Albany Regency, name given, after 1820, to the leaders of the first political machine, which was developed in New York state by Martin Van Buren. The name derived from the charge that Van Buren's principal supporters, residing in Albany, managed the machine for him while he served in the U.S. Senate. During the Jacksonian period the Regency controlled the Democratic party in New York. It was one of the first effective political machines, using the spoils system and rigid party discipline to maintain its control. Notable figures in the Regency were William L. Marcy, Silas Wright, Azariah C. Flagg, and the elder Benjamin F. Butler. After 1842 it split into factions (Barnburners and Hunkers) over issues of internal improvements and slavery, thereby losing its power.
See J. D. Hammond, The History of Political Parties in the State of New York (3 vol., 1852); R. Remini, Martin Van Buren and the Making of the Democratic Party (1959).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.