Abraham Lincoln, a History — Volume 02 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 452 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, a History — Volume 02.
accurate calculation.  Could the Charleston Convention heal the feud of leaders, and bridge the chasm in policy and principle?  As the time approached, and delegation after delegation was chosen by the States, all hope of accommodation gradually disappeared.  Each faction put forth its utmost efforts, rallied its strongest men.  Each caucus and convention only accentuated and deepened existing differences.  When the convention met, its members brought not the ordinary tricks and expedients of politicians with carte blanche authority, but the precise formulated terms to which their constituencies would consent.  They were only messengers, not arbitrators.  The Charleston Convention was the very opposite of its immediate predecessor, the Cincinnati Convention.  At Cincinnati, concealment and ambiguity had been the central thought and purpose.  Everybody was anxious to be hoodwinked.  Delegates, constituencies, and leaders had willingly joined in the game of “cheat and be cheated.”  Availability, harmony, party success, were the paramount objects.

  [Sidenote] Douglas, Reply to Black, Pamphlet, Oct., 1859.

No similar ambiguity, concealment, or bargain was possible at Charleston.  There was indeed a whole brood of collateral issues to be left in convenient obscurity, but the central questions must not be shirked.  The Lecompton quarrel, the Freeport doctrine, the property theory, the “slave-State” dogma, the Congressional slave code proposal, must be boldly met and squarely adjusted.  Even if the delegates had been disposed to trifle with their constituents, the leaders themselves would tolerate no evasion on certain cardinal points.  Douglas, in his Dorr letter, had announced that he would suffer no interpolation of new issues into the Democratic creed.  In his pamphlet reply to Judge Black he repeated his determination with emphasis.  “Suppose it were true that I am a Presidential aspirant; does that fact justify a combination by a host of other Presidential aspirants, each of whom may imagine that his success depends upon my destruction, and the preaching a crusade against me for boldly avowing now the same principles to which they and I were pledged at the last Presidential election!  Is this a sufficient excuse for devising a new test of political orthodoxy?...  I prefer the position of Senator or even that of a private citizen, where I would be at liberty to defend and maintain the well-defined principles of the Democratic party, to accepting a Presidential nomination upon a platform incompatible with the principle of self-government in the Territories, or the reserved rights of the States, or the perpetuity of the Union under the Constitution.”

  [Sidenote] “Globe,” p. 658.

  [Sidenote] Jefferson Davis, Senate Speech, “Globe,” May 17, 1860,
  p. 2155.

  [Sidenote] “Globe”, March 1, 1860, p. 935.

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Abraham Lincoln, a History — Volume 02 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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