1835 Democratic National Convention

1835 Democratic National Convention
1836 presidential election

Van Buren and Johnson
Date(s) May 20–22, 1835
City Baltimore, Maryland
Venue Fourth Presbyterian Church
Presidential nominee Martin Van Buren of New York
Vice Presidential nominee Richard M. Johnson of Kentucky

The 1835 Democratic National Convention was a presidential nominating convention that was held from May 20 to May 22, 1835, in Baltimore, Maryland. This was the second national convention of the Democratic Party of the United States. The delegates nominated Vice President Martin Van Buren for President and Representative Richard Mentor Johnson of Kentucky for Vice President.

President Andrew Jackson wrote on February 23, 1835, to James Gwin of Tennessee and claimed a preference for someone who would "most likely to be the choice of the great body of republicans" in regard to his successor. He expressed the desire to hold another national convention to nominate candidates for the presidency and vice presidency. He instructed Gwin to show the letter to the editor of the Nashville Republican. The newspaper later reprinted the letter.[1]

Tennessee, Illinois, South Carolina, and Alabama sent no delegates to the convention. Andrew Stevenson of Virginia served as the chairman and convention president. Six convention vice presidents and four secretaries were appointed.

President Jackson had long planned for Vice President Martin Van Buren to succeed him, and Van Buren was the unanimous choice of the delegates for the presidency. Jackson and other major Democrats had settled on Richard Mentor Johnson, a Kentucky congressman who had fought in the War of 1812, as Van Buren's running mate. Many Virginia Democrats instead backed William Cabell Rives, the former Ambassador to France, but Johnson narrowly won the required 2/3 of the vote on the first vice presidential ballot.[2]

Name Home State Delegate Vote Percentage
Richard Mentor Johnson Kentucky 178 67%
William Cabell Rives Virginia 87 33%

A man from Tennessee, Edward Rucker, who was present at the convention but not sent as a delegate, cast all 15 votes Tennessee was entitled to for Van Buren and for Johnson for the contested vice presidential nomination. Johnson was nominated for the vice presidency after he narrowly won more than two-thirds of the total delegates' votes. The delegation of Virginia found the nomination of Johnson unacceptable to the state and declared he would not obtain their support. Letters went out on May 23 from the convention president and vice presidents asking for the acceptance of the nominations by the nominees. Van Buren replied and accepted the nomination on May 29;[3] Johnson, likewise on June 9.[4]

The opposition did not put forward rival candidates for the presidency and vice presidency nominated by national convention. Martin Van Buren defeated his many competitors for the presidency in the election of 1836. The electors of Virginia supported Van Buren, but cast their votes for William Smith for the vice presidency. Richard Mentor Johnson received a plurality, but not a majority, of the electoral votes for the vice presidency. In the subsequent election in the United States Senate, he was elected to the vice presidency.

See also


  1. Niles, Hezekiah, ed. (April 4, 1835), "Gen. Jackson's Letter", Niles' Weekly Register, H. Niles, 48, pp. 80–81
  2. Witcover, Jules (2014). The American Vice Presidency. Smithsonian Books. pp. 90–91.
  3. Niles, Hezekiah, ed. (June 13, 1835), "Mr. Van Buren's Acceptance", Niles' Weekly Register, H. Niles, 48, pp. 257–258
  4. Niles, Hezekiah, ed. (July 11, 1835), "Col. Johnson's Acceptance", Niles' Weekly Register, H. Niles, 48, pp. 329–330


Preceded by
Democratic National Conventions Succeeded by
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