Seward's law practice became very successful during the 1820s. As the years passed, however, Seward never really warmed up to the idea of being an attorney. Instead, he became attracted to local and state politics. In 1830, he was elected to the state senate, where he quickly emerged as one of New York's brightest young legislators. He maintained his flourishing law practice during this time, but devoted most of his energy to his senatorial duties.
In the mid-1830s, Seward became a dedicated member of the Whigs, a new political party that believed in a strong national bank, high tariffs (taxes on imported goods), and social reforms designed to help poor people. In 1834, he ran for governor of New York as the Whig nominee, only to be decisively defeated. Four years later, however, he won the governor's office by a sizable margin.
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