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14 T H E C O N S T I T U T I O N A L C O N V E N T I O N O F 1 8 3 5 ONSERVATIVE EASTERN members of the General Assemblywere the predominant cause of the state's failure to move forward during the first three and a half decades of the nineteenth century. They determined the state's role in the national government as well, since United States senators were elected by the legislature. The prestige of Nathaniel Macon, a conservative Republican (Democrat) of Warren County, who was Speaker of the United States House of Representatives during most of the administration of President Thomas Jefferson and president pro tempore of the Senate in 1826 and 1827, also influenced political thinking in the state. North Carolina's leaders demonstrated more concern and participated more generally in matters pertaining to the nation than they did in those important to the state. Easterners dominated the Republican party in North Carolina; however, their support of a do-nothing program, together with a declining interest in national elections, led to a split in the state party. National Issues and North Carolina Politics A question related to the extension of slavery produced the first evidence of this split. In an effort to resolvethe debate over the admissionofnew states to the Union and whether slavery should be permitted in the Louisiana Territory, the Missouri Compromise evolved. With an equal number of slave and free states in the Union in 1819, the question of admitting Missouri as a slave state was critical. Congress considered several versions of a bill involving compromise, but finally Maine was admitted as a free state and Missouri as a slave state on the condition that slavery be prohibited in the future north of 36°3o'N latitude. During the debate of 1819-20 North Carolina's congressional delegation was evenly divided. Westerners favored excluding slavery while those from the east supported its extension. The presidential election of 1824 further split the Republican party. Macon 267 C 268 North Carolina through four Centuries Nathaniel Macon (1758-1837), a veteran of the American Revolution, was considered an old man in 1835. He made his last publicappearanceasa memberof the convention following distinguished service in both houses of Congress and as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Although an aristocrat, educated at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton), and a wealthy planter, he lived a simple life and advocated the cause of the "common folks." He believed in strict economy in government, annual elections, and states' rights, and he did not approve all of the changes proposed for North Carolina in 1835. -Nevertheless, he was highly respected and his policies were supported by a great many people. (North Carolina Divisionof Archives and History, Raleigh) and a majority of the state's congressmen and other political leaderssupported a Georgian, William H. Crawford, who believed in a strict interpretation of the Constitution, states' rights, and governmental economy. He was opposed to internal improvements utilizing federal funds and to a protective tariff; he also rejected the nationalistic program of the national Republican party. Crawford's positions would not benefit western North Carolina. 269 The Constitutional Convention 0/183$ Opposing Crawford wasJohn C. Calhoun ofSouth Carolina. His support of internal improvements, including a new inlet to Albemarle Sound, an inland waterway from Boston to Savannah, and a road from Maine to Louisiana, appealed to both westerners and the people in the sound region. Nevertheless, by the customary legislative caucus North Carolina's support was thrown to Crawford and he became his party's nominee. Led by Charles Fisher of Salisbury, Calhoun's friends secretly formed the "People's Ticket" asan opposition party. The members of this faction soon were aware of agrowing public interest in Andrew Jackson, popularly known as "Old Hickory" and the hero of the Battle of New Orleans. By a compromise Jackson became their candidate for president and Calhoun for vice-president. Appeals to the common people generated support for Jackson. Crawford was called the "caucus" and the "Virginia" candidate, and eastern leaders were criticized for supporting him without testing public opinion. Although Archibald D. Murphey thought Crawford to be better qualified, he supported Jackson rather than have North Carolina follow Virginia's lead asit had done for so many years. New campaign techniques were brought to North Carolina when numerous mass meetings were held. For a change, the "common people" were called upon to decide...


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