Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. W. Harrison Daniel


The purpose of this paper is to examine how the 1856 presidential election campaign was conducted in Virginia. The paper specifically investigates how Virginia newspapers interpreted the events of the campaign. The role played by the political leadership of Virginia in the 1856 election is also examined.

The paper is based on contemporary newspaper editorials and political speeches. The manuscripts of prominent Virginia politicians during the period are also utilized.

The paper illustrates how Democratic newspaper editorials in Virginia used scare tactics to convince readers that Virginia Know-Nothings were abolitionists. Know-Nothing editorials responded by emphasizing support for the Union and repudiating Democratic calls for secession. The paper compares how Democratic and Know-Nothing political leaders in Virginia participated in the 1856 campaign.

Included in

History Commons