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the old party organizations. From the fragments of former parties, there existed the material, which if it could be united, and brought together, would constitute a powerful and successful party.

There had been in the great democratic organization, an earnest and powerful element opposed to slavery; but as that party had passed more and more into the control of the slaveholders, this element had been driven out. The old whig party had been broken up; the party calling itself American, was not sufficiently broad, national, and catholic to suit the American people. The time had come, it was believed by many, for the organization of a new party, which should embody the vitality, vigor, and the genuine democratic principles of the ancient democracy; a party which earnestly and heartily believed in the Declaration of Independence; a party that should combine the best elements of the old parties, and all the earnest anti-slavery men of the country.

This new organization needed a leader, and found one, unconciously to itself, and to him, in Abraham Lincoln. He was selected by the instincts of the masses of the people. In principle, in character, he was, of all others, the representative man of this new organization.

The aggressions of the slaveholders, and their outrages in Kansas, had intensified the feeling of hostility to slavery, and in that hostility, was to be found a common bond of union.

Hitherto the democratic party, under the attractive name of democracy, had secured the vote of the foreign born citizens of the republic. But a large and intelligent class, including the Swedes and Norwegians, and a very numerous body of Germans, and others, when they saw an organization distinctly hostile to slavery, which, in all its forms they abhored, placing itself upon the broad principle of liberty, felt that their true position was in the ranks of this new party. If this powerful foreign element could be detached from the democracy, and join the new party now crystalizing, it would contribute very largely towards its early success.

But there were strong prejudices to be overcome between these foreign born citizens and that portion of the new party who had been called Americans.



The new party was organized in the Northwest, and thus the first cordial union between the Americans, and the foreign born citizens, was established upon the basis of hostility to, and the restriction of, slavery. The leaders of this new party called a convention at Pittsburgh, on the 22d of February, 1856. This convention laid down a platform of broad, comprehensive principles, and inaugurated the republican party. F. P. Blair, Sen., was a leading member of this


A convention of the people of Illinois was called at Bloomington, in May, 1856, to appoint delegates to the National convention which was to meet at Philadelphia in June, to nominate candidates for President and Vice President. The free-soil democrats, anti-Nebraska democrats, whigs, Americans, and liberty men of Illinois, and of all nationalities, were brought together at this convention, and mainly through the influence of Mr. Lincoln, united on the broad platform of the Declaration of Independence, and hostility to the extension of slavery.

Great difficulty was found in laying down a satisfactory platform of principles; finally, after much controversy and discussion, with no satisfactory result, Mr. Lincoln, who was present, was sent for by the committee on resolutions, and he solved the difficulty, by suggesting that all could unite on the principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence and hostility to the extension of slavery. This suggestion was immediately accepted. "Let us," said he, "in building our new party, plant ourselves on the rock of the Declaration of Independence," and "the gates of hell, shall not be able to prevail against us." The convention, thereupon resolved,

"That all men are endowed with the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and that the object of government is to secure these rights to all persons within its jurisdiction;" this, and hostility to slavery, and a determination to resist its further extension, was the substance of the platform adopted. Thus was organized the party, that revolutionized the democratic State of Illinois,

against the powerful influence of Douglas, and ultimately elected Mr. Lincoln to the Presidency.

The representatives of this new party from all parts of the free States, and some of the slave States, met at Philadelphia, in June, 1856. The great difficulty in regard to union was again successfully encountered, and overcome, mainly through the influence of Mr. Lincoln, and his friends from the Northwest. The platform was substantially the same as that on which the friends of Mr. Lincoln had determined to fight the battle in Illinois. The convention nominated John C. Frement for President, and William L. Dayton, for Vice President. It was at this convention, that Mr. Lincoln, as the leading statesman of the broad, national Northwest began to be appreciated, and in the informal ballot for Vice President, he received one hundred and ten votes.

The democratic party met at Cincinnati, on the 2d of June, and on the first ballot for President, the vote was for James Buchanan, 135, Franklin Pierce, 122, S. A. Douglas, 33. Ou the sixteenth ballot, the vote stood, Buchanan, 168, Douglas, 121. Buchanan was afterwards nominated, Douglas being considered unavailable, because of his direct connection with the repeal of the Missouri compromise, and Pierce, because of the outrages committed upon the free State setlers in Kansas, under his administration. John C. Breckenridge was nominated for Vice President.

