Encyclopedia Virginia: Political Parties http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/img/EV_Logo_sm.gif Encyclopedia Virginia This is the url http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org The first and ultimate online reference work about the Commonwealth /U_S_Presidential_Election_of_1800 Thu, 17 Oct 2019 14:46:48 EST U.S. Presidential Election of 1800 http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/U_S_Presidential_Election_of_1800 The U.S. presidential election of 1800, in which Thomas Jefferson was elected the nation's third president, resulted in the first peaceful transfer of power from one political party to another in United States history. Political parties formed after the U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1788, with Federalists, led by Alexander Hamilton, favoring a strong federal government and banking system, and Democratic-Republicans, led by Jefferson and James Madison, preferring the balance of power to remain in the states. These disputes came to a head when a Federalist Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798, which, among other things, criminalized criticism of Congress and the president. The legislatures of Kentucky and Virginia passed resolutions threatening the nonenforcement of what they perceived as unconstitutional laws, but that move was broadly unpopular. By 1800, political rhetoric had become particularly vicious, with the parties accusing one another of all manner of religious and civil abominations. In the end, the Democratic-Republicans prevailed in the Electoral College, but their intended candidates for president and vice president, Jefferson and Aaron Burr, tied with 73 votes each. After six days of contentious debate, the lame duck U.S. House of Representatives, controlled by Federalists, voted for Jefferson. The election, which Jefferson called the "revolution of 1800," paved the way for a more accessible, even populist style of government in the future.
Thu, 17 Oct 2019 14:46:48 EST]]>
/Byrd_Organization Mon, 27 Nov 2017 14:24:01 EST <![CDATA[Byrd Organization]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Byrd_Organization The Byrd Organization was a state political machine headed by Harry F. Byrd (1887–1966), a Democratic state senator, governor, and United States senator who, for more than forty years, used his power and influence to dominate the political life of Virginia. Inheriting an already tight party organization that for decades had emphasized small government and a limited franchise, Byrd prioritized fiscal conservatism—a policy he pithily dubbed "pay as you go"—and, on those grounds, opposed many of fellow Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal programs. Byrd and his organization are perhaps best known, however, for their fierce opposition to a 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that mandated the desegregation of public schools. The resulting Massive Resistance movement led to the shutdown of schools in Charlottesville, Front Royal, and Norfolk before the federal and state courts overturned state antidesegregation policies. It also effectively ended the organization's decades-long hold on power in the state.
Mon, 27 Nov 2017 14:24:01 EST]]>
/Godwin_Mills_E_1914-1999 Mon, 19 Dec 2016 09:29:16 EST <![CDATA[Godwin, Mills E. (1914–1999)]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Godwin_Mills_E_1914-1999 Mills E. Godwin was the only governor of Virginia elected by the voters to two terms, serving as a Democrat from 1966 to 1970 and as a Republican from 1974 to 1978. After playing a major legislative role in Virginia's resistance to desegregation of the public schools in the 1950s, Godwin adopted more moderate positions as lieutenant governor from 1962 to 1966 and as candidate for governor in 1965. During his first term he was responsible for enactment of a sales tax and approval of the first significant statewide bond issue in the twentieth century. Godwin devoted the additional revenue to public education, mental health, and highways. The creation of the Virginia Community College System was one of Godwin's major accomplishments. He also appointed a commission to revise the Constitution of 1902. Constitutionally ineligible to succeed himself, Godwin left office in 1970. Disillusioned by the growing influence of liberals in the Virginia Democratic Party, Godwin sought the governorship again as a Republican in 1973. He narrowly defeated Lieutenant Governor Henry E. Howell. Godwin's second term coincided with an economic recession, energy shortages, and an environmental catastrophe. In a time of retrenchment his major initiatives were improvements to state prisons and a second bond issue approved in 1977.
