CDV OF JOHN BELL 1860 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE

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Item Code: 1138-1601

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Seated studio view of Bell with suit and tie. Clear image with good contrast. Plain mount remains in excellent condition. Photographer's backmark, E. Anthony, New York from a Brady negative.

John Bell (February 18, 1796 – September 10, 1869) was an American politician, attorney, and planter who was a candidate for President of the United States in the election of 1860.

One of Tennessee's most prominent antebellum politicians, Bell served in the House of Representatives from 1827 to 1841, and in the Senate from 1847 to 1859. He was Speaker of the House for the 23rd Congress (1834–1835), and briefly served as Secretary of War during the administration of William Henry Harrison (1841). In 1860, he ran for president as the candidate of the Constitutional Union Party, a third party which took a neutral stance on the issue of slavery, and won the electoral votes of three states.

Initially an ally of Andrew Jackson, Bell turned against Jackson in the mid-1830s and aligned himself with the Whig Party, a shift that earned him the nickname "The Great Apostate." He consistently battled Jackson's allies, namely James K. Polk, over issues such as the national bank and the election spoils system. Following the death of Hugh Lawson White in 1840, Bell became the acknowledged leader of Tennessee's Whigs.

Although a slaveholder, Bell was one of the few Southern politicians to oppose the expansion of slavery to the territories in the 1850s, and he campaigned vigorously against secession in the years leading up to the American Civil War. During his 1860 presidential campaign, he argued that secession was unnecessary since the Constitution protected slavery, an argument that resonated with voters in border states, helping him capture the electoral votes of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia. After the beginning of the Civil War, Bell abandoned the Union cause and supported the Confederacy.

He died at his home near Dover, Tennessee in 1869, and he is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Nashville.

From the late William A. Turner collection.    [jet] [PH:L]

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