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1885 United States Senate election in Pennsylvania

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The 1885 United States Senate election in Pennsylvania was held on January 20, 1885. J. Donald Cameron was re-elected by the Pennsylvania General Assembly to the United States Senate.[1]

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Wanted: Ambitious individual for leadership position. Be prepared for difficult application process and stressful work environment. Challenges: many. Rewards: numerous.Failure:Possible. Your employer: the American people.The few have been the presidents. By middle of the 19th century, it was apparent to many in Washington that America's Founding Fathers had left a legacy with two loopholes: a loose republic of states, perhaps divisible. With liberty and justice for some. In less than 75 years, the republic had grown from a colonial possession to a continental nation. Territory gained after the Mexican war stretched the country from sea to shining sea. Yet this new land threatened to divide the nation. Most republics throughout the course of history had not survived. The Americans, the first half of the 19th century, were uncertain whether their republic would survive a series crisis. Or would it break apart? Narrator: Tensions were rising between the North and the South. Each wanted to settle the west in its own distinct image. The North is far more populous,far more economically developed than the South. But it has not exercise real political power in the nation. The South had a stranglehold on the Democratic party, on the presidency,on the Supreme Court. The nation was at a crossroads. The power struggle between the North and South was escalating into a crisis that demanded an extraordinary president. As it turned out,Zachary Taylor, was not that man. Number 12: Zachary Taylor. Whig. 1849-1850. 64 years old from Louisiana. Zachary Taylor was a celebrity, a Mexican war hero who helped to win over half a million square miles of new land for the nation. He was also a political unknown.Zachary Taylor was someone who was not seeking the presidency. Both parties came to him and wanted him to be their candidate. As a war hero, he appealed to the North. As a Louisiana landowner and slaveholder, he appealed to the South. He has no obvious agenda, but in the end he would surprise them all. There's something about Zachary Taylor. If I had to pick out a prototypical pre-civil war American, I certainly would pick "Old Rough and Ready." Taylor's nom de guerre "Old Rough and Ready was much a tribute to his fighting spirit as it was to his slovenly appearance. He had none the polish from a professional politician and was not a great communicator. Taylor had never registered to vote, didn't even vote in his own election. Despite outward appearances, he was really a Washington insider. His army position had arranged by his second cousin, James Madison. Robert E. Lee was his fourth cousin once removed and Jefferson Davis had been his son-in-law. As president, Taylor defer to others going so far as to declare he would exercise his veto power. Taylor didn't really see the presidency as very powerful office and he was actually strongly infulenced by members of his Cabinet and certain members of Congress. He did say that he believed that the slavery issue should be decided by Congress and Congress would be the ruling body and he would go along whatever Congress proposed. The slavery debate was beginning to get ugly. The fragile peace between North and South established 30 years earlier by the Missouri Compromise was starting to crumble. When Zachary Taylor came into office, the country was facing a serious crisis over the question of the expansion of slavery into new western territory. On one side, southern extremists were threatening secession if Congress didn't rule in their favor. On the other side,the clamor of northern abolitionists was growing louder. In response, Senator Henry Clay created the Compromise of 1850, a bundle of bills designed to link the admission of California as a free state with some slavery measures favorable to the South. So this was a kinda package that Clay put before the Congress, giving some concessions to the slave states and some concessions to the free states which he hoped would go through and satisfy everyone. But the compromise didn't satisfy some people, including President Taylor. Taylor surprised a lot of people, he thought it was only the compromise about he said " Look California should be admitted as a free state and that's it". Taking back his promise, Taylor threatened to veto the compromise. Taylor insisted on going ahead even at the risk provoking southern state secession. Taylor's solution for the secessionists was somewhat simplistic. "I'll hang him and I might start with my son-in-law Jefferson Davis" was a senator from Mississippi at that time. I think his best moment was simply affirming the integrity of the nation,in response to threats of disunion that were coming from the South as the controversy over the Compromise of 1850 intensified. Merely a year into his administration, Taylor was evolving into a Arden unionist. On a hot Fourth of July in 1850, Taylor took a break from the political infighting to preside over a groundbreaking ceremony for the Washington Monument. Scorched by the summer sun, Taylor sought relief with a pitcher of milk and a bowl of cherries. Within hours, he complained of severe stomach pains. There were people who were proposing that he was actually poisoned by arsenic, there was this conspiracy to get rid of him. Taylor died five days later. Most believed that he succumbed to gastroenteritis,an inflammation of the intestines. But there were lingering suspicions of foul play. It would take more than a century before anyone would know for certain. In 1991, a historian convinced Taylor's descendants to allow his body to be exhumed. Forensic analysis revealed no signs of foul play. Instead, they determined that a form of cholera was the most likely cause of Taylor's death. "As far as I am concerned, he definitively was not poisoned with arsenic." Where Taylor might have taken the the country is a mystery. But it would move in an entirely different direction when Taylor's vice president assumed the presidency. Number 13: Millard Fillmore. Whig. 1850-1853. 