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1838 New York gubernatorial election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

New York gubernatorial election, 1838

← 1836 November 5-November 7, 1838 1840 →
William Seward 1851.png
William L. Marcy - Brady-Handy.jpg
Nominee William H. Seward William L. Marcy
Party Whig Democratic
Running mate Luther Bradish John Tracy
Popular vote 192,882 182,461
Percentage 51.4% 48.6%

New York Governor Election Results by County, 1838.svg
County Results

Governor before election

William L. Marcy

Elected Governor

William H. Seward

The 1838 New York gubernatorial election was held from November 5 to 7, 1838, to elect the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of New York.

The issues of slavery and abolition were among the topics of the campaigns. Abolitionists asked the candidates for both positions their stands on the following issues:[1] 1) "the right of blacks to a jury trial when seized as fugitive slaves; 2) a law freeing slaves-in-transit the moment they were brought into the state by their masters; and 3) equal suffrage for blacks."

Incumbent Democrat William Marcy and his running mate were described as doughfaces, not supporting the abolitionist proposals. During the campaign, Seward said that he did not support the latter two proposals, noting that a change to suffrage required a constitutional amendment to be changed. Abolitionists endorsed Luther Bradish, the Whig candidate for lieutenant governor, who supported all three, and some activists recommended voting against Seward.

But he and Bradish defeated the Democratic candidates. After election, Seward demonstrated considerable support for African Americans, signing legislation during his two terms to guarantee jury trials to alleged fugitive slaves, to repeal the nine-month allowance for slaveholders bringing slaves into the state, to give state support to efforts to gain freedom for free blacks kidnapped and sold into slavery, and establish public education for all children.

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Mr. Beat presents Supreme Court Briefs Georgia The 1820s The Cherokee Nation, which held territory within Georgia’s borders, as well as in North Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee, is threatened by the increasing amount of Americans who were trespassing and wanting to straight up take over their land. Georgia governor George Gilmer, as well as most of the Georgia legislature, made it very clear they wanted the Cherokee out of the state. In 1827, the Cherokee Nation formally established a constitutional government and declared themselves sovereign, meaning American laws didn’t apply to them. This, of course, angered governor Gilmer and the legislature, and they annexed all Cherokee land in the state, dismantled the Cherokee government, and redistributed much of their land to white citizens. Not only that, but three years later Congress passed and President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, which gave the President the power to negotiate treaties to remove Native Americans from their lands. While all of this was going on, white missionaries were working with the Cherokee Nation to help them defend their sovereignty and continue to resist the Georgia laws that was kicking them off their own land. The Georgia legislature didn’t like this so much, so they passed a law that specifically banned “white persons” from living with the Cherokee without special permission from the state. But several of these missionaries were rebels, you could say- they refused to leave. Two of them who refused to leave were Elizur Butler, a doctor from Connecticut, and Samuel Worcester,a minister from Vermont. Local authorities arrested Butler and Worcester for “residing within the limits of the Cherokee nation without a license” and “without having taken the oath to support and defend the constitution and laws of the state of Georgia.” They were convicted and sentenced to hard labor for 4 years as punishment. Worcester and Butler appealed the decision with the help of lawyers paid for by the Cherokee Nation, and their case ended up going to the Supreme Court. The Court heard arguments in February 1832. Worcester and Butler’s main argument was that the government of Georgia, by making laws that allowed it to force the Cherokee Nation to do whatever it said, was unconstitutional because only Congress could make treaties and deals with Indian tribes. On March 3, 1832, the Supreme Court announced it had sided with Worcester and Butler, voting 5-1 in their favor. Chief Justice John Marshall, aka “Lil’ John,” delivered the opinion. He argued the Georgia law was unconstitutional and got in the way of the federal government's authority. He said, "The Cherokee nation, then, is a distinct community occupying its own territory in which the laws of Georgia can have no force. The whole intercourse between the United States and this nation, is, by our constitution and laws, vested in the government of the United States." In other words, he recognized the Cherokee as an independent nation. Georgia couldn’t pass laws controlling Spain or France, so why could they pass laws controlling the Cherokee? So what did Georgia do in response to this decision? They ignored it. And Worcester and Butler stayed imprisoned. And President Andrew Jackson didn’t force Georgia to follow the Supreme Court decision, and instead said the Cherokee Nation better get out of Georgia or fall in line with their laws. Eventually Worcester and Butler were freed from prison only after they promised to stop helping the Cherokee resist the Georgia laws. In 1835, a faction of Cherokees broke away and secretly signed the Treaty of New Echota, which gave up Cherokee lands in Georgia in exchange for money. This group claimed to be representing all of the Cherokee, but they were not. In 1838, the U.S. Army forced almost all remaining Cherokees off of their lands in Georgia and marched them to Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma. This was a horrible journey, known as the Trail of Tears, that resulted in the deaths of thousands of Cherokee along the way. So yeah, kind of a sad ending. Worcester v. Georgia, however, was still an incredibly important Supreme Court case because it clarified the relationships Native American tribes had with both state governments and the federal government. It strengthened tribal sovereignty in the United States. Basically, the Court argued, that even though they reside within the borders of the United States, Native American tribes govern themselves, and can have their own laws. Too bad Andrew Jackson didn’t pay attention to them. I’ll see you for the next Supreme Court case, jury! So what do YOU think about Indian removal? Do you think it was a good idea? Let me know in the comments below. Ok of course it was a bad idea! It was horrible! No no no no Andrew Jackson, you freaking idiot, I'm looking at you. You racist jerk. Ok, sorry. Andrew Jackson is dead. I don't know why I'm yelling at you. Shout out to Jack! My newest Patreon supporter. Thank you so much for watching!


1838 General election results
Governor candidate Running Mate Party Popular Vote
William H. Seward Luther Bradish Whig 192,882 51.39%
William L. Marcy John Tracy Democratic 182,461 48.61%


  1. ^ Finkelman, Paul (September 1988). "The Protection of Black Rights in Seward's New York". Civil War History. Kent State University Press. 34 (3): 211–234. doi:10.1353/cwh.1988.0057.

This page was last edited on 13 May 2019, at 10:42
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