Louisiana politics, 1845-1861




Greer, James K.

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An attempt has been made in the following pages to portray the politics of Louisiana during the important period 1845 to 1861. There were certain local issues which arose in the municipal districts of New Orleans, the congressional districts, and other divisions of the State, such as northern and southern Louisiana, which received much attention during non-Presidential election years; but the party interests of the State naturally centered about national questions during this time. A striking feature of Louisiana politics during this period was the prominence of the personal element due to the unusual characteristics of such leaders as Benjamin, Slidell, and Randell Hunt. The most interesting discovery (to the writer himself) was that the faction of the Democrats in Louisiana which, during the latter half of the period, was allied with the Buchanan or radical element in the national party was the conservative wing headed by Slidell; while the group which followed Stephen A. Douglas and other northern conservatives was in Louisiana the ultra-southern faction of Pierre Soule. This indicates, perhaps, that the personal element counted for quite as much if not more than fundamental principles; but at any rate it indicates that there is need of further investigation of the politics of the cotton states during the decade before secession