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1855 Vermont gubernatorial election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1855 Vermont gubernatorial election

← 1854 September 4, 1855 (1855-09-04) 1856 →
Stephen Royce.jpg
Nominee Stephen Royce Merritt Clark James M. Slade
Party Republican Democratic Know Nothing
Popular vote 25,654 12,537 3,475
Percentage 58.4% 22.9% 8.4%

Governor before election

Stephen Royce

Elected Governor

Stephen Royce

The 1855 Vermont gubernatorial election for governor of Vermont was held on September 4.[1] With the Whig Party defunct after 1854,[2] incumbent Stephen Royce, who had run with the support of both Whigs and the new Republican Party in 1854, ran as the nominee of the Republicans.[3] The Democratic candidate was Merritt Clark, who had run unsuccessfully against Royce in 1854.[4] James M. Slade, the Clerk of the Vermont House of Representatives was the nominee of the Know Nothing Party, also called the American Party.[5]

With Vermont firmly in the anti-slavery camp and the Republican Party established as the main abolitionist party, Royce was easily re-elected with 58.4 percent of the vote to 22.9 for Clark and 8.4 for Slade.[6] Royce took the oath of office and began a one-year term on October 13, 1855.[7]

The 1855 election also marked Republican extension of the "Mountain Rule" for the governor's and lieutenant governor's offices.[8] As originally implemented, the Mountain Rule called for one U.S. Senator to be from the west side of the Green Mountains, and one from the east, and for the governorship and lieutenant governorship to rotate between east and west.[8] With the Republican Party's expansion of the rule, it dictated that the governor and lieutenant governor would not only be from alternate sides of the Green Mountains, but that they would also be limited to two years in office.[8]

General election


1855 Vermont gubernatorial election[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Stephen Royce (incumbent) 25,654 58.4%
Democratic Merritt Clark 12,537 22.9%
Know Nothing James M. Slade 3,475 8.4%
William R. Shafter 1,308 3.0%
John H. Wheeler 49 0.1%
William Slade 18 0.0%
Lawrence Brainerd 3 0.0%
Write-in 79 0.2%
Total votes '43,123' '100'


  1. ^ "State Nominations". The Caledonian. St. Johnsbury, VT. September 1, 1855. p. 2 – via
  2. ^ Roos, Dave (January 8, 2021). "Why the Whig Party Collapsed". New York, NY: A&E Television Networks, LLC.
  3. ^ "Republican State Ticket". Orange County Journal. Bradford, VT. September 1, 1855. p. 2 – via
  4. ^ "Democratic Nominations". Vermont Patriot. Montpelier, VT. July 27, 1855. p. 2 – via
  5. ^ "The State Election". Vermont Phoenix. Brattleboro, VT. September 8, 1855. p. 2 – via
  6. ^ a b "1855 General Election for Governor". Vermont Elections Database. Montpelier, VT: Vermont Secretary of State. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  7. ^ "In the Senate". Vermont Phoenix. Brattleboro, VT. October 20, 1855. p. 2 – via
  8. ^ a b c Hand, Samuel B. (2003). "Mountain Rule Revisited" (PDF). Vermont History. Montpelier, VT: Vermont Historical Society. pp. 140, 143.
This page was last edited on 30 March 2021, at 10:47
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