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conviction that slavery is wrong. If slavery is right, all words, acts, laws, and constitutions against it are themselves wrong, and should be silenced and swept away. If it is right, we cannot justly object to its nationality-its universality; if it is wrong, they cannot justly insist upon its extension-its enlargement. All they ask we could readily grant, if we thought slavery right; all we ask they could as readily grant if they thought it wrong. Their thinking it right, and our thinking it wrong, is the precise fact upon which depends the whole controversy. Thinking it right, as they do, they are not to blame for desiring its full recognition as being right; but, thinking it wrong, as we do, can we yield to them? Can we cast our votes with their view, and against our own? In view of our moral, social, and political responsibilities, can we do this?
Wrong as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where it is, because that much is due to the necessity arising from its actual presence in the nation; but can we, while our votes will prevent it, allow it to spread into the national Territories and to overrun us here in these free States?
If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our duty fearlessly and effectively. Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored-contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong; vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man; such as a policy of "don't care" on a question about which all true men do care; such as Union appeals beseeching true Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the divine rule, and calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance; such as invocations to Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington said and undo what Washington did.
Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government, nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might; and in that faith let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it.
THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION
Abraham Lincoln and Senator Hannibal Hamlin [Me.] were nominated for President and Vice-President respectively by the Republican National Convention, which met in Chicago on May 16-18, 1860.
The platform adopted by the convention endorsed
the principles of the Declaration of Independence and their embodiment in the Constitution; denounced the threats of disunion made by members of the Democracy; upheld the right of each State to control its own domestic institutions; denounced the armed invasion of any State or Territory; denounced 'he Buchanan Administration for its Lecompton policy; denounced the Supreme Court for construing, in the Dred Scott case, "the personal relation between master and servant to involve an unqualified property in persons," and for promulgating the "new dogma that the Constitution, of its own force, carried slavery into any or all of the Territories"; declared that "the normal condition of all the territory of the United States is that of freedom," and this condition should be maintained; branded the practical opening of the slave trade under the Buchanan Administration as a "crime against humanity and a burning shame to our country and age"; declared that events in Kansas-Nebraska had proved "the boasted Democratic principle of non-intervention and popular sovereignty" a fraud and a sham; and declared for a protective tariff, the homestead policy, and internal improvements (especially a Pacific railroad), and against discrimination against foreign-born citizens.
THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION
The adjourned Democratic Convention met, as ordered, at Baltimore on June 18. Several contesting delegations were present. The committee on credentials of delegates brought in two reports of which the majority report seating the Douglas delegates was adopted by the convention. Thereupon the delegations from its Southern States and from California and Oregon, as well as a part of the Massachusetts delegation, withdrew, leaving less than two-thirds of the total delegates in the convention. Caleb Cushing [Mass.] resigned the chairmanship. Although the plan of nominating candidates by a two-thirds majority of all the delegates, counting seceders as well as those remaining, which Cushing had decided at Charleston to be the only proper method,
was impossible, the convention proceeded to vote for the presidential candidate. After the third ballot, Stephen A. Douglas was unanimously declared, by resolution, to be the regular candidate of the Democratic party. Herschel V. Johnson [Ga.] was nominated for Vice-President. Of course, the regularity of the nominations was denied by the Anti-Douglas Democrats.
[Between the "Illinois Bantam" and the "Old Cock" of the White House] From the collection of the New York Historical Society
In regard to the platform Douglas had demanded the assertion of the principles of popular sovereignty and non-intervention in the Territories, and this was so done. An article was added declaring it the duty of citizens and the members of the other branches of the Government to submit to the Supreme Court's decisions, future as well as past, with respect to the authority of the people in the Territories over slavery. This declaration, seemingly at variance with his doctrine of popular sovereignty, was accepted by Douglas, evidently as a sop to the South; he did not even attempt to har
monize it with the rest of the platform by any device similar to his "Freeport doctrine" of "unfriendly legislation," indeed, in this omission he seemed to abandon the disastrous "Freeport doctrine" finally and absolutely.
The seceding Democratic delegates from this convention with those chosen by South Carolina and Florida for the Richmond Convention (which was never held) met in a convention of their own in Baltimore on June 28. They chose Cushing for their chairman, unanimously adopted the Charleston minority platform, and nominated Vice-President John C. Breckinridge [Ky.] for President, and Joseph Lane [Ore.] for VicePresident.
Horace Greeley, in his "American Conflict," thus sums up the positions taken by the various parties in the campaign:
Discarding that of the "Constitutional Union" party as meaning anything in general and nothing in particular, the Lincoln, Douglas, and Breckinridge parties had deliberately planted themselves, respectively, on the following positions:
1. Lincoln.-Slavery can exist only by virtue of municipal law; and there is no law for it in the Territories, and no power to enact one. Congress can establish or legalize slavery nowhere, but is bound to prohibit it in or exclude it from any and every Federal Territory, whenever and wherever there shall be necessity for such exclusion or prohibition.
2. Douglas.-Slavery or no slavery in any Territory is entirely the affair of the white inhabitants of such Territory. If they choose to have it, it is their right; if they choose not to have it, they have a right to exclude or prohibit it. Neither Congress nor the people of the Union, or of any part of it, outside of said Territory, has any right to meddle with or trouble themselves about the matter.
3. Breckinridge.-The citizen of any State has a right to migrate to any Territory, taking with him anything which is property by the law of his own State, and hold, enjoy, and be protected in the use of such property in said Territory. And Congress is bound to render such protection wherever necessary, whether with or without the coöperation of the territorial legislature.
The influence of the Buchanan Administration was cast for Breckinridge, and his electors were nominated in nearly every Free State with the evident purpose of defeating Douglas, since it was impossible to win any Northern State for the Southern candidate. However, a coalition of the anti-Lincoln forces was made in several Northern States, although this precluded any assertion of principles by the Democratic campaign speakers, who were forced to content themselves with personal abuse of "Old Abe," and with the prediction that disunion would follow his election.
Nowhere in the South would the Breckinridge party consent to combine with the Douglas party, and this refusal was certain to cause the election of the Bell ticket in a number of the Southern States.
With all these odds against him Senator Douglas made a "whirlwind" campaign, speaking with remarkable force and effectiveness in nearly every free State and in many slave States. Lincoln remained at his home in Springfield, making no speeches and writing little beside a short autobiography, copies of which, with his speeches on the slavery question, were widely circulated as campaign documents, thus making the people acquainted with his homely and simple yet strong personality and the clear honesty of his principles. Many of the Northern States held elections for State officers in September and October, and the almost unvarying success of the Republicans in these showed the certainty of Lincoln's election in November.
The election was held on the 6th of the month, and before midnight of that day it was known that Abraham Lincoln was chosen chief magistrate of the nation; having received the votes of every Northern State save New Jersey (which gave him four of her seven votes) and California and Oregon, from which returns had not been received. The Pacific States also gave him their votes, his total in the Electoral College being 180 votes to 123, which latter were divided as follows: Breckenridge 72, Bell 39 (Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee), and Douglas 12 (Missouri, and 3 votes from New Jersey).