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Freeport Lincoln asked, how could a territory forbid slavery when Congress could not? Did a territory have more power than the Congress which created it? Douglas answered that legislation hostile to slavery by the people of a territory would make the territory free soil in spite of the Dred Scott decision. This view was in direct opposition to the Southern position that it was the duty of Congress to protect slave property in the territories.
Douglas won the senatorial fight by a majority of eight votes in the legislature, but Lincoln had forced him into a position which cost him the support of the Southern Democrats two years later. The debate brought Lincoln, who was a comparatively unknown man, into national prominence and led to his nomination
JOHN BROWN. for the presidency in 1860.
In October, 1859, the country was thrown into a state of feverish excitement by the. announcement that John Brown, who had achieved evil notoriety in
The John Kansas, had with the aid of eighteen conspirators Brown raid, seized the United States Arsenal at Harper's
1859 Ferry, Virginia, with the intention of arming the negro slaves and starting a servile insurrection. His intention was to carry the arms from the arsenal to the neighboring mountains and establish “camps of freedom" to which the slaves could resort.
United States troops and Virginia militia were at once
rushed to the scene and after a stout resistance, in which ten of his followers were killed, Brown was captured. During the trial that followed he displayed extraordinary fortitude and would make no defense except that he had been commissioned by God to free the slaves of the South. His serene manner and strange words impressed those who heard him during the trial and won him thousands of friends at the North. He was condemned and hanged by authority of the State of Virginia. It was found in the investigation that funds and firearms had been furnished him by prominent men at the North, among them Gerrit Smith, Theodore Parker, T. W. Higginson, G. L. Stearns, F. B. Sanborn, and Dr. S. G. Howe.
ame known, Gerrit Smith went mad, Howe, Stearns, and Sanborn fled to Canada ; Theodore Parker had already gone to Europe; Higginson remained in Boston and was not disturbed. Some of these men knew Brown's plans in detail; others claimed that they thought the arms were intended for Kansas. Many men of note at the North indorsed Brown's deed, and he soon became a popular hero. The affair had a most unfortunate effect on public opinion at the South. It strengthened the hands of the radicals and solidified the forces that were making for secession.
1. The Cuban Question: T. C. Smith, Parties and Slavery, pp. 85–88; Rhodes, History of the United States, Vol. II, Chap. VI; McMaster, Vol. VIII, pp. 133–143, 161-164, 181–186, 332– 361.
2. The Fugitive Slave Law in Practice: Smith, pp. 22–27; Rhodes, Vol. I, pp. 207-226, 499–506; Schouler, Vol. V, pp. 204214, 293–296; McMaster, Vol. VIII, pp. 46–54.
3. The Kansas-Nebraska Bill: Smith, Chap. VII; Rhodes, Vol. I, pp. 424–498; Jefferson Davis, Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, Vol. I, pp. 26–34; Schouler, Vol. V, pp. 279–293; McMaster, Vol. VIII, pp. 192–231; Allen Johnson, Stephen A.
Douglas, Chap. XI; P. O. Ray, Repeal of Missouri Compromise, Chap. IV; F. H. Hodder, “ Genesis of Kansas-Nebraska Act in Wisconsin Historical Society Proceedings, 1912, pp. 69–86.
4. The Border War in Kansas: Smith, Chap. IX; Rhodes, Vol. II, Chap. VII; McMaster, Vol. VIII, pp. 215–264; Schouler, Vol. V, pp. 320–363, 382–400.
5. The Election of 1856: Smith, Chap. XII; Stanwood, Chap. XX; Rhodes, Vol. II, Chap. VIII; McMaster, Vol. VIII, pp. 264-276.
6. The Dred Scott Case: Smith, Chap. XIV; Rhodes, Vol. II, Chap. IX; McMaster, Vol. VIII, pp. 278–282; Schouler, Vol. V, pp. 376–381.
7. The Lincoln-Douglas Debates: Smith, Chap. XVI; Rhodes, Vol. II, pp. 302–343; McMaster, Vol. VIII, pp. 317–337; Johnson, Stephen A. Douglas, Chap. XVI.
8. John Brown: F. E. Chadwick, Causes of the Civil War, Chap. V; Jefferson Davis, Vol. I, pp. 35–47; Rhodes, Vol. II, pp. 384416; Oswald Garrison Villard, John Brown.
WHEN the campaign of 1860 opened Douglas was the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination, but
the Lincoln-Douglas debates had made him an The division in the
unacceptable candidate to the Southern wing of Democratic the party. The Democratic National Conparty, 1860
vention met in Charleston, South Carolina, April 23, 1860. Douglas had a majority of the delegates, but it was soon evident that he could not secure the necessary two thirds. As the California and Oregon delegations acted with the South, the anti-Douglas men had 17 out of 33 States, and hence, a majority of the committee on resolutions. They reported a platform embodying a series of resolutions which Jefferson Davis had introduced in the Senate in January, 1860. These resolutions repudiated the theory of popular sovereignty, upheld the decision of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case, called on Congress to protect slavery in every territory of the United States, and demanded the repeal of the personal liberty laws in the Northern States.
The minority report presented by the Douglas men reaffirmed the platform adopted by the party four years before at Cincinnati, which upheld the doctrine of popular sovereignty. After a long wrangle, the Douglas platform was adopted by a vote of 165 to 138. Yancey, the chairman of the Alabama delegation, then arose and announced the withdrawal of Alabama from the convention. Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, Florida, Texas, and Arkansas followed
On the following day the convention decided that two thirds of the whole electoral vote was necessary to nominate a ticket, and proceeded with the balloting. On the first ballot Douglas received 145 votes, Nomination
of Douglas Hunter 42, Guthrie 35, and 30 votes were scat- by the tered among six other candidates. In the next Northern
wing, and of two days the convention cast 57 ballots. On Breckinseveral ballots Douglas received 162 votes, ridge by the which was a majority but not two thirds. As there seemed no chance of reaching a nomination, the convention then adjourned to meet in Baltimore on July 18. The delegates who had seceded from the convention met in another hall in Charleston and formed a separate body, electing James A. Bayard of Delaware as chairman, and after adopting the platform which the regular convention had rejected, they adjourned to meet in Richmond.
When the regular convention reassembled in Baltimore an effort was made to bring the two wings of the party together, but as soon as the convention was organized Virginia led another secession, followed by most of the delegates from Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Maryland. This time the seceders carried with them the chairman of the convention, Caleb Cushing of Massachusetts. The regulars then proceeded to balloting and on the second ballot nominated Stephen A. Douglas as their candidate for the presidency. They then reaffirmed the platform adopted at Charleston and adjourned.
The Democrats who bolted at Baltimore proceeded at once to nominate John C. Breckinridge as their candidato, and this nomination was confirmed by the first group of bolters who had assembled in Richmond. Breckinridge's wing adopted the platform which had been rejected by the Charleston convention.
Meanwhile, the Republican Convention had assembled in Chicago on May 16. Seward had for some time been