chapter  2
Models of American Heroism
Pages 19

Thurlow Weed was a major figure in American politics in the nineteenth century. Weed was the dominant figure in New York state politics for thirty years, first leading the Whig party and then taking a prominent role in the formation of the Republican party and its subsequent presidential victory at the onset of the Civil War. In the contest for the Republican presidential nomination, Weed had backed his state's senator, William Seward, who was the strong front-runner, while reportedly offers to support Lincoln as the vice-presidential nominee. Seward and boss Thurlow Weed fought against nativism, but finally they agreed to compromise sufficiently to win support of a large enough portion of the nativism-motivated voters. Patriotism, to Weed, necessarily involved party loyalty. Weed faces a new opposition, the Know-Nothing or American party, founded on an anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic program. Finally, as his beloved Whig party grew moribund, he led it into fusion with the nascent Republicans.