Butler, Van Buren's law partner, and attorney general and secretary of war under Jackson and Van Buren (see ADMINISTRATIONS, XIII.); Churchill C. Cambreleng, democratic representative in congress 1821-39, and minister to Russia 1840-41; Sanford E. Church, democratic justice of the state supreme court; Daniel S. Dickinson, democratic United States senator 1844-51, and republican candidate for governor in 1862; John A. Dix, democratic United States senator 1845-9, secretary of the treasury in 1861, major general of volunteers 1861-5, minister to France 1866-9, and republican governor of the state 1873-5; Wm. M. Evarts, United States secretary of state 1877-81; Reuben E. Fenton, democratic representative in congress 1853-5, republican representative in congress 1857-65, governor 1865-9, and United States senator 1869-75; Hamilton Fish. whig representative 1843-5, governor 1848-50, and secretary of state (republican) 1869-77; John A. Griswold, representative in congress (democratic) 1863-5, (republican) 1865-9, and republican candidate for governor in 1868; Thos. P. Grosvenor, federalist representative 1813-17, and distinguished for eloquence; Washington Hunt, whig representative 1843-9, governor 1850-52, and candidate for governor in 1852; James Kent, chancellor of the state 1814-23; Francis Kernan, democratic representative 1863-5, candidate for governor in 1872, and United States senator 1875-81; Preston King, democratic representative 1843-7, free-soil representative 1849-53, republican United States senator 1857-63, and collector of the port of New York 1865; Edward Livingston, democratic representative 1795-1801 (see also LOUISIANA), secretary of state under Jackson, and minister to France 1833-5; Robert R. Livingston, chancellor of the state 1777-1801, and minister to France 1801-4 (see ANNEXATIONS, I.); Edwin D. Morgan, governor of the state 1859-62, and United States senator in 1863-9; Amasa J. Parker, democratic representative 1837-9, and justice of the state supreme court 1847-55; Peter B. Porter, democratic representative 1809-13 and 1815-16, and secretary of war under J. Q. Adams; Clarkson N. Potter, democratic representative 1869-75 and 1877-9; J. V. L. Pruyn, democratic representative 1863-5 and 1867-9; Lucius Robinson, republican comptroller of the state 1863-5, and democratic candidate for governor in 1879; Erastus Root, democratic representative 1803-5, 1809-11, 1815-17, 1830-33, and in the intervals of these terms of service prominent in state politics as a democrat and (after 1833) a whig; Gerrit Smith, abolitionist representative 1853-4; Ambrose Spencer, chief justice of the state supreme court 1810-23, democratic representative 1829-31, and afterward a whig; John C. Spencer, democratic representative 1817-19, afterward an anti-masonic and whig leader (see ADMINISTRATIONS, XIV.); Nathaniel P. Tallmadge, United States senator (democratic) 1833-44; John W. Taylor, democratic representative 1813-33, and speaker of the house 1820-21; Enos T Throop. democratic representative 1815-16. governor 1829-32, and minister to Naples 1838-42; Wm. M. Tweed, democratic representative 1853-5 (see TAMMANY SOCIETY); Fernando Wood, mayor of New York city 1855-7 and 1861-2, and democratic representative 1841-3, 1863-5, and 1867-81; Stewart L Woodford, republican lieutenant governor 1867-9, republican representative from Ohio. 1873-4, and thereafter United States district attorney for the southern district of New York.

II.368.29

—The popular name for the state is The Empire State, from its size and wealth, or The Excelsior State, from the motto on its coat of arms.

II.368.30

—See 2 Poore's Federal and State Constitutions; O'Callaghan's Documentary History of New York (1600-1800) and History of the New Netherland; Brodhead's History of New York (1609-91); Moulton's History of New York; G. M. Asher's Bibliographical Essay on Dutch books relating to New Netherlands; 2 Dunlap's History of New York, 239 (for boundaries); Hotchkin's History of the Purchase and Settlement of Western New York; Hough's Contention Manual (1846); 18 Democratic Review, 403; E. B. Street's History of the Council of Revision; Pell's Administration of New York (1807-19); Civil List and Forms of Government of New York (to 1800); Eastman's History of New York (to 1825); Hammond's Political History of New York (to 1840); B. F. Butler's Outline Constitutional History of New York (1847); Jenkins' Political History of New York (to 1849-50), Carpenter's History of New York (to 1833); Barber's History of New York (1856); H. Seymour's Topography and History of New York (1856); Randall's History of New York (to 1870); Lamb's History of the City of New York; Report of the House Committee on the New York Election (1869); Chadbourne's History of New York State.

ALEXANDER JOHNSTON.

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