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Free SpiritsSpiritualism, Republicanism, and Radicalism in the Civil War Era$
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Mark A Lause

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040306

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040306.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

Free Democrats to the Republicans

Free Democrats to the Republicans

Radical Spiritualists and the Antislavery Insurgency

(p.23) 1 Free Democrats to the Republicans
Free Spirits

Mark A. Lause

University of Illinois Press

This chapter shows that spiritualism gained its first strong foothold in Washington and began to flourish when Martin Van Buren and kindred politicians trailed back into their Free Soil Party, leaving the antislavery insurgency to the most stalwart radical elements who reorganized as the Free Democratic Party. It explains how these political shifts brought antislavery political leaders to Washington and discusses the growth of spiritualism by 1854–1856 with the rise of sectional tensions. After highlighting the prominence of spiritualists among the Free Democrats, the chapter considers the parallel development and convergence of spiritualism and antislavery politics in New York City. It then examines how the tensions of the spring of 1853–1854 seem to have driven many more people to the spirits and how Kansas became the catalyst for a major shift in Free Democratic circles as well as politics generally. It also explores how spiritualists, particularly in the upper Midwest, made vital decisions that marked the emergence and triumph of a new Republican Party.

Keywords:   spiritualism, Washington, Martin Van Buren, Free Soil Party, antislavery insurgency, Free Democratic Party, antislavery, spiritualists, New York City, antislavery politics

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