- Donald T. Critchlow
In the ten years following the 1844 election the entire political landscape changed, including the demise of the Whig party and the rise of a powerful new northern party, the Republican Party. The catalyst for this dramatic political upheaval came from a single issue—slavery—that divided the North and the South over the proper role of government. ‘The politics of slavery: prelude to the Civil War, 1844–60’ describes the debates on slavery and the election campaigns of James Polk (1844), Zachary Taylor (1848), Franklin Pierce (1852) and James Buchanan (1856). It concludes with the election of Abraham Lincoln of the Republican Party, who ran on an antislavery ticket, and the resulting secession of South Carolina in 1860.