50 years old from New York. Unlucky number 13. Millard Fillmore was an accidental president. Some have called him "the Gerald Ford of his day." Considered so unremarkable, a Millard Fillmore society used to gather annually at his gravesite to lampoon his forgotten presidency. He was rather a strong president considering the fact that he was an accidental president and those presidents always have a difficult time establishing their mark. Millard Fillmore hadn't even met Zachary Taylor until after they were elected. Seen as Taylor's opposite, Fillmore was picked to merely balance the ticket geographically and politically. Fillmore was a northerner, an affable man who was always dressed impeccably. He was a bookworm and a hands-off manager. He aimed to please and appease rather than lead. He was a kind of colorless character who believed in compromise who differed the congressional leadership. According to most observers, bland, friendly, willing to make you feel that you had said something important and just fitting in. And yet behind this amiable personality lurked a man with backbone. Bitter at feeling overlooked by Taylor's cabinet, Fillmore fired all of them. Fillmore continued exert his newfound power by reversing the policy of the predecessor and signing the Compromise of 1850 into law. Fillmore said "No I'm in now and I'm gonna change the government's policy. Taylor was all wrong about the Compromise of 1850." Fillmore supported slavery because he believed its abolition would lead to a collapse of the southern economy. 60% of U.S exports came out of the Cotton states by 1860. To abolish slavery was to abolish economic system. Fillmore also believed that slavery was protected by the Constitution and that by signing the compromise, he would put the issue to rest forever. What he failed to grasp were the moral consequences and he blamed abolitionists for making slavery an issue. He was opposed to the abolitionists. He thought they were troublemakers and fanatics. Fillmore was content with the compromise because he thought it would preserve the status quo. For some, however it serve to strengthen their resolve against slavery. By supporting the compromise, Fillmore hoped to please everyone but instead he ended up pleasing no one, including members of his own party. In the election of 1852, the Whigs wouldn't renominate him. So Fillmore went home to Buffalo, leaving behind one of the most forgettable presidencies in American history. It was 1852 and the tenuous strands of the Compromise of 1850 were barely holding the country together. Franklin Pierce appeared to be the perfect ''feel-good'' candidate. He was a Northern Democrat with strong ties to the South. Voters in both regions thought Pierce would bring balance and peace to the nation. He was known by everybody. Everybody knew him. Everybody liked him. That how he got nominated to begin with. There wasn't anybody who didn't like him. Pierce was practically handed the presidency because he was offensive to no one. He would leave office reviled by all. Pierce had terrible timing through his life. Even this time when he got elected president was poor. Everybody called "Handsome Frank." The word that was used often describing was elegant, extremely outgoing, very charismatic even people who didn't like him felt that he was a wonderfully charming, interesting person. Pierce was well known as a man about town, the social and political butterfly of sorts with the pension for drinking, often to excess. Being involved in politics meant being in taverns meant slapping people on the back, buying them a drink and in the drinking culture in America this time, was enormous. I mean one scholar called it the "Alcoholic Republic." Plenty reasons alcohol is hard to judge today, but he was. There were times in his life, however, when he did not drink and when his outcall did seem to play an important role in his life and that includes the time he was president. By all accounts, Pierce managed to stay sober during his presidency. But some believe he was not emotionally stable, because of a terrible personal tragedy he suffered just weeks after his election. Pierce, his wife Jane, and their son Benny were in a train wreck. Pierce and his wife were unscathed, but their 11-year old son was killed. The top of head had literally had been taken off, right in front of his parents. Franklin Pierce grabbed his cloak and threw it over Benny's body, hoping Jane wouldn't see it. But she did, of course, and that was a terrible tragedy to them. Pierce and his wife had already lost two other children to disease. Benny was their last surviving child. To have your remaining son, the light of the your life, Benny, killed in front of your eyes in a train accident, who could imagine the horror that would instill anyway? Added to Pierce's troubles was the death of his vice president William Rufus King, six weeks after the inauguration and things were about to get worse. Early in 1854, Pierce received a visit from members of his own party, including Illinois senator Stephen A. Douglas. Douglas informed Pierce that he was sponsoring a bill called the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The Kansas-Nebraska Act is one of the key moments in all of American political history. The act was designed to repeal the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which