Mon, 19 Dec 2016 09:29:16 EST]]>
/Republican_Party_of_Virginia Wed, 31 Aug 2016 17:53:47 EST <![CDATA[Republican Party of Virginia]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Republican_Party_of_Virginia The Republican Party is one of two major political parties in Virginia. Although founded in 1854 in opposition to the spread of slavery, the party did not take hold in Virginia until after the American Civil War (1861–1865). Even then, for nearly a century the Republicans were an ineffectual, minority party with only pockets of regional strength. During this period, the conservative Democratic Party dominated politics in Virginia and the rest of the South. After World War II (1939–1945), economic growth, demographic trends, electoral reforms, and policy debates combined to spur a realignment that gradually brought the Virginia parties into line philosophically with their national counterparts. As the center-right party in a conservative-leaning state, the Virginia Republican Party became consistently competitive. Following the mid-1970s, Virginia politics settled into a pattern characterized by active competition between the two major party organizations and their candidates. Partisan fortunes ebbed and flowed, but neither party established durable majority support on a statewide basis. In the twenty-first century Republican candidates in Virginia routinely compete with their Democratic rivals for the support of nonaligned voters (generally called "independents") in addition to mobilizing fellow partisans.
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/Republican_Party_in_Virginia_During_the_Nineteenth_Century Tue, 19 Jul 2016 14:00:28 EST <![CDATA[The Republican Party of Virginia in the Nineteenth Century]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Republican_Party_in_Virginia_During_the_Nineteenth_Century The Republican Party of Virginia was founded in 1856 and by the end of the century had become, with the Democratic Party, one of the state's two main political parties. Most of its earliest members lived in western Virginia. While not necessarily opposing slavery itself, these Republicans opposed both its expansion into the western territories and the political and economic advantages it bestowed on Piedmont and Tidewater Virginians. They also opposed secession in 1861. After the American Civil War (1861–1865), most of antebellum Virginia's Republicans lived in West Virginia. The few who were left had been Unionists but were now divided on questions such as African American civil rights and whether to allow former Confederates back into government. Newly enfranchised African Americans also flocked to the party. In 1869, a coalition of Conservative Party members and moderate Republicans—in opposition to radical Republicans—won all statewide offices. In 1881, 300 African American Republicans met in Petersburg and voted to endorse the Readjuster Party, formed in support of lowering, or "readjusting," the state debt in order to protect services such as free public schools. This alliance gave Readjusters control of the General Assembly, the governorship, and a seat in the U.S. Senate. In an environment of racial tensions, and just days after the Danville Riot of 1883, the Democratic Party (formerly the Conservatives) swept to power. No Republican won statewide office again until 1969.
Tue, 19 Jul 2016 14:00:28 EST]]>
/Readjuster_Party_The Tue, 19 Jul 2016 13:59:19 EST <![CDATA[Readjuster Party, The]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Readjuster_Party_The The Readjuster Party was the shortest-lived and most radical reforming political party in Virginia's history. Founded in February 1879, it won majorities in both houses of the General Assembly in the legislative election that autumn, and its candidates won all the statewide offices in 1881. The party rose to power because of the debt controversy, which involved disagreements about how to pay almost $34 million in state debt accrued before the American Civil War (1861–1865) on internal-improvement projects. By 1871, that number had risen to $45.6 million. The political faction called Funders resisted any reduction on the state debt lest it hurt Virginia's standing with creditors, while the Readjusters, seeing the debt as threatening important state programs such as public schools, sought to "readjust," or reduce the amount of the principal and the rate of interest. With a coalition of white farmers and working men, Democrats, Republicans, and African Americans, and under the leadership of the railroad executive and former Confederate general William Mahone, the party passed the Riddleberger Act of 1882, which reduced the principal of the debt and the interest owed. The next year, however, the Readjuster Party's candidates lost their legislative majorities, and its candidates for statewide office all lost in 1885, after which the party ceased to function.
