(18.) JOHN C. BELL (1797-1869)
Defeated by Republican Abraham Lincoln/Hannibal Hamlin, 1860
John C. Bell of Tennessee was Tyler’s Secretary of War. Tyler, a Virginia Democrat of the old Republican school, did not get along well with Congress or with his cabinet. Those who supported him were called “The Corporal’s Guard.”
There were wholesale resignations in Tyler’s cabinet, the post of Secretary of War being held by three other men in rapid order. John C. Calhoun, who had broken with Jackson and with the Democrat party over nullification, came back into Tyler’s cabinet and did much to shape the party’s politics.
Among divisions in the party in the 1860 campaign was the constitutional Union party, which nominated Bell for president and Edward Everett of Massachusetts for vice president. Although their platform upheld the Constitution of the Unites States and enforcement of the laws and condemned sectional political parties, Bell carried only three border slave states, ranking fourth in the popular votes.