The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915 Page: 50
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
gress; and its candidate for Governor against Pease, although
defeated, received nearly eighteen thousand votes. After that time,
though they did not put forth any candidates for state offices,
Know-Nothing votes were, for several years, nevertheless, of con-
siderable consequence in state elections.
This party affected the secession movement only indirectly. It
stood for the preservation and perpetuation of the constitution and
the federal union; opposed the formation of sectional parties; and
believed in a strict construction of the constitution and the pres-
ervation of the rights of the states.13 It was therefore a Unionist
party, and opposed the more radical sentiments of the Southern
Democrats. Houston and many of the Unionists of Texas were
affiliated with the party for a time. The Democratic party, re-
cently reorganized on the basis of national issues, was able to de-
feat the Know-Nothing candidates for state offices; but by 1857,
the American party, having given up its secret methods, emerged
well organized, independent, and ready for combat. Then it was
necessary for the Democrats to unite all available forces in order
to defeat Houston for the governorship.
The Democratic party in its first state platform, in 1855, rec-
ognized the existence of the national controversy over slavery,
and from that time on until Texas withdrew from the Union, the
party's platforms were devoted almost entirely to the all-prevailing
question. In 1855, the party stood for strict adherence to the
principles of state rights; maintained that Congress had no right
to interfere in the affairs of sovereign states; condemned the
attacks of the North upon the integrity of the constitution and
the rights of the South; endorsed the principles of the Kansas-
Nebraska bill, and denounced the Know-Nothing party as the
enemy of good government.1"
2. Houston Censured for Vote on Kansas-Nebraska Bill
Immediately after the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill pub-
lic opinion changed rapidly and radically in regard to the national
"Party Platform of State Convention held at Austin, January 21, 1856.
-Galveston News, February 5, 1856.
'4Galveston News, June 23, 1855.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 18, July 1914 - April, 1915, periodical, 1915; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101064/m1/56/: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.