It was no longer spoken of as a separate element, but from the beginning it gave color and character to the combination.
The whole compound was Abolitionized.
It was not, indeed, the voting strength, although this was considerable, that the Abolitionists brought to the Republican
organization, that made them the real progenitors of that party.
It is possible that the other constituents entering into it, which were drawn from the Anti-Slavery Whigs
, the “Anti-Nebraska
” Democrats, the “Barnburner” Democrats of New York, the “Know-Nothings,” etc., numbered more in the aggregate than the Abolitionists it included; but it was not so much the number of votes the Abolitionists contributed that made them the chief creators of the Republican party, as it was their working and fighting ability.
They had undergone a thorough training.
For nearly twenty years they had been in the field in active service.
For the whole of that time they had been exposed to pro-slavery mobbing and almost every kind of persecution.
They had to conquer every foot of ground they occupied.
They had done an immense amount of invaluable preparatory work.
To deny to such people a liberal share of the credit for results accomplished, would be as reasonable as to say that men who clear the land, plough the ground, and sow the seed, because others may help to gather the harvest, have nothing to do with raising the crop.
But for the pioneer work of the Abolitionists there would have been no Republican party.
There had been Anti-Slavery people in this country