The Election of 1852


Franklin Pierce (254 Electoral Votes)
Winfield Scott (42 Electoral Votes)

In 1852, the Democrats nominated another “dark horse,” Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire.  The Whigs tried to reprise their (only) winning formula by nominating the other military hero of the Mexican War, Winfield Scott.  Many antislavery northern Whigs deserted their candidate to support a Free Soil Whig, John P. Hale.  Pierce won all but four states, with stronger popular support in the South than in the North.  The issue of slavery in the Kansas and Nebraska territories dominated Pierce’sadministration.  Senator Stephen Douglas’ bill to organize these territories on the basis of popular sovereignty enraged the North and galvanized organization of the Republican Party.  In Kansas, pro- and antislavery settlers held separate state conventions, adopted different constitutions, and plunged the territory into civil war.  The Whig Party disintegrated after its defeat in 1852: by 1856 most northern Whigs, including Abraham Lincoln, had joined the new Republican Party.

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