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.
In the matter of the Territories
they had a great advantage.
was up against a stone wall at the Canadian
In that direction it could not advance a step, while the South
had practically an unlimited field on its side from which to carve possessions as they might be wanted, very much as you would cut a pie.
In pursuance of its territorial policy-being the line of action it first resolved upon — the first movement of the South
was to annex Texas
The next was to make war on Mexico
, and (a joke of the day) conquer a “piece” from it large enough to make half a dozen States, all expected to be slaveholding-another victory.
By a curious irony the filching of land for slavery's uses from a neighbor, and on which the foot of a slave had never pressed, was exultingly spoken of at the time by its supporters as “an extension of the area of freedom.”
The act was justified on the ground that we needed “land for the landless,” which led Benjamin F. Wade
to assert on the floor of the United States Senate, with as much truth as wit, that it was not land for the landless that was wanted, but “niggers for the niggerless.”
Then came the battle over Kansas
The passage of the Kansas
Bill in Congress, although involving a breach of good faith on the part of the South
, was hailed as another victory for that section.