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Also referred to as the Anti-Clintonians, the Bucktails, lead by Martin Van Buren, became a potent political force in New York arising in the Hudson River Valley in the late 1810's and early 1820's. The Bucktails would coalesce around the candidacy of William Crawford as a presidential candidate in 1824.

"The Clinton-[New York Chief Justice]-Spencer alliance held together, but over the next three years the tenuous peace within the New York Republican Party dissolved. Two elements fully emerged, each hoping to dominate the politics of New York in the name of true republicanism. Martin Van Buren stood out as the leader of a "Bucktail" opposition that increasingly emphasized the virtue of party regularity, while the Clintonians increasingly emphasized the iniquity of party as a potential vessel of conspiracy and oppression that would enhance the power of government at the expense of social harmony. (fn: Richard Hofstadter, The Idea of a Party System: The Rise of Legitimate Opposition in the United States, 1780-1850, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1969, 219-23).

Against the Bolingbrokean essence of Clintonianism, which centred on the magistrate as the artificer of social and political harmony and of prosperity, the regulars pitted the notion of harmonious party order. The Van Burenite regulars, the organizing force within Bucktailisim worked to articulate systematic party processes that reached out from three engines of power: the legislative caucus, the junto of managers that became known as the Albany Regency, and the Albany Argus, the newspaper that stood at the centre of an extensive press network. Commending 'regular nominations' and defining which local nominations were regular, the Bucktail press eroded Clinton's Republican following and ultimately his hold on patronage, including the many judicial office holders whom Ambrose Spencer oversaw." (Hanyan, p 10-11)

Additional Sources:

  • The Concept of Jacksonian Democracy: New York as a Test Case. Lee Benson. Atheneum. New York. 1967.
  • De Witt Clinton and the Rise of the People's Men. Craig Hanyan with Mary L. Hanyan. McGill-Queen's University Press. Montreal and Kingston. 1996.


Assembly: A gathering of persons for the purpose of deliberation and decision; a deliberative body, a legislative council. Please also see House of Representatives.

Oxford English Dictionary

Assembly or General Assembly: the name given to the lower house in New Jersey and New York.

1788 - 1825: New Jersey, New York

Office Scope: State

Role Scope: County