Abraham Lincoln, a History — Volume 02 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 377 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, a History Volume 02.
of 1856.  All these devices had, however, confessedly failed of their object.  Northern emigration and anti-slavery sentiment were clearly in possession of Kansas, and a majority of voters stood ready upon fair occasion to place her in the column of free-States.  It had become a game on the chess-board of national politics.  The moving pieces stood in Missouri and Kansas, but the players sat in Washington.  In reality it was a double game.  There was plot and under-plot.  Beneath the struggle between the free-States and the slave-States were the intrigue and deception carried on between Northern Democrats and Southern Democrats.  The Kansas-Nebraska act was a double-tongued statute, and the Cincinnati platform a Janus-faced banner.  Momentary victory was with the Southern Democrats, for they had secured the nomination and election of President Buchanan—­“a Northern man with Southern principles.”

  [Sidenote] Walker to Cass, July 15, 1857.  Senate Ex.  Doc.  No. 8,
  1st Sess. 35th Cong.  Vol.  I., p. 32.

  [Sidenote] Walker to Cass, Dec. 15, 1857.  Ibid., p. 122.

Determined to secure whatever prestige could be derived from high qualification and party influence, Buchanan tendered the vacant governorship of Kansas to his intimate personal and political friend, Robert J. Walker, of Mississippi, a man of great ability and national fame, who had been Senator and Secretary of the Treasury.  Walker, realizing fully the responsibility and danger of the trust, after repeated refusals finally accepted upon two distinct conditions:  first, that General Harney should be “put in special command in Kansas with a large body of troops, and especially of dragoons and a battery,” and retained there subject to his military directions until the danger was over; and second, that he “should advocate the submission of the constitution to the vote of the people for ratification or rejection.”

  [Sidenote] March 7, 1856.  June 25, 1856.

This latter had now become a vital point in the political game.  The recent action of the Territorial Legislature and Geary’s already mentioned veto message were before the President and his Cabinet.[2] But much more important than these moves in Kansas was the prior determination of prominent Washington players.  During the Kansas civil war and the Presidential campaign of the previous year, by way of offset to the Topeka Constitution, both Senator Douglas and Senator Toombs wrote and introduced in the Senate bills to enable Kansas to form a State constitution.  The first by design, and the second by accident, contained a clause to submit such constitution, when formed, to a vote of the people.  Both these bills were considered not only by the Senate Committee on Territories, of which Douglas was chairman, but also by a caucus of Democratic Senators.  Said Senator Bigler:  “It was held, by those most intelligent on the subject, that in view of all the difficulties surrounding that Territory, [and] the danger of any experiment at that time of a popular vote, it would be better that there should be no such provision in the Toombs bill; and it was my understanding, in all the intercourse I had, that that convention would make a constitution and send it here without submitting it to the popular vote."[3]

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