Moderate Men and Conservative Influences: Illinois and the Politics of Union, 1854-1861

Ian Iverson
“Moderate Men and ConservativeInfluences: Illinois and the Politics of Union, 1854-1861” reveals the significance of political moderation in an era of partisan extremes. Nearly all politicians throughout this period claimed to be “conservative” and opposed to radical “ultras” such as Southern “Fire Eaters” and Garrisonian abolitionists. By interpreting this “conservatism” as a disposition rather than an ideology, this dissertation explores how mainstream politicians in the Democratic, Know Nothing, and Republican Parties employed a shared interpretation of American liberty, history, and institutions to court voters whose political affiliations remained fluid throughout...
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