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1848 Democratic National Convention

The 1848 Democratic National Convention, a presidential nominating convention of United States Democratic Party delegates representing all thirty states in the union at the time, met in Baltimore on May 22, 1848.[1]

1848 Democratic National Convention
1848 presidential election
Lewis Cass crop.jpg WilliamOButler.jpg
Cass and Butler
Date(s)May 22–25, 1848
CityBaltimore, Maryland[1]
VenueUniversalist Church[1]
Presidential nomineeLewis Cass[1] of Michigan
Vice Presidential nomineeWilliam O. Butler[1] of Kentucky
‹ 1844  ·  1852 ›

The Democratic National Committee was established at this convention.[2]



Former Speaker of the House Andrew Stevenson of Virginia was made the president (chair) of the convention. After readopting the two-thirds rule for selecting the nominee, the assembly turned to the thorny problem of competing delegations representing different factions of the New York party.[1] The convention adopted a compromise (by a vote of 133 to 118) of splitting the thirty-six votes between the pro-Van Buren faction and the Hunkers that opposed them. Unsatisfied, the pro-Van Burenite Barnburners withdrew and the remaining New Yorkers refused to vote.

Presidential nominationEdit

Presidential candidatesEdit

The major competitors for the nomination were Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan, Secretary of State James Buchanan from Pennsylvania, and Supreme Court Justice Levi Woodbury from New Hampshire. On the first ballot Cass received a big lead with 125 of the 290 delegate votes with Buchanan and Woodbury trailing with 55 and 53 votes, respectively.[1] On the next two ballots Cass's total went up while the other candidates began to fall. With 179 votes out of 255 actually voting on the fourth ballot, the chair declared Cass the presidential nominee, having surpassed the two-thirds majority of 170 votes.

Presidential vote
Ballots 1 2 3 4
Lewis Cass 125 133 156 179
Levi Woodbury 53 56 53 38
James Buchanan 55 54 40 33
John C. Calhoun 9 0 0 0
William Jenkins Worth 6 5 5 1
George M. Dallas 3 3 0 0
William Orlando Butler 0 0 0 3
Abstaining 39 39 36 36

Vice Presidential nominationEdit

Vice Presidential candidatesEdit


Cass/Butler campaign poster

Turning to the choice of a vice presidential running mate, the convention picked General William O. Butler of Kentucky[1] over General John A. Quitman of Mississippi, former Senator and Minister to France William R. King of Alabama, Secretary of the Navy John Y. Mason of Virginia, and Congressman James Iver McKay of North Carolina. Before it adjourned on May 25, this convention also appointed the first Democratic National Committee.[1]

Vice Presidential vote
1st 2nd
Before shifts
After shifts
William Orlando Butler 114 179 254
John A. Quitman 74 62 0
William R. King 26 8 0
John Y. Mason 24 5 0
James Iver McKay 13 0 0
Jefferson Davis 1 0 0
Abstaining 38 36 36

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Klunder, William (1996). Lewis Cass and the Politics of Moderation. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press. pp. 184–186. Retrieved 9 April 2015 – via Questia.
  2. ^ Smith, Melissa M.; Williams, Glenda C.; Powell, Larry; Copeland, Gary A. (2010). Campaign Finance Reform: The Political Shell Game. Lexington Books. p. 13. ISBN 9780739145678.
  3. ^ Levin Hudson Coe, Tennessee Encyclopedia, August 7, 2018

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Baltimore, Maryland
Democratic National Conventions Succeeded by
Baltimore, Maryland