Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Original Dough Faces -- Or Is That Doe Faces?

In an earlier post I discussed the origin of the term “dough face” and whether it was “dough face” or “doe face.”

Add Glover Moore to those who squarely straddle the fence:
Because of a misinterpretation of a remark made by John Randolph, the eighteen Northerners who made it possible to admit Missouri without restriction [on slavery] became known as “dough faces.” . . . Perhaps he regarded absentees and last minute converts as half-baked or easily molded, or they may have reminded him of children who daubed their faces with dough and became frightened by a glance at the mirror. It is also possible that the epithet should be spelled “doe faces” and was an allusion to the timidity of the female deer.

Moore notes that, whether or not Randolph had particular individuals in mind, eighteen northern members of the House of Representatives who either did not vote or voted in favor of removing the anti-slavery restriction on March 2, 1820 were forever tarred with the epithet. For the record, four northern Representatives were absent during the vote (“DR” stands for Democratic-Republican; “F” for Federalist; and “U” unclear):

Caleb Tompkins (DR, New York) (brother of Vice President Daniel D. Tompkins)
Walter Case (DR, New York)
Harmanus Peek (DR, New York)
Henry W. Edwards (DR, Connecticut)

Fourteen northern Representatives voted affirmatively to strike the anti-slavery proviso:

Mark L. Hill (DR, Massachusetts)
John Holmes (DR, Massachusetts) (no, not that John Holmes)
Jonathan Mason (F or U, Massachusetts)
Henry Shaw (DR, Massachusetts)
Samuel Eddy (DR, Rhode Island)
James Stevens (DR, Connecticut)
Samuel A. Foote (DR, Connecticut) (who later inadvertently precipitated the Webster-Hayne debate)
Henry Meigs (DR, New York)
Henry R. Storrs (F, New York)
Joseph Bloomfield (DR, New Jersey)
Charles Kinsey (DR, New Jersey)
Bernard Smith (DR, New Jersey)
Henry Baldwin (DR or U, Pennsylvania) (a future Justice of the Supreme Court)
David Fullerton (DR, Pennsylvania)

The final vote in the house was 90 for eliminating the anti-slavery provision, 87 for retaining it. No Representative from a slaveholding state voted for retention. The dough face votes and abstentions were thus critical.

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