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1848 Democratic National Convention
1848 Presidential Election
LewisCass.png WilliamOButler.png
Date(s) May 22-May 25, 1848
City Baltimore, Maryland
Venue Universalist Church
Presidential Nominee Lewis Cass of Michigan
Vice Presidential Nominee William O. Butler of Kentucky
1844  ·  1852

The 1848 Democratic National Convention was a presidential nominating convention of United States Democratic Party delegates representing all thirty states in the union at the time, met in Baltimore on May 22, 1848. Former Speaker of the House Andrew Stevenson of Virginia was made the president (chair) of the convention. After readopting the two-thirds rule for selecting the nominee, the assembly turned to the thorny problem of competing delegations representing different factions of the New York party. The convention adopted a compromise (by a vote of 126 to 125) of splitting the thirty-six votes between the pro-Van Buren faction and the Hunkers that opposed them. Unsatisfied, the pro-Van Burenite Barnburners withdrew and the remaining New Yorkers refused to vote.

The major competitors for the nomination were Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan, Secretary of State James Buchanan of Pennsylvania, and Supreme Court Justice Levi Woodbury from New Hampshire. On the first ballot Cass received a big lead with 125 of the 290 delegate votes with Buchanan and Woodbuty trailing with 55 and 53 votes respectively. On the next two ballots Cass's total went up while the other candidates began to fall. With 179 votes out of 255 actually voting on the fourth ballot, the chair declared Cass the nominee having surpassed the two-thirds mark of 170 votes.

Turning to the choice of a running mate, the convention picked General William O. Butler of Kentucky over General John A. Quitman of Mississippi, former Senator and Minister to France William R. King of Alabama, Secretary of the Navy John Y. Mason of Virginia, and Congressman James Iver McKay of North Carolina. Before it adjourned on the 26th, this convention also appointed the first Democratic National Committee.

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Preceded by
Democratic National Conventions Succeeded by


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