Tue, 19 Jul 2016 13:59:19 EST]]>
/Conservative_Party_of_Virginia Tue, 19 Jul 2016 13:52:29 EST <![CDATA[Conservative Party of Virginia]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Conservative_Party_of_Virginia The Conservative Party of Virginia dominated the state's politics and government for a decade after its founding late in 1867, when it united people who opposed radical Republican reformers in Congress and in the state. In particular, Conservatives opposed giving the right to vote to African American men and denying it to men who had held Confederate political or military office during the American Civil War (1861–1865). Conservatives lost the first battle but won the second, and electoral successes in 1869 gave them the power to enact alternatives to Republican policies. Holding a majority in the General Assembly, the Conservatives helped create the state's first system of free public schools. By the end of the 1870s, however, the party collapsed during the political turmoil about payment of the antebellum state debt, which deeply divided the Conservatives. Some wanted to pay the debt in full, maintaining Virginia's good credit, while others argued for a "readjustment," lest the payments overwhelm other priorities, such as public schools. The party's division allowed a coalition of white and black voters, called Readjusters, and Republicans to gain temporary control of the state government. Following the subsequent collapse of that biracial coalition, many of the white Conservatives joined the reorganized and revived Democratic Party of Virginia.
Tue, 19 Jul 2016 13:52:29 EST]]>
/Kemper_James_Lawson_1823-1895 Thu, 19 Nov 2015 10:39:52 EST <![CDATA[Kemper, James Lawson (1823–1895)]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Kemper_James_Lawson_1823-1895 James Lawson Kemper was a Confederate general during the American Civil War (1861–1865), who later served as governor of Virginia (1874–1877). Kemper volunteered in the Mexican War (1846–1848), but returned to his civilian life as a lawyer. He served five terms in the Virginia House of Delegates (1853–1863), including time as Speaker of the House (1861–1863). There he garnered a reputation for honesty and attention to duty. Kemper volunteered for service in 1861, and with his promotion in June 1862 became the Confederacy's youngest brigade commander. Badly wounded at Gettysburg in July 1863, Kemper oversaw the Virginia Reserve Forces for the remainder of the war. He helped found the Conservative Party during Reconstruction (1865–1877). Soundly defeating the Republican candidate in the 1873 gubernatorial race, Kemper found himself, as governor, at odds with previous supporters over his progressive stance on civil rights, prison reform, and public school improvements. Still suffering from his wound, Kemper retired to his law practice, and died in Orange County in 1895.
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/Brooks_Albert_Royal_c_1817-1881 Mon, 02 Nov 2015 09:13:41 EST <![CDATA[Brooks, Albert R. (c. 1817–1881)]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Brooks_Albert_Royal_c_1817-1881 Albert R. Brooks was a Richmond businessman who thrived before the American Civil War (1861–1865) despite his enslavement. In the antebellum years Brooks took advantage of the common though illegal practice of earning wages for his work, which he then invested in an eating house and a prosperous hack and livery stable. Between 1862 and 1865 Brooks managed to purchase his freedom, his wife's, and that of most of their children. After the war Brooks became a community leader. He helped halt the revival of slavery-era pass laws that governed African American movement in the city and sat on the racially mixed jury that considered Jefferson Davis's treason charges. He was also active in the state's nascent Republican Party. Brooks retreated from political activity in 1868, possibly worried that his white customers would boycott his businesses, but continued to support universal suffrage, equal justice, public education, black uplift, and civil rights. Brooks died in 1881 and is probably buried in Richmond's Union Mechanics Cemetery.
