Chapter

Politics, Stump Speaking, and How the West Was Won

James A. Ramage and Andrea S. Watkins

in Kentucky Rising

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780813134406
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813135977 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5810/kentucky/9780813134406.003.0005
Politics, Stump Speaking, and How the West Was Won

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Politicians made themselves known through stump speaking. Kentuckians would come from miles away to hear the orators loudly proclaim their positions and gesticulate wildly atop their stand. In one of Kentucky's greatest crises, from 1823 to 1825, the Relief Party, demanding help for debtors unable to pay for their land in the panic and depression of 1819, challenged sound banking, constitutional protection of contracts, and independence of the judiciary. The conflict pitted the Old Court against the New Court in most of the political decisions facing the state. The three great political issues during the period were debtor relief, internal improvements, and public education. The recurrent theme in the political history of antebellum Kentucky is that the people and their political leaders were not only interested in economic progress, they were also genuinely humane.

Keywords: politics; stump speaking; Old Court; New Court; Relief Party; Whig; democrat; republican

Chapter.  6450 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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