in canvassing as lecturers and stump orators.
It had well managed newspapers, and the ablest pens in the country — not excepting Harriet Beecher Stowe
's — were in its service.
All this, it is hardly necessary to say, was attractive to people without political homes.
The Abolitionists offered them not only shelter but the prospect of meat and drink in the future.
In that way their organization became the nucleus of the Republican party, which was in no sense a new organization, but a reorganization of an old force with new material added.
And here would seem to be the proper place for reference to the historical fact that the Republican party, under that name, had but four years of existence behind it when the great crisis came in the election of Lincoln
and the beginning of the Civil War-Lincoln
's election being treated by the South
as a casus belli.
The Republican party was established under that name in 1856 and Lincoln
was elected in 1860.
Now, the work preparatory to Lincoln
's election was not done in four years. The most difficult part of it — the most arduous, the most disagreeable, the most dangerous-had been done long before.
Part of it dated back to 1840.
Indeed, the performance of the Republican party in those four years was not remarkably brilliant.
With the slogan of “Free soil, free men, and Fremont
” it made an ostentatious demonstration in 1856-an attempted coup de main--which failed.
It would have failed quite as signally in 1860, but for the division of the Democratic party into the Douglas and Breckenridge factions.
That division was pre-arranged by the