Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Charles R. Starring

Second Advisor

Dr. Lloyd J. Averill

Third Advisor

Dr. Gerald H. Rigterink

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access



When Judge Levi Baxter rapped for order in the afternoon of July 6, 1854, at Jackson, Michigan, his gavel echoed the discontent gripping the Old Northwest. "Fellow citizens of Michigan...," he said, "let us bow our heads and pray for success in the great enterprise which has brought us here."1 In the oak grove the heads of 4,000 people of conviction bowed in agreement.2 By evening of that day the Republican party of Michigan was an accomplished fact.

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the background of the Jackson convention of July 6, 1854, with particular attention to the role of Kalamazoo County. It will examine the contribution of the Free Boil convention in Kalamazoo on June 21, 1854, and will attempt to show that without this convention, the formation of the state party would have been seriously delayed.