For no creed, no form of worship, no act of his life, is a man more directly responsible to God, than for casting his vote or the non-fulfillment of that duty. When the nominations were made for the second State election in 1859, Gen. Lowrie had lost ground so fast that he needed the indorsement of his party. This was given in his nomination for Lieut. Governor. The Republicans nominated Ignatius Donnelly, a fiery young orator, who took the stump, and was not deterred by any super-refinement from making the most of his opponent’s reputation as the stealthy destroyer of a printing office, because he had made a bad bargain in buying its editor. He and the party which had made his methods its own by nominating him, were held up to the most unmerciful ridicule. The canvass seemed to turn on the indorsement or repudiation of border-ruffianism, press-breaking, woman-mobbing. My personnel had then become familiar to the people of the State, and the large man who instituted a mob to suppress a woman of my size, and then failed, was not a suitable leader for American men, even if they were Democrats.
The death-knell of Democratic rule in Minnesota was rung in that election. The whole Republican State ticket was elected, with Gov. Ramsey at its head, and he was the first Governor to tender troops to President Lincoln for the suppression of the Rebellion. The result was gratifying, although our own county, Stearns, was overwhelmingly Democratic, and must remain so, since the great mass of the people were Catholics.
However, the election of the State ticket was largely due to the personal popularity of Gov. Ramsey, and this could not be depended upon for a lasting arrangement, so I spent the winter following lecturing through the State, sowing seed for the coming presidential campaign. I never spoke in public during an election excitement, never advocated on the platform the claims of any particular man, but urged general principles.
Stephen Miller was our St. Cloud delegate to the Chicago Convention which nominated Mr. Lincoln, led the canvass in the State, as the most efficient speaker and was chairman of the Electoral College. His prominent position in the Border Ruffian war added largely to his popularity in the State, and once more that little printing office under the grand old trees was plunged into politics; this time into an election on which hung the destinies of the nation. How that election was carried on in other States I know not, but in Minnesota the banner of Republicanism and human freedom was borne aloft over a well fought field. There was not much surface work. Men struggled for the Right against the old despotism of Might, and planted their cause on foundations more enduring than Minnesota granite itself.