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.
party antagonisms kept them aloof from the Democrats in the South and the Republicans in the North.  In the South, they had been men whose moderate anti-slavery feelings were outraged by the repeal of the Missouri Compromise and the Lecompton trick.  In the North, they were those whose traditions and affiliations revolted at the extreme utterances of avowed abolitionists.  In both regions many of them had embraced Know-Nothingism, more as an alternative than from original choice.  The Whig party was dissolved; Know-Nothingism had utterly failed—­their only resource was to form a new party.

In the various States they had, since the defeat of Fillmore in 1856, held together a minority organization under names differing in separate localities.  All these various factions and fragments sent delegations to Baltimore, where they united themselves under the designation of the Constitutional Union Party.  They proposed to take a middle course between Democrats and Republicans, and to allay sectional strife by ignoring the slavery question.

  [Sidenote] 1860.

Delegates of this party, regular and irregular, from some twenty-two States, convened at Baltimore on the 9th of May.  John J. Crittenden, of Kentucky, called the meeting to order, and Washington Hunt, of New York, was made temporary and permanent chairman.  On Thursday, May 10, they adopted as their platform a resolution declaring in substance that they would “recognize no other political principle than the Constitution of the country, the Union of the States, and the enforcement of the laws.”  They had no reasonable hope of direct success at the polls in November; but they had a clear possibility of defeating a popular choice, and throwing the election into the House of Representatives; and in that case their nominee might stand on high vantage-ground as a compromise candidate.  This possibility gave some zest to the rivalry among their several aspirants.  On their second ballot, a slight preponderance of votes indicated John Bell, of Tennessee, as the favorite, and the convention made his nomination unanimous.  Mr. Bell had many qualities desirable in a candidate for President.  He was a statesman of ripe experience, and of fair, if not brilliant, fame.  Though from the South, his course on the slavery question had been so moderate as to make him reasonably acceptable to the North on his mere personal record.  He had opposed the repeal of the Missouri Compromise and the Lecompton outrage.  But upon this platform of ignoring the political strife of six consecutive years, in which he had himself taken such vigorous part, he and his followers were of course but as grain between the upper and nether millstones.  Edward Everett, one of the most eminent statesmen and scholars of New England, was nominated for Vice-President.

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