Reading Selections on the Jackson / Van Buren Era.

Bibliographical Notes from Martin Van Buren and the American Political System, by Donald Cole

Adams, John Quincy; Adams, Charles Francis, ed., Memoirs of John Quincy Adams, Comprising Portions of His Diary from 1795 to 1848 (Philadelphia, 1875-1877).

Alexander, De Alva S., A Political History of the State of New York. 2 vols. New York:Henry Holt and Co. 1906.

Bancroft George, Martin Van Buren to the End of His Public Career (NY1889)

Collier, Edward A., A History of Kinderhook (NY 1914)

Cited for property statistics (p121-123), and showing 174 of 730 families owning slaves around the time of MVB's boyhood.

DeBow, J.D.B, Statistical View of the United States, a Compendium of the Seventh Census (Washington, 1854).

DeBow was an important proponent of southern nationalism or seccession, mentioned in the book The Fire-eaters

Ellis, Frank, History of Columbia County, New York with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers (Philadelphia, 1878)
Fox, Dixon Ryan The Decline of Aristocracy in the Politics of New York 1801-1840 (NY 1919).

This book has been contrasted to Fox's later book Yankees and Yorkers, in which he deemphasizes the "decline of the aristocracy". Imay have seen this in Benton, Concept of Jacksonian Democracy, New York as a Test Case, which makes the Jacksonians out to be quite conservative, or Leonard L.Richards' Gentlemen of Property and Standing, which does somewhat the same thing, with a specific twist.

Hamilton, James A., Reminisences of James A. Hamilton; or Men and Events, at Home and Abroad, During Three Quarters of a Century (NY1969)

Cited often in Cole's MVB.

Hamilton, a son of Alexander Hamilton, became a close political associate of Martin Van Buren. He approached Van Buren as did many "high minded Federalists", during the War of 1812. The "high minded Federalists" were those who wanted to support the war effort, while many, perhaps most, Federalists hated the war and, in some cases went so far as to advocate seccession from the U.S.

Hamilton was frequently of service to Van Buren and Andrew Jackson.

These memoirs are cited very frequently by works about the era.

Hammond, Jabez D., The History of Political Parties in the State of New York, from the Ratification of the Federal Constitution to December, 1840. 2 vols, Cooperstown NY 1842.

Cited in Cole's MVB..., Benson's Concept of Jacksonian Democracy, and elsewhere. Hammond was a participant who generally sided with Van Buren, but was, I think, pretty independant of VB's clique.

Holland, William M., The Life and Political Opinions of Martin Van Buren Vice President of the United States (Hartford, 1835).

Hunt, William, The American Biographical Sketch Book (NY1848)

Called MVB"self-made man".

Irwin, Ray W., Daniel D. Tomkins; Governor of New York and Vice President of the United States (NY 1968).

Served as governor 1807-1816, then became Vice President under Monroe, serving til 1825. "Prior to retiring from the governorship of New York he sent a message dated 1/17/17, urging that a day be set for declaring the abolition of slavery in the state" (Harpers Encyc. of U.S. History, 1905).

In 1820, he was put in the running to be governor again. MVBunsuccessfully opposed his candidacy because of Tomkins' heavy drinking - at least in that period of his life.

Joline, Adrian, "Martin Van Buren, the Lawyer"in The Autograph Hunter and Other Papers (Chicago 1907).
Lynch, Dennis Tilden, An Epoch and a Man; Martin Van Buren and His Times (NY 1929)

Cited extensively throughout Cole's MVB.

McManus, Edgar J., A History of Negro Slavery in New York (Syracuse NY 1966)

"New York ranked 6th in the US in number of slaves"(footnote p13, Cole, MVB).

Weed, Thurlow; Weed, Harriet, ed., Autobiography of Thurlow Weed (Boston 1883)

Weed speaks of Van Buren admiringly, suggesting that he might be a source for objective assessments of fellow politicians, including opponents (like MVB).

Other Books Related to MVB and the Jackson Era

Abdy, Edward S., Journal of a Residence and Tour in the United States (3 vols, London, 1835)

Quoted extensively in Gentlemen of Prop..., as a rare true sympathiser with free blacks in the U.S. He is apparently one of the best observers of the many anti-black and anti-abolitionist riots of the Jackson era. He also thought the solution to the American race problem was a thorough mingling of the races - what others would call "mulatization", "amalgamation", or "miscegeny".

A reprint was made in the 60s or 70s by Negro University Press (or something like that).

This is a pretty rare book, and Ihave only seen it cited by Gentlemen of Prop...

Lynch, Dennis Tilden, An Epoch and a Man; Martin Van Buren and His Times (NY 1929)

Cited extensively throughout Cole's MVB.

McManus, Edgar J., A History of Negro Slavery in New York (Syracuse NY 1966)

"New York ranked 6th in the US in number of slaves"(footnote p13, Cole, MVB).

Beecher, Lyman et al; ed. Cross, Barbara: TheAutobiography of Lyman Beecher (Cambridge, Mass 1961?)

An extremely vivid account, largely the work of his talented children (incl. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry Ward Beecher, and Catharine and Edward Beecher), with many letters and other passages by Lyman Beecher himself.

The title page suggests it was not actually published until 1961.

Benton, Thomas Hart, Thirty Years View (1854):

This is a major source, often cited, for the congressional debates, and personalities, of Benton's era (from the 1820s to early 50s). Benton's verbose style make it rather difficult to read, however.

