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Ohio Congressmen and the 1840s: Free Soil, the Second Party System, and the Rise of Anti-southern Sentiment

Franzmann, Thomas Lee
The most significant issue in antebellum American politics was the question of slavery. Although a sense of nationalism pervaded the country throughout most of the early nineteenth century, the utilization of slave labor in the South and free labor in the North resulted in the emergence of two distinct cultures with conflicting interests. Moreover, the controversy over the extension of slavery into the terri~ories and the political balance of power led to the demise of the Second Party System, its replacement with sectional parties, and, ultimately, the secession crisis of 1860. My purpose in this study was to examine the impact of the free soil issue on the breakdown of national parties in the 1840s and the rise of anti-Southern.Vattitudes in the free states. To provide for a more comprehensive treatment, I selected the Ohio congressional delegation for concentration. Utilizing roll call analysis in addition to traditional sources, free soil attitudes were compared with a variety of variables to explain congressional voting behavior.