open-air meetings and processions, between the adherents of the rival parties.
Politically, the steady movement toward making the government absolutely democratic was checked by curious side-fights. The Whig party was the regular, and at times the successful, opponent of the Democracy throughout the middle part of this period. The Democratic party contained, as always, the bulk of the foreign and Catholic voters; its strength lay in the poor wards. Hence it was always in danger when any new popular faction arose. In 1830 a short-lived labor party was started, but this came to nothing. In 1834 the first elective mayor was chosen by universal suffrage. The contest was very close; and the Democrat, Lawrence, was chosen over the Whig, Verplanck, by only a couple of hundred votes, out of thirty-five thousand. Among the heads of the Democratic party were still to be found some influential merchants and the like; as yet the mere demagogue politicians did not dare to make themselves the titular leaders. Lawrence was a wealthy gentleman. On New Years day he threw open his doors to all callers, as was then the general custom. But the mass of ward-leaders and political heelers of every kind who thronged his house, turned it into a bear garden, destroying everything until he had to summon the police to rid him of his guests. The Democracy