Benton, Thomas Hart, Abridgement of the Debates of Congress (1854):

Feller, Daniel, The Public Lands in Jacksonian Politics (Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1984)

A clear exposition tracing the public land policy from the beginnings of the republic onwards, and claiming (and succeding, Ithink) to demonstrate its very major impact on the Jackson Era, and the formation of a new party system (Democrats vs. Whigs).

KEYWORDS: ALEX-HD-197.F45-1984

Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (1901,1904):

Not especially recommended, unless you are poor like me and find it in a used bookstore. 10 volumes of about 500pp each.

It shows the prejudices of its time; e.g. having no article on David Walker

One nice feature:

Hone, Philip; Tuckerman, Bayard, ed, Diary of Philip Hone, 1828-1851 (2 vol, NY1899)

Cited fairly heavily in Gentlemen of Property... for descriptions of New York mobs.

This is, in fact very much a standard reference cited in numerous books for conveying the flavor of events in the period which it covers.

Philip Hone, onetime mayor of New York, often dined with men like John Quincy Adams.

Parton, James, et. al, Sketches of Men in Progress (New York 1870)

Cited on p32 of Gentlemen of Prop..., as a good source for James Watson Webb. A miscellany of biographical sketches?

Richards, Leonard L., "Gentlemen of Property and Standing"; Anti-Abolition Mobs in Jacksonian America

Balances detailed analysis, and graphs and other quantitative material, with insights into particular men who lead and participated in riots against abolitionists and free blacks.

It describes how leading men, like James Watson Webb of New York's Courier and Enquirer, and Usher Linder, a prominent Illinois politician, incited and helped direct such riots. These men were also often very much involved in Jacksonian politics. He points out how Jackson himself denounced organized antislavery in his annual address on December 1835, calling for "severe penalties"to suppress their "unconstitutional and wicked"activities.

KEYWORDS: ownit;mobs;anti-abolition;1830s

Thomas, Benjamin P., Theodore Weld, Crusader for Freedom (New Brunswick, 1950):

Van Deusen, Glyndon, Thurlow Weed:Wizard of the Lobby (Boston, 1947)

KEYWORDS:ownit; BIO:Weed,Thurlow;NYS;Whig Party;Anti-Masonic Party;Rochester,NY

Newspapers of the Jackson/Van Buren Era

Albany Advertiser

Cited in Cole's MVB..., seemingly as the voice, in 1815, of the Clintonians, who at the time wanted to seat Daniel D. Tompkins in the White House, rather than James Monroe.

Albany Argus, mostly edited by Edwin Croswell.

Was for a couple of decades the mouthpiece of Van Buren and his political faction, generally known as the "Albany Regency".

(Cole, MVB, p92:) "In 1820, VB arranged to have the Argus sold to Moses I. Cantine and Isaac Leake." Cantine died, and was succeded by Croswell in 1823.

Albany Evening Journal

Started by Thurlow Weed on March 22, 1830, the Journal started as an Anti-Masonic paper, then became an influential Whig paper, and served Weed throughout his life. It marked Weed's coming out from provincial, western New York State politics, as he rose to become a state power.

Albany Register

Edited in 1815by Soloman Southwick (see p47, Cole's MVB....), a supporter of Madison, whom M. appointed postmaster of Albany.

Anti-Masonic Enquirer:

Founded by Thurlow Weed February 1828. It carried on for a couple of years

Frederick Douglass' Paper (June 1851 - ?):

The name to which The North Star was changed after 1851. Published, at least initially, in Rochester, NY.

Missouri Enquirer

Established by Thomas Hart Benton.

New York Courier and Enquirer

James Watson Webb's New York Whig newspaper. Helped foment the Utica riots of 1835 against the antislavery convention being held in Utica.

In 1825, the Courier was briefly and unsuccessfully owned by James Gordon Bennett.

New York Herald

Founded by James Gordon Bennett in 1835; a hugely successful enterprise worth over $500,000 a year upon his death in 1872. He ran the newspaper until his death.

The North Star (Dec 1847 - June 1851):

Anti-slavery newspaper printed by Frederick Douglas in Rochester, NY. In 1851, he changed the name to Frederick Douglass' Paper, partly to symbolize a break with the Garrisonians over his Unionism (Ithink), and the Garrisonians' wish to denounce the Constitution as a pact with evil, and presumably let the south go its own way.

Plattsburg Republican, edited til at least 1823 by Azariah Flagg

Plattsburg, NY is about as far "upstate" as one can get; north of most of the Adirondacks, just across Lake Champlain from Flagg's home state of Vermont.

Rochester Telegraph

Gave young Thurlow Weed a job in 1821. He continued there until 1827, becoming a co-owner. Then he decided to establish an anti-Masonic newspaper, which would be called the Anti-Masonic Enquirer.

Utica Whig

Helped foment the Utica riots of 1835 against the antislavery convention being held in Utica.

Journal Articles on the Jackson/Van Buren Era

New York History:

Robert V. Remini, "New York and the Presidential Election of 1816," vol 31 (1950), 308-324.

Cited p46-7 of Cole's MVB... in reference to the attempt to displace Monroe for president, with Daniel D. Tompkins.

Remini, Robert V., "The Albany Regency," vol 39 (Oct 1958), 341-355.

Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society:

Joseph G. Rayback, "A Myth Reexamined:Martin Van Buren's Role in the Presidential Election of 1816," vol 124 (1980), 106-118.

Cited p46-7 of Cole's MVB... in reference to the attempt to displace Monroe for president, with Daniel D. Tompkins.

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