One hundred and seventy six years ago, my great, great, great grandfather's (Dr. James B. Powell) first cousin reluctanly ran for the presidency of the United States as the candidate of the Nullifer Party. As the sitting governor of Virginia, he did not carry a single county in his own state.
John Floyd (April 24, 1783 – August 17, 1837) was a Virginia politician and soldier. He represented Virginia in the United States House of Representatives and later served as the 25th Governor of Virginia.
During his career in the House of Representatives, Floyd was an advocate of settling the Oregon Country, unsuccessfully arguing on its behalf from 1820 until he left Congress in 1829; the area did not become a territory of the United States until 1848.
In 1832, Floyd received votes for the Presidency of the United States, running in the Nullifier Party. He carried South Carolina and its 11 electoral votes. While governor of Virginia, the Nat Turner slave rebellion occurred and Floyd initially supported emancipation of slavery, but eventually went with the majority. His term as governor saw economic prosperity for the state.
The Nullifier Party was a political party based in South Carolina in the 1830s. Started by John C. Calhoun sometime in May–December 1828, it was a states' rights party that supported the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, holding that States could nullify federal laws within their borders.
The Nullifier Party narrowly missed claiming the unofficial title of being the first ever third party to be created within the U.S.; that title is for the Anti-Masonic Party, which was created in New York in February 1828.
The Nullifier Party had several members in both houses of the United States Congress between 1831 and 1839.
Calhoun outlined the principles of the party in his South Carolina Exposition and Protest (1828), a reaction to the "Tariff of Abominations" passed by Congress and signed into law by President John Quincy Adams.
The party supported Calhoun's ally John Floyd of Virginia for the Office of U.S. President in the 1832 election, and the state legislature gave Floyd South Carolina's 11 electoral votes, even though Floyd was not a candidate and had himself unsuccessfully tried to convince Calhoun to run for U.S. President.
As for the party's candidate for the Office of U.S. Vice President, the Massachusetts based political economist, Henry Lee, was selected.