1851: The final death of the Richmond Junto

In Ammon’s words (“the Richmond Junto” article), ” The instrument of its power was destroyed by the constitution of  1851, which, in addition to granting universal manhood suffrage, deprived the legislature of its power to elect state officials and destroyed the vested interest of the landed aristocracy in the county court by making it subject to popular election. The Junto did not choose, or was unable to make the transition from aristocratic leadership to popular manipulation.”

But overall, the Junto was “uniquely related to the Virginia scene,” in the best sense per Ammon:

Deriving its power from a ready adaptation to the inherited tradition of aristocratic leadership, the Richmond Junto remained loyal to the concept of disinterested public service, which had been an integral part of the eighteenth century political habits of Virginia. Consequently, there was little of self-seeking ambition to be found in the Virginia scene, and no effort was made to create a substantial patronage as an inducement to party service. Indeed, the latter was practically non-existent (unlike New York where it was paramount, for state officials were poorly paid and all were elected by the legislature. There seems to be no evidence of the seeking of personal gain other than…isolated instances…”