Albany Regency, name given, after 1820, to the leaders of the first political machine, which was developed in New York state by Martin Van Buren. The name derived from the charge that Van Buren's principal supporters, residing in Albany, managed the machine for him while he served in the U.S. Senate. During the Jacksonian period the Regency controlled the Democratic party in New York. It was one of the first effective political machines, using the spoils system and rigid party discipline to maintain its control. Notable figures in the Regency were William L. Marcy, Silas Wright, Azariah C. Flagg, and the elder Benjamin F. Butler. After 1842 it split into factions (Barnburners and Hunkers) over issues of internal improvements and slavery, thereby losing its power.
See J. D. Hammond, The History of Political Parties in the State of New York (3 vol., 1852); R. Remini, Martin Van Buren and the Making of the Democratic Party (1959).
Albany, John Stewart, 2nd duke of
J. A. Cannon
ALBANY REGENCY. In the early 1820s, New York "Bucktail" Republicans led by Martin Van Buren fashioned an organization to impose discipline on their faction-ridden, personality-dominated state party. Dubbed the "Albany Regency," their apparatus became famous, and notorious, as the prototypical political machine, using caucuses and patronage to control its ranks and rewarding loyalty with political promotion. The organization backed Andrew Jackson for president in 1828 and affiliated with the Jackson-led national Democratic Party. It elevated Van Buren to national stature along with New York senators William L. Marcy (spokesman for the political Spoils System) and Silas Wright. It lost its dominance in state politics with the rise of the Whigs and dissolved into factions in the 1840s.