Political parties are no stranger to tensions and upheaval, and those battles often play out publicly in presidential nominating conventions. Whether its slavery, immigration, segregation or war, the dominant issues of the day become fractious political lines.
Election of 1860: Slavery Splits the Democrats
1860 is remembered as landing one of America’s most revered and consequential presidents in office. But Abraham Lincoln’s election, and his subsequent assault on slavery, might not have happened had the Democratic Party not been in such disarray.
1912 Republican Convention: TR Starts the Bull Moose Party
The animosity between William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt – who were at one point in time good friends – was palpable, with insults like puzzlewit and honeyfugler being thrown about. Their battle transformed the primary process and American politics forever.
1924 Democratic Convention: Tension Over Immigration
At the 1924 Democratic Party national convention, the political power of urban immigrants, versus the increasing influence of the Ku Klux Klan led to the longest convention in the history of American politics. Immigration has been a defining issue in a campaign before, and the consequences transformed the Democratic Party.
1964 Republican Convention: Chaos & Conservatism
After disciplined and combative conservative forces successfully nominated Senator Barry Goldwater, the party’s moderates sabotaged their own nominee at the convention, virtually ensuring President Lyndon Johnson’s landslide victory in November.
1968 Democratic National Convention: The Mess in Chicago
The 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago has been defined by the street battle between city police and anti-war protesters, but an equally important fight took place behind the cameras.