Third parties have rarely fared well in American politics. The Free Soil Party of the pre-Civil War days, for example, had at its height a handful of congressional representatives and served primarily as a spoiler between the two major parties, the Whigs and the Democrats. Still, the Free Soilers were a key precursor to the Republican Party, which came into its own with the 1860 presidential election of Abraham Lincoln, supplanting the Whigs.
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In his study of Free Soil politics from 1824 to 1854, Jonathan H. Earle, examines the role of former Jacksonian Democrats with their egalitarian, anti-big-money-power rhetoric, embodied in the 1829-1837 presidency of Andrew Jackson, in the creation of the Free Soil ideology.
The review of this Book prepared by Rick Burnett