The Abolitionists eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 198 pages of information about The Abolitionists.

That the slaveholders reached the same conclusion that Birney and Adams and Lincoln announced, viz., that the country was to be all one thing or all the other thing, is as manifest as any fact in our history.  It is equally certain that they had firmly resolved to capture the entire commonwealth for their “institution,” and had laid their plans to that end.  They were unwilling to live in a divided house, particularly with an occupant who was stronger in population and wealth than they were.

They saw the danger in such association.  Northern sentiment toward slavery was complacent enough, even servilely so, but it might change.  The South thought it had too much at stake to take the chances when the opportunity for absolute safety and permanent rule was within its reach.  It resolved to make the whole country, not only pro-slavery, but slaveholding.  If, through any mischance, it failed in its calculation, the next step would be to tear down the house and from its ruins reconstruct so much of it as might be needed for its own occupancy.  That it would be able in time to possess itself of the whole country, however, for and in behalf of its industrial policy, it did not for an instant doubt.  It was not empty braggadocio on the part of the celebrated Robert Toombs, of Georgia, when he uttered his famous boast.[1] He voiced the practically unanimous opinion of his section.

[1] See page 13.

Nor was there anything seemingly very presumptuous in that anticipation.  So far, the South had been invariably victorious.  In what appeared to be a decisive battle in the test case of admitting Missouri into the Union as a slave State, it had won.  So pronounced was its triumph that whatever Anti-Slavery sentiment survived the conflict appeared to be stunned and helpless.  All fight was knocked out of it.  Its spirit was broken.  While the South was not only compact and fully alive, but exultingly aggressive, the North was divided, fully one half of its population being about as pro-slavery as the slaveholders themselves, and the rest, with rare exceptions, being hopelessly apathetic.  The Northern leaders of both of the old political parties—­Whig and Democratic—­were what the Abolitionists called “dough-faces,” being Northern men with Southern principles.  The Church was “a dumb dog,” and the press simply drifted with the tide.  It was not at all strange that the slaveholders expected to go on from conquest to conquest.

There were two policies they could adopt.  One was to attack the enemy’s citadel; or rather, the several citadels it possessed in its individual States, and force them to open their doors to the master and his human chattels.  The other was to flank and cover, approaching the main point of attack by way of the Territories.  These, once in possession of the slaveholders, could be converted into enough slave States to give them the control of the general government, from which coigne of advantage they could proceed in their own time and way to possess themselves of such other free States as they might want.

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The Abolitionists from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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