The Washington Fraternity in the Antebellum Era

Congressmen created a political fraternity full of Washington insiders -- almost an inside-the-beltway mentality long before the beltway existed.

Lecture Description

In the 1840s and 1850s, congressmen who came to Washington, DC formed intimate relationships with one another in boardinghouses, hotels, gambling dens, and bars. These relationships helped shape how politicians responded to the increasingly tense atmosphere around the country as the fight over slavery intensified. While congressmen fanned the flames of sectional discord through what was known as buncombe speechmaking –the art of making speeches only for their constituents — they simultaneously found themselves unprepared for the severity of the conflict that would come in the winter of 1860-61.

CATEGORIES

Antebellum Politics

ALL TOPICS & TITLES: Go back to all topics and titles.


More Distinguished Lectureship Program Resources