By Robert F. Moss
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Additional resources for Barbecue: The History of an American Institution
By 1816 the Federalists were effectively extinct, and the 1820s were a time of virtual one-party rule, a period known as the “Era of Good Feelings” that would be brief. By the end of the decade, the Democrats had become divided by ideo- logical differences and personal rivalries, culminating in the contentious 1828 presidential race between Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams, which Jackson won by a 178 to 83 margin in the electoral college. A new political party began to coalesce in the mid-1830s, united primarily by opposition to Jackson’s policies, particularly his attack on the Bank of the United States and his forceful response to the Nullification move- ment.
The dinner, and a general treat, was all to be paid for by the party having taken the fewest scalps. I joined one side, taking the place of one of the hunters, and got a gun ready for the hunt. I killed a great many squirrels, and when we counted scalps, my party was victorious. The company had every thing to eat and drink that could be fur- nished in so new a country, and much fun and good humor prevailed. But before the regular frolic commenced, I mean the dancing, I was called on to make a speech as a candidate; which was a business I was as ignorant of as an outlandish negro.
The Founding Fathers had considered political parties to be dangerous because they placed partisanship ahead of principle, but they gradu- ally gained acceptance in the United States, being established first at the state level and then developing into national organizations. It would be a mistake to assume that because new campaign practices appealed to a broader audience they necessarily required politicians to stoop to mindless dema- goguery. Campaign barbecues involved much more than swapping food and drink for votes.
Barbecue: The History of an American Institution by Robert F. Moss