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HISTORY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
States in which they had previously acquired citizenship with the consequent guarantee to them of similar equality and privileges in all the States as expressly conferred by the Federal Constitution (Article IV, Section 2). As Missouri was not subjected to the indignity of being constrained to surrender her sovereign privilege of writing her own Constitution, and as the rights of the matter were based only on the Federal Constitution, to which the protagonists of slavery always urged a strict obedience, a majority of the southern members accepted the new compromise. The north was more reluctant, but finally gave the required support. By the close vote of 86 to 82 the measure was passed in the House (February, 1821), and it was promptly agreed to by the Senate. Missouri complied with the fundamental condition, and the fierce struggle
An understanding of the principal circumstances and details involved in the Missouri Compromise, or rather compromises, is indispensable to a correct appreciation of the many and extraordinary subsequent phases of the political slavery controversy, especially as related to party attitudes and acts. At the present distance of time, with the absolute unanimity of opinion on the subject of slavery that has come to be established, it seems to many strange that an affirmative policy on the part of the north concerning the whole question was so long delayed, and even when ventured upon was the policy of only the major part of the north and so remained until the crisis of war enforced a measurably complete acceptance of it. But the long delay and divi
sion of the north resulted logically from very powerful and persuasive facts and conditions. There was the original compact of the States, which recognized and tolerated slavery, not, it is true, expressly (the word slavery does not appear in the Constitution), but most indisputably by inference and arrangement; there was the horror of disruption of the Union; there were the intimate and indispensable interrelations with the south; there were the numerous other questions and matters in no wise related to slavery, and the exciting and engrossing events incidental to the further expansion of the country, such as the acquisition of Texas, the settlement of the northwestern boundary, the war with Mexico, and the great migratory movement to the west; and finally there was the belief that the slavery issue had been settled by the Compromise of 1820, which was based upon a principle and restriction satisfactory to the prevailing sentiment of the north. This Compromise operated for a quarter of a century entirely to compose the political trouble about slavery, and even for quite a time had an incidence toward discouraging the moral and philosophical discussion of the topic.1 The anti-slavery feeling continued, however,
1When Jackson became President, in 1829, anti-slavery seemed, after fifty years of effort, to have spent its force. The voice of the churches was no longer heard in protest; the Abolitionist societies were dying out; there was hardly an Abolitionist militant in the field; the Colonization Society absorbed most of the public interest in the subject, and it was doing nothing to help either the free negro or the slave; in Congress there was only one antislavery man, and his efforts were without avail. It was a gloomy time for the little band of people who believed that slavery was poisonous to the south, hurtful to the north, and dangerous to the Union.-Albert Bushnell Hart, The American Nation, vol. xvi, p. 165.
HISTORY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
in the States, and after some years began to show a steady increase as the result of agitation and also to exert pressure on Congress through the agency of petitions and by the sympathetic action of individual Representatives and Senators. But neither of the great parties of the period at any time gave it countenance.
PARTIES FROM 1832 TO 1856
ESUMING now our account of the positions of national parties, the remainder of this record
will be largely devoted to their successive platform declarations, which, as has been seen, began with the Presidential campaign of 1832.
The first national nominating convention of delegates was held by the Anti-Masonic party in Baltimore on September 26, 1831. This organization, dating from the year 1826, was founded on the program of opposition to secret societies bound together by oaths. After enjoying some vogue for several years it went out of existence. In the 1832 campaign it was at its height. The convention was presided over by John C. Spencer, of New York. Thirteen States were represented, with 112 delegates present.
William Wirt, of Maryland, was nominated for President, and Amos Ellmaker, of Pennsylvania, for Vice-President.
No platform of principles was adopted, but a committee was appointed to issue an address to the people,
HISTORY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
which duly appeared. It recited the ideas of the party at considerable length, declaring that the secret societies constituted an institution which had become a political engine, and that political agencies were required to avert the baneful effects.
National Republican Party
The convention assembled in Baltimore on the 12th of December, 1831-Abner Lacock, of Pennsylvania, being temporary chairman, and James Barbour, of Virginia, permanent chairman. There were 157 delegates, from seventeen States.
Nominations, both both unanimous :-for President, Henry Clay, of Kentucky; for Vice-President, John Sergeant, of Pennsylvania.
An address was adopted, but no platform. The address arraigned the administration of President Jackson with great acerbity, asserting, among other things, that
"The political history of the Union for the last three years exhibits a series of measures plainly dictated in all their principal features by blind cupidity or vindictive party spirit, marked throughout by a disregard of good policy, justice, and every high and generous sentiment, and terminating in a dissolution of the cabinet under circumstances more discreditable than any of the kind to be met with in the annals of the civilized world."
A special feature of this address was a strong plea for rechartering the United States Bank, which was incorporated in it by the insistence of Clay, who regarded the Bank issue as the strongest one that could be urged in the campaign. Other features were condemnations of the administration for its spoils policy,