banned slavery in states above the southern border of Missouri. The intent was to let the new territories of Kansas and Nebraska, both north of the boundary, decide for themselves if they wanted slavery or not. Douglas promised to make Pierce's presidency a living nightmare if Pierce didn't support the scheme. The president should have '' No, you're opening a can of worms, a hornet's nest" but no Pierce is weak. Pierce can be bullied and Douglas forces him basically saying "Okay, the administration will support this." And so Pierce basically caved in to them and as a consequence, most of the northern Democrats in the Senate and exactly half of the northern Democrats in the House supported the bill and it was just enough get it through Congress. Anti-slavery groups in the North just went berserk over this bill. They went ballistic. Among the outraged was a little-known politician from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was so angered by the blatant pro-slavery act that he helped create a radical new political party to oppose the expansion of slavery, the Republican Party. Previously he talked about slavery now and then he used to be a ordinary Whig politician. The Kansas-Nebraska Act brings Lincoln back into politics and it brings him back to politics as a spokesman against the expansion of slavery. It galvanizes Lincoln. Meanwhile in the Kansas Territory, anti and pro-slavery settlers were literally fighting it out. On May 21,1856, pro-slavery forces burn the abolitionist stronghold of Lawrence, Kansas down to the ground. The whole political situation begins to disintegrate and Pierce is completely incapable of putting it back together again. Pierce failed to see his role in the deterioration of the Union. He genuinely though he had a shot at a second term, but even his own party rejected him. Pierce returned home to New Hampshire, his reputation ruined. Several years later after his wife Jane died, he returned to heavy drinking and lived his remaining years as a recluse. Perhaps the saddest legacy of any president. Presidents are what can I say, they're victims of whatever happens both during and after their terms. So I think Pierce's reputation will not recuperate anytime soon. But as tragic as Pierce's presidency had been, it would pale in comparison to his successors. Number 15: James Buchanan. Democrat.1857-1861. 65 years old from Pennsylvania. James Buchanan is often ranked at or near the bottom in the polls to determine the best and worst of American presidents. I think the reason he often rated near or at the bottom because actions that he took during his presidency. Probably hastened the coming of the Civil War. He did fail but I think he failed with integrity and I thinks he needs to be given credit for at least trying. I think he should be maligned but we've got to get it right, really what he deserves last place for is near treason. James Buchanan was one of the most politically accomplished presidents America has ever had. He had been a congressman, foreign minister, senator and Secretary of State. What he achieved in life was due to hard work and studious nature. He would stay up late at night to attend the smallest of details. Buchanan was different in another way. He never married and is often referred to as America's only bachelor president.There are folks in the United States say that James Buchanan is our first homosexual president.The allegation arose from the intimate friendship he shared with Franklin Pierce's vice president William Rufus King, a man he had lived with for 16 years. There's really is not of hard evidence. There's three or four mentions at the time of Buchanan and his wife or "Aunt Nancy", these two men are "Aunt Nancys" now he was of this circles of dandies, they call them and there were certainly was some sense in this group of men they were having some homosexual relations. It's very hard to make any kind of determination about something like that even someone living today let alone some living in the 1850s. Buchanan had has his charming niece Harriet Lane as his White House hostess. Since Harriet wasn't Buchanan's wife, she was called the "First Lady", a term coined coined to describe her role. While Harriet presided over social life at the White House, Buchanan presided over a house rapidly dividing. His decision to endorse the constitution written by the pro-slavery settlers in Kansas made Buchanan appear to be a supporter of the South and a traitor to the North. The idea that the president will try to force slavery into a territory where it's clear that a majority of the settlers don't want it completely discredit his administration in the eyes of large numbers of Northerners and including Northern Democrats, not just Republicans. Everything that James Buchanan does for the last part of his administration is so pro-Southern that he does not do in the classic presidential oath "Reserve an defend and protect the United States". Ultimately Buchanan's management to the battle in Kansas did nothing to settle the slavery issue, it only made it worse. Slavery couched in the mantra of states rights was now the defining issue in the historic election of 1860. On November 6, 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected president. It was now only a matter of months before the South would lose its ally in the White House. In anticipation of an anti-slavery president, South Carolina seceded from the Union on December 20th 1860. As a lame-duck president,James Buchanan denied the legality of secession,but didn't do anything to stop it. Was he being weak at the moment, indecisive,probably. Was he scared to death? Certainly. Did he have a sense that this was an incredibly dangerous moment.Definitely. Within weeks six more states left the Union and 8 slave-holding states sat on the fence becoming border states. On February 9, 1861, the Confederate States of America, now composed of seven states elected Jefferson Davis as their new president. On month later, Buchanan's presidency came to an end. He was tremendously relieved to set aside the burden of office and handed over to Lincoln. On his last day, Buchanan said to Lincoln, "If you are happy to be entering the presidency, as I am to be leaving it, then you are a very happy man." Abraham Lincoln's presidency was so remarkable that Lincoln himself transcended the presidency, becoming an American icon. Today, Lincoln is seen as a marble figure, a martyr , a phenomenon. Lincoln was the father of second American Revolution and the political legacy we live with today. One nation indivisible with liberty and just for all. Yet none of this was ever Lincoln's original intent. Number 16:Abraham Lincoln. Republican. 