The convention, although it could not nominate Douglas, yet "adopted the principles contained in the organic laws, establishing the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska. It also endorsed the compromise measures of 1850.

By the course of the Southern whigs, in voting for the repeal of the Missouri compromise, and the subsequent support by its leaders, of the compromise measures of 1850, that venerable party was broken up, a large portion of its young and active men joined the free-soil democrats and liberty men, in organizing and strengthening the republican party.

A portion of its aged and very respectable members, sometimes called "Silver Greys," from their venerable appearance, made up, what was called an American party, and these nominated Millard Filmore for President, and Andrew J.



Donellson, for Vice President. When the convention nominating these gentlemen, laid upon the table, a resolution, declaring, "That the convention should nominate no man for President and Vice President, who was not in favor of interdicting the introduction of slavery into territory North of 36° 30", by Congressional action;" about fifty delegates withdrew from the convention, and gave their influence for Fremont and Dayton.

The republican convention, nominating Fremont and Dayton, placed itself distinctly and squarely on the great principle of American freedom so emphatically asserted in the Declaration of Independence, and declared, "That with our republican Fathers, we believe it to be a self-evident truth, that all men are endowed with the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and that it was the object of the Federal Government to secure these rights to all persons, within its exclusive jurisdiction, and the convention denied the right of Congress, a territorial Legislature, or any individual, or association of individuals, to give legal existence to slavery in any territory of the United States, and declared that it was the right and duty of Congress to prohibit in the territories, these twin relics of barbarism, poligamy, and slavery."

Then followed one of the most animated, and closely contested political campaigns known in the history of the repub lic. Up to the time of the October State elections, the success of the repablican party seemed very probable. The democratic party, however, succeeded in carrying, by small majorities, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, and this virtually, settled the contest. Buchanan received 172 electoral votes, Fremont, 114; and Filmore, the vote of the State of Maryland. The republican vote was largely increased, by the outrages upon Northern feeling, in the offensive and inhuman enforcement of the fugitive slave law.

Two incidents occurred, during the year, and before the Presidential election, calculated to inflame the feelings of he free States, and strikingly illustrative of the character of slavery and the barbarism produced by it.

One morning, in January, 1856, two families of slaves escaped from Kentucky, and flying across the Ohio river, on the ice, they found refuge in the house of a poor negro. They were followed, traced, overtaken, and breaking open the door, a scene burst upon the eyes of the pursuers, which exhibits slavery as it was, before the war. In one corner of the room, lay a beautiful child, nearly white, bleeding to death, with its throat cut. In an adjoining room, was the mother of the bleeding child, Margaret Garner, with two other wounded children, with the bloody knife in her hand, seeking to take their lives, desiring to kill all her children rather than they should be taken back to slavery.

They were all arrested, and the living taken back to Kentucky-sent South, and all trace of them lost in that hell of slavery existing in the Gulf States. This mother, who thus sought liberty for her children in death, was a beautiful mulatto, twenty-three years of age, of good character; she said she had determined to kill all her children, and then herself, rather than go back to slavery.

The other incident, to which allusion has been made, was the attack upon Charles Sumner, Senator from Massachusetts, by Preston Brooks, a member of Congress from South Carolina. Mr. Sumner had made an eloquent speech, on the Kansas question, exhibiting the barbarism of slavery, and had spoken, with some severity of Butler, of South Carolina, a relative of Brooks. Mr. Brooks, with Keitt, and other abettors, stole into the Senate Chamber, approached Sumner from behind, while seated, writing at his desk, knocked him to the floor, and continued to beat him, while insensible until his rage was thoroughly satisfied.

The House of Representatives censured, did not expel Brooks. He resigned and was reëlected without opposition. His constituents lauded the "chivalric act!" Sumner's real assassin was slavery! He has lived to see that assassin after striking at the life of the Nation, and at last, thoroughly arousing it-crushed beneath that Nation's manhood and power.

There were, during this canvass, many threats, by leading men in the slave States, that in case Fremont should be

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