We see a political party presenting candidates for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency, selected, for the first time, from the Free States alone, with the avowed purpose of electing these candidates by the suffrages of one part of the Union only, to rule over the whole United States. Can it be possible that those who are engaged in such a measure can have seriously reflected upon the consequences which must inevitably follow, in case of success? Can they have the madness or the folly to believe that our Southern brethren would submit to be governed by such a Chief Magistrate? Would he be required to follow the same rule prescribed by those who elected him in making his appointments? If a man living south of Mason and Dixon's line be not worthy to be President or Vice-President, would it be proper to select one from the same quarter as one of his Cabinet Council, or to represent the nation in a foreign country? Or, indeed, to collect the revenue, or administer the laws of the United States? If not, what new rule is the President to adopt in selecting men for office that the people themselves discard in selecting him? These are serious but practical questions; and, in order to appreciate them fully, it is only necessary to turn the tables upon ourselves. Suppose that the South, having the majority of the electoral votes, should declare that they would only have slaveholders for President and Vice-President, and should elect such by their exclusive suffrages to rule over us at the North. Do you think we would submit to it? No, not for a moment. And do you believe that your Southern brethren are less sensitive on this subject than you are, or less jealous of their rights? If you do, let me tell you that you are mistaken. And, therefore, you must see that, if this sectional party succeeds, it leads inevitably to the destruction of this beautiful fabric, reared by our forefathers, cemented by their blood, and bequeathed to us as a priceless inheritance.This speech is memorable not merely for its gross misapprehension of the grounds and motives of the Republican movement — representing its purposes as violent, aggressive, and sectional, when they date back to 1784, and trace their paternity to Jefferson, a Southron and a slaveholder — but because this was the first declaration by a Northern statesman of mark that the success of the Republicans would not only incite, but justify, a Southern rebellion. The facts that the “National Republicans,” in 1828, supported John Q. Adams and Richard Rush — both from Free States--while their antagonists supported Andrew Jackson and John C. Calhoun, both slaveholders, and thus secured nearly every elector from the Slave States, are conveniently ignored by Mr. Fillmore. The Presidential contest of 1856 was ardent and animated up to the October elections wherein the States of Pennsylvania and Indiana were carried by the Democrats, rendering the election of Buchanan and Breckinridge a moral certainty. In despite, however, of that certainty, the Republicans carried New York by a plurality of 80,000, with the six New England States, and Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa--giving Gen. Fremont 114 electoral votes. Mr. Buchanan carried Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois, California, with all the Slave States but Maryland, which voted alone for Mr. Fillmore. New Jersey, Illinois, and California, gave each a plurality only, not a majority, of her popular vote for the successful candidate. In the aggregate, Mr. Buchanan received 1,838,169 votes; Col. Fremont 1,341,264; and Mr. Fillmore 874,534: so that Mr. Buchanan, though he had a very decided plurality, lacked 377,629 votes of a majority over both his competitors. Of the electors, however, he had 174--a clear majority of 60. Major Breckinridge was, of course, chosen Vice-President by the same vote. The disturbed and distracted condition
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.