Mon, 02 Nov 2015 09:13:41 EST]]>
/Hunnicutt_James_W_1814-1880 Thu, 27 Aug 2015 17:10:40 EST <![CDATA[Hunnicutt, James W. (1814–1880)]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Hunnicutt_James_W_1814-1880 James W. Hunnicutt, a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1867–1868, saw his public career shift during the 1860s from a slavery supporter to a prominent Radical Republican to an ally of the Conservative Party. In 1860 Hunnicutt, a minister and newspaper publisher, voiced his concerns that secession would lead to the American Civil War (1861–1865), and would end slavery. He fled Fredericksburg for Philadelphia in 1862, already evolving into an advocate of African American rights. Settling in Richmond after the Civil War, his actions to help organize freedpeople earned him enemies in the white community. He won election to the Convention of 1867–1868 that wrote the state's new constitution but his political power soon declined because of increased scrutiny on his prewar support of white supremacy, disenchantment from blacks outside of Richmond, and estrangement from other party leaders. In 1869 he lost a congressional election as a True Republican, a moderate Republican-Conservative coalition, and retired to Stafford County where he died a decade later.
Thu, 27 Aug 2015 17:10:40 EST]]>
/_quot_Republican_Convention_quot_from_the_Wheeling_Daily_Intelligencer_October_1_1856 Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:20:18 EST <![CDATA["Republican Convention" from the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer (October 1, 1856)]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/_quot_Republican_Convention_quot_from_the_Wheeling_Daily_Intelligencer_October_1_1856 Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:20:18 EST]]> /_Virginia_Republican_Convention_Full_Report_of_Proceedings_from_the_Wheeling_Daily_Intelligencer_May_3_1860 Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:07:22 EST <![CDATA["Virginia Republican Convention: Full Report of Proceedings" from the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer (May 3, 1860)]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/_Virginia_Republican_Convention_Full_Report_of_Proceedings_from_the_Wheeling_Daily_Intelligencer_May_3_1860 Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:07:22 EST]]> /Democratic_Party_of_Virginia Thu, 15 Jan 2015 16:53:10 EST <![CDATA[Democratic Party of Virginia]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Democratic_Party_of_Virginia The Democratic Party, the dominant political party in Virginia from the 1880s to the 1960s, can trace its origins to the early years of the republic, when disputes over domestic and foreign policies gave birth to the Republican (Democratic-Republican) and Federalist parties. In the 1830s, while Andrew Jackson was president, the name "Democratic" began to gain currency among his supporters. Opposition to Jackson's policies resulted in the formation of a party known as the Whigs. Two-party competition continued in the Old Dominion until the eve of the American Civil War (1861–1865). During Reconstruction (1865–1877), Congress mandated the enfranchisement of black males. Former Democrats and Whigs established the Conservative Party. After Reconstruction, the Conservatives triumphed, but soon they lost power to an interracial coalition known as the Readjusters. In 1883 the Conservative Party changed its name to the Democratic Party. They regained control of the General Assembly that same year, and the governorship two years later. Their control solidified by the suffrage provisions of the Virginia Constitution of 1902, the Democrats were immune to challenge in statewide elections for decades—the only meaningful competition was in the Democratic primary. Early in the twentieth century, party leader Thomas S. Martin and later Harry F. Byrd Sr. developed political organizations based on the support of local officials across the state, but by the 1960s the Byrd Organization was in decline: changes in federal civil rights laws, federal court decisions, the arrival of many newcomers in the state, the rise of the modern Republican Party, and the passing of the old generation of Democratic leaders initiated a party realignment. In the 1970s Virginia's political parties were philosophically more in tune with their respective national parties. Since then, two-party competition has characterized Virginia politics. Virginia Democrats made history by electing an African American as governor in 1989 and giving the state's electoral vote to Barack Obama, the first African American to be the candidate of a major party for president, in 2008.
Thu, 15 Jan 2015 16:53:10 EST]]>
/Branch_James_Read_1828-1869 Thu, 12 Dec 2013 14:19:38 EST <![CDATA[Branch, James Read (1828–1869)]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Branch_James_Read_1828-1869 James Read Branch was a Confederate artillery officer and banker who helped reestablish Richmond's struggling economy after the American Civil War (1861–1865). Branch fought in the battles of Malvern Hill, Sharpsburg (Antietam), Fredericksburg, and Plymouth. He resigned from the army in 1865, after he was slow to recover from a severe leg injury. After the war he revived Thomas Branch and Sons, the banking house he had founded with his father and brother, and became active in the Conservative Party, serving on its executive committee. He was nominated to run for a seat in the Senate of Virginia in 1869. Branch and others felt the party needed the support of African American voters to defeat the Radical Republicans. Days before the election a large crowd attending a Conservative Party picnic to attract black voters crushed the bridge on which he stood. Branch fell into the James River and drowned.
