Tag: Republicans

John Sherman’s Struggle to Preserve Democracy: How 1860 Connects to 2020

John Sherman’s Struggle to Preserve Democracy: How 1860 Connects to 2020

This is not the first time in American history when democratic governance appeared to be under assault. In the years before the Civil War, just as today, minority rule was the norm. White Southerners dominated the Democratic Party, and the Democratic Party dominated the federal government. In this way, what ...
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How to Build a Winning Coalition: What Today’s Democrats Can Learn from Pennsylvania’s Republicans in 1860

How to Build a Winning Coalition: What Today’s Democrats Can Learn from Pennsylvania’s Republicans in 1860

American politics during the late antebellum era was divisive and deeply polarized, just like the present. A few key battleground states, most prominently Pennsylvania, decided the outcome of national elections. To win the Keystone State in 1860, Republican Party managers employed keen coalition-building skills. They adapted readily to changing circumstances ...
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Author Interview: Jack Furniss

Author Interview: Jack Furniss

Today we are sitting down with Jack Furniss, author of “Devolved Democracy: Federalism and the Party Politics of the Late Antebellum North,” which appeared in our December 2019 special issue. After graduating from the University of Virginia in 2018, he served as a Visiting Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Rothermere ...
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The Electoral Politics of “Migrant Caravans”

The Electoral Politics of “Migrant Caravans”

Images of the “migrant caravans” heading north from Honduras, through Guatemala and Mexico and toward the United States, are now familiar to us all. There have been other “migrant caravans” from Central America in the past, but none have registered in American media and politics quite like the one that ...
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Political cartoon illustrating a woman being taken into custody

States’ Rights and Antislavery Activism

Michael E. Woods, associate professor of history at Marshall University, has joined our team of Muster correspondents. He is the author of two books and several articles about politics in the antebellum period. Here he offers his first Field Dispatch. Let us know what you think in the comments! The ...
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Editor’s Note: June 2017 Issue

The essays in this issue seek to reopen debates on topics central to our understanding of Civil War causes and the administration of the war, namely, tariffs, states’ rights, and Confederate draft exemption. Another essay revisits an important freedom suit that stood ominously in the background as the Dred Scott ...
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The GOP’s Civil War Over Trade Is Nothing New

The GOP’s Civil War Over Trade Is Nothing New

According to the Financial Times, the Trump White House is fighting a civil war over trade.[1] Trump’s ultra-nationalist “America First” program does not sit well with Republican free traders. Why? Because the program contains a variety of protectionist weapons, including retaliatory tariffs against the country’s largest trading partners, dismantling NAFTA, ...
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Whither the Whigs? Donald Trump, the Know-Nothings, and the Politics of the 1850s

The historical curiosity of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Republican nomination has resulted in, among other things, a seeming endless litany of historical comparisons. As modern pundits, politicos, and historians have attempted to explain the success of Trump’s campaign, they have compared his candidacy to any number of historical precedents, ...
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