1861-1865. 52 years old. From Illinois. Lincoln was a conservative in the sense that he wanted to preserve and restore the Union as it has existed before the the secession of the southern states in the beginning the war. But the very events of the war pushed him step by step to the left portable radical position which eventually became revolutionary.Lincoln was not the great Emancipator. He becomes the Great Emancipator. To some extent against his own intention. I think that Lincoln shows you what greatness is really. It is the capacity to grow to understand the situation to change. In Lincoln's lifetime, people either loved him or hated him. On thing they couldn't do was ignore him. He was very magnetic. He drew people to him, young people, especially young men who were active in politics, thought of him as a god. He had a famous sense of humor. He had amazing storehouse of anecdotes and jokes for every occasion. It would drive some people crazy, even as president. He would have a story ready to illustrate a point. Hidden behind the humor was a very complex man. Lincoln obsessed over matters and often suffered prolonged periods of sadness, frustration, and even despair. Campaign literature called him ''Honest Abe" banking on his compulsion for seeking the truth. His other nickname, the "Rail Splitter" was more of a political marketing invention in the Jacksonian tradition, capitalizing on Lincoln working class roots to appeal to the common man. Lincoln was much a politician. He loved the game of politics. He played it very well. He was extraordinarily ambitious man like so many politicians rising to the top. From childhood, Lincoln was driven to make something of his life and climb out of poverty. He worked hard and relied on his wits as he had not been blessed with good looks. In the South, they attacked him as a scoundrel looking wretch, the cross between a nutmeg dealer and a horse swap whatever that means. Lincoln turned his appearance into a positive by disarming people with self-deprecating humor. Once after being called "two-faced", he said " If I two-faced, would I be wearing this one?" Lincoln was his own best spin meister. Once elected president, Lincoln choose a cabinet of intellectual equals just as John F. Kennedy did a century later. In Lincoln's case, four of his secretaries had been his political rivals. He was a judicious delegated authority but he always reserve the ultimate decision for himself. Lincoln's election had been a political disaster for the southern slave power. But his initial intention was just to halt the expansion of slavery into the western territories. He said '' If I could save the Union without freeing a single slave, I'll do that. I save it by freeing some and leaving others in bondage, I would do that too." He never had anything but moral outrage about it. But he, like most anti-slavery men felt that the way to kill it, the way to destroy the institution of slavery was to contain it and and let it suffocate from within. Waiting for Lincoln on his first day in office was a letter from Major Robert Anderson, the commander of Fort Sumter. Located on an island in the harbor of Charleston,South Carolina. Anderson warned without a shipment of provisions, he would have to surrender to the rebels. Lincoln had three options: he could order a surrender, an attack, or send provisions. He chose the latter. So basically Lincoln to Jefferson Davis, "If you let this food go in peacefully, it would be a symbolic manifestation of our sovereignty over this fort. "If you stop it, then the responsibility of starting the war would be on your shoulders." Before Lincoln's supply ships arrived, Confederate President Jefferson Davis ordered his men to attack the fort. Fire! The first shot was fired. On April 12, 1861, the Civil War had begun. The violence at Fort Sumter motivated four more states to join the Confederacy. Four others remained on the fence. Fort Sumter was surrendered to the South.



The Pennsylvania General Assembly, consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate, convened on January 20, 1885, to elect a Senator to fill the term beginning on March 4, 1885. Incumbent Republican J. Donald Cameron, who was elected in an 1877 special election and re-elected in 1879, was a successful candidate for re-election to another term. The results of the vote of both houses combined are as follows:

State Legislature Results[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican J. Donald Cameron (Inc.) 163 64.94
Democratic William A. Wallace 69 27.49
Republican A. W. Acheson 1 0.40
Republican Charles N. Brumm 1 0.40
Republican George Shiras Jr. 1 0.40
N/A Not voting 14 5.58
Totals 251 100.00%

See also


  1. ^ a b "U.S. Senate Election - 20 January 1885" (PDF). Wilkes University. Retrieved December 22, 2013.

External links

Preceded by
Pennsylvania U.S. Senate election (Class III)
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 17 August 2019, at 17:10
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