Skip to main content
Select Source:

Hunkers

Hunkers, conservative faction of the Democratic party in New York state in the 1840s, so named because they were supposed to "hanker" or "hunker" after office. In opposition to them stood the radical Democrats, or Barnburners. The Hunkers favored internal improvements and liberal chartering of state banks; they opposed antislavery agitation. They generally controlled the party machinery and the patronage. In the 1846 gubernatorial nomination they turned against the Democratic candidate, Gov. Silas Wright, a Barnburner. The Barnburners retorted in kind by voting for and supporting the Free-Soil ticket in the 1848 presidential election, which thereby went to the Whig candidate, Zachary Taylor. Those Barnburners who did not persist in their antislavery views were welcomed back to the party fold in 1850. The Hunkers themselves, however, subsequently divided into the "Softs" led by William L. Marcy and Horatio Seymour, who supported President Pierce, and the "Hards" led by Daniel S. Dickinson, who did not give up their antislavery principles and who opposed Pierce.

See J. D. Hammond, History of Political Parties in New York State, Vol. III (1852).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Hunkers." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Hunkers." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 20, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hunkers

"Hunkers." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved November 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/hunkers

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Hunkers

HUNKERS

HUNKERS, the name applied to the conservative faction of New York's Democratic Party in the 1840s. The Hunkers favored spending state surpluses on canals, making internal improvements, and liberally chartering state banks. They supported James K. Polk for president, and they deprecated antislavery agitation. Patronage disputes promoted discord with the progressive element of the party, known as the Barnburners. The Barnburners withdrew from the state Democratic convention in 1847 and the national convention in 1848. A coalition formed in 1850 failed to elect Horatio Seymour governor. By 1853 the terms "Hards" and "Softs" were being used to replace the labels "Hunkers" and "Barnburners."

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Benson, Lee. The Concept of Jacksonian Democracy: New York as a Test Case. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1961.

Donovan, Herbert D. A. The Barnburners: A Study of the Internal Movements in the Political History of New York State and of the Resulting Changes in Political Affiliation, 1830–1852. New York: New York University Press, 1925.

Philip G.Auchampaugh/a. g.

See alsoBarnburners .

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Hunkers." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Hunkers." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 20, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/hunkers

"Hunkers." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved November 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/hunkers

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.