John Meador


The Compromise of 1850 which temporarily settled the sectional dispute over slavery in the territories, had a great impact upon the political party structure in the United States. The ultimate result was the destruction of the Whig party, even though it was that party’s leaders, Clay and Webster, who had been chiefly responsible for the Compromise. In the North, most of the party was drawn into the new Republican party, while its southern members either joined the Democrats or found refuge in such wobbly makeshifts as the American and Opposition parties. What the Compromise did to southern Whigs appears particularly ironic when one considers that they were among its staunchest supporters. Its effects upon them, and on southern politics in general, may be observed by studying political trends in Florida during the 1850-1854 period.