previous next

[6] nature of things afforded matter of comparison, in which it was not referred to as furnishing instructive examples of prosperous enterprise and hopeful progress. At home, the country grew as by enchantment. Its vast geographical extent, augmented by magnificent accessions of conterminous territory peacefully made; its population far more rapidly increasing than that of any other country, and swelled by an emigration from Europe such as the world has never before seen; the mutually beneficial intercourse between its different sections and climates, each supplying what the other wants; the rapidity with which the arts of civilization have been extended over a before unsettled wilderness, and, together with this material prosperity, the advance of the country in education, literature, science, and refinement, formed a spectacle, of which the history of mankind furnished no other example. That such was the state of the country six months ago was matter of general recognition and acknowledgment at home and abroad.


The Presidential election and its results

There was, however, one sad deduction to be made, not from the truth of this description, not from the fidelity of this picture for that is incontestable, but from the content, happiness, and mutual good will which ought to have existed on the part of a People, favored by such an accumulation of Providential blessings. I allude, of course, to the great sectional controversies which have so long agitated the country, and arrayed the people in bitter geographical antagonism of political organization and action. Fierce party contentions had always existed in the United States, as they ever have and unquestionably ever will exist under all free elective governments; and these contentions had, from the first, tended somewhat to a sectional character. They had not, however, till quite lately, assumed that character so exclusively, that the minority in any one part of the country had not had a respectable electoral representation in every other. Till last November, there has never been a Southern Presidential Candidate, who did not receive electoral votes at the North, nor a Northern Candidate who did not receive electoral votes at the South.

At the late election and for the first time, this was not the case; and consequences the most extraordinary and deplorable have resulted. The country, as we have seen, being in profound peace at home and abroad, and in a state of unexampled prosperity — Agriculture, Commerce, Navigation, Manufactures, East, West, North, and South recovered or rapidly recovering from the crisis of 1857--powerful and respected abroad, and thriving beyond example at home, entered in the usual manner upon the electioneering campaign, for the choice of the nineteenth President of the United States. I say in the usual manner, though it is true that parties were more than usually broken up and subdivided. The normal division was into two great parties, but there had on several former occasions been three; in 1824 there were four, and there were four last November. The South equally with the West and the North entered into the canvass; conventions were held, nominations made, mass meetings assembled; the platform, the press enlisted with unwonted vigor; the election in all its stages, conducted in legal and constitutional form, without violence and without surprise, and the result obtained by a decided majority.

No sooner, however, was this result ascertained, than it appeared on the part

Creative Commons License
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.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (2)
Europe (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
November (2)
1857 AD (1)
1824 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: