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Clintonian

The followers of DeWitt Clinton (1769-1828, Governor of New York 1817-1822, 1825-1828), the Clintonians had a life that outlived any other "candidate party" other than the "Jeffersonians" (Republicans) and "Jacksonians" (Democrats). The term first came to use in the 1806 State Assembly elections in New York. "Within New York Republicanism, factional battles developed - first between the Clintonians and Burrites, and then between the Clintonians and Lewisites. In each struggle, Clinton's foes allied with Federalists, and in each the banking power of the Clintonians, exercised through the Manhattan Company, appeared critical to success, emphasizing the ties between Clinton and 'opulent men.' In 1807, Clinton compensated for his increasing distance from the farmers and mechanics who made up the mass of New York voters by backing Daniel D. Tompkins, 'the farmer's boy,' for governor. This step created a Republican alternative to which New York City mechanics and upstate farmers might look for Republican leadership - and an alternative with whom Southerners might ally." (De Witt Clinton and the Rise of the People's Men. Craig Hanyan with Mary L. Hanyan. Montreal, 1996, McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 8) The term found widespread use outside of New York state during the presidential election of 1812 as Clinton became a fusion candidate, running against James Madison with the support of dissident Republicans and Federalists who had no firm candidate of their own. Clinton, after being forced from any political office in 1815, maintained a considerable amount of political power as the primary supporter of the Erie Canal. In 1824, "heading the ticket offered by the People's Movement, he won in an electoral triumph that captured the governorship and almost two-thirds of the state assembly . . . The People's men of New York State launched the earliest broad-based reform movement of the new republic and won control of a state that had one-sixth of the United States' male population. Beginning their effort soon after the introduction of a new state constitution in 1822, the reformers came to power pledged to democratize New York's political process. They accomplished their ends after administering a sharp defeat to the regular Republicans of the State." (Hanyan, p. 4).

"During the campaign [of 1812], Clinton won support from Federalists who were discontented with the Madison administration's entry into a war with Britain that was bound to have devastating effects on the commerce of the United States; the country ought to have peace of adequate protection of its maritime trade." (Hanyan, p 9)

"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)" (Hanyan, p 10)

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.
  • The Birth of Empire: DeWitt Clinton and the American Experience, 1769-1828. Evan Cornog. New York, Oxford University Press, 1998.

Council of Appointment

Council of Appointment: A branch of the New York state government from 1777 to 1822. It was charged with appointing all officers of the state that had not otherwise been listed in the New York Constitution of 1777 as being appointed or elected in a specific way. This included the Secretary of State, Comptroller, Attorney General, Surveyor General, justice of the New York Supreme Court, sheriffs, judges, district attorneys, mayors and all military officers. The Council was abolished by the New York Constitution of 1821 and ceased to exist by the end of 1822.
"That all officers, other than those who, by this constitution, are directed to be otherwise appointed, shall be appointed in the manner following, to wit: The assembly shall, once in every year, openly nominate and appoint one of the senators from each great district, which senators shall form a council for the appointment of the said officers, of which the governor for the time being, or the lieutenant-governor, or the president of the senate, when they shall respectively administer the government, shall be president and have a casting voice, but no other vote; and with the advice and consent of the said council, shall appoint all the said officers; and that a majority of the said council be a quorum. And further, the said senators shall not be eligible to the said council for two years successively." Constitution of New York. April 20, 1777. Article XXIII.
Please also see State Senate or Governor's Council.

1799 - 1822: New York

Office Scope: State

Role Scope: State