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 14:19:38 EST]]>
/Brooks_Robert_Peel_1853-1882 Tue, 23 Jul 2013 14:09:58 EST <![CDATA[Brooks, Robert Peel (1853–1882)]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Brooks_Robert_Peel_1853-1882 Robert Peel Brooks was one of Richmond's first African American lawyers and a Republican Party leader. Born into slavery, he was manumitted in 1862 and graduated from Howard University's law school in 1875. While practicing law in Richmond he also edited the Richmond Virginia Star. Brooks became involved in politics and was elected secretary of the Republican State Central Committee in 1880. Initially siding with the Funders, who advocated full payment of the state's prewar debt, he came to support the Readjusters, who sought adjustment of the debt, because they promoted black political participation. He contracted typhoid fever in 1882 and died not long before his twenty-ninth birthday.
Tue, 23 Jul 2013 14:09:58 EST]]>
/Whig_Party_in_Virginia Tue, 12 Apr 2011 11:51:27 EST <![CDATA[Whig Party in Virginia]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/Whig_Party_in_Virginia The Whig Party was a political party in Virginia and across the United States that was founded in 1833 in opposition to the policies of U.S. president Andrew Jackson—a Democrat who was criticized for his expansion of executive powers—and in support of states' rights and, eventually, the sectional interests of the South. Whigs, especially in the North, vigorously opposed the Mexican War (1846–1848), a conflict that led to increased sectional friction as the federal government attempted, without great success, to strike a balance between the interests of North and South, free and slave, when admitting the newly captured territory into the Union. By 1856, that friction had destroyed the party, both within the state and nationally, forcing its members to affiliate with different parties dictated largely by their stance on slavery and secession. In the years leading up to the American Civil War (1861–1865), many prominent former Virginia Whig Party members, such as John Minor Botts, were vocal in their resistance to Democratic calls for secession. Other prominent Virginia Whigs included Mexican War heroes Zachary Taylor, who served as U.S. president from 1849 until 1850, and Winfield Scott, who ran unsuccessfully for the office in 1852.
Tue, 12 Apr 2011 11:51:27 EST]]>
/United_States_Presidential_Election_of_1860 Tue, 05 Apr 2011 09:58:08 EST <![CDATA[United States Presidential Election of 1860]]> http://staging.encyclopediavirginia.org/United_States_Presidential_Election_of_1860 The United States presidential election of 1860 was perhaps the most pivotal in American history. A year after John Brown's attempted slave revolt at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, the national debate over slavery had reached a boiling point, and several Southern states were threatening to secede should the Republican Party candidate, Abraham Lincoln, win. Along with its Upper South neighbors, Virginia struggled with both the perceived threat of Northern abolitionism and the fear that secession would trigger war. The four major candidates, meanwhile, reflected a political system in chaos. At its convention, the Democratic Party split into two factions, with the Northern Democrats nominating U.S. senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, a moderate on slavery, and the Southern Democrats nominating the U.S. vice president, John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky, on a proslavery, states' rights platform. After the demise of the Whig Party, many of its former members went to the Constitutional Union Party, which nominated John Bell of Tennessee and advocated compromise. The Republicans, who opposed the expansion of slavery into the western territories, best exploited the circumstances, winning 180 electoral votes and 39.8 percent of the popular vote. Reflecting Virginia's moderation, however, the state was one of only three to favor Bell. In the end, Lincoln's election led directly to South Carolina's secession and the American Civil War (1861–1865).
Tue, 05 Apr 2011 09:58:08 EST]]>