Its leaning was in favour of strong government, and whatever there might be of aristocracy in the North
belonged to it.
The new party sprung at once into an amazing power.
In the Presidential canvass of 1852, which had resulted in the election of Mr. Pierce
, John P. Hale
, who ran upon what was called the “straight-out” Abolition ticket, did not receive the vote of a single State, and but 175,296 of the popular vote of the Union
But upon the repeal of the Missouri Compromise
, Abolitionism, in the guise of “Republicanism,” swept almost everything before it in the North and Northwest in the elections of 1854 and 1855; and in the Thirty-first Congress, Nathaniel Banks
, an objectionable Abolitionist of the Massachusetts school
, was elected to the speakership of the House
In the mean time, the language of the Kansas
bill was the subject of no dispute.
No one supposed that from this language there was to originate an afterthought
on the part of Mr. Douglas
, and that, by an ingenious torture of words, this measure was to be converted into one to conciliate the anti-slavery sentiment of the North
, and to betray the interests of the South
This afterthought was doubtless the consequence of the rapid growth of the Black
Republican party, and the conviction that the Democratic party in the North
could only recover its power by some marked concession to the sectional sentiment now rapidly developing on the subject of slavery.
It should be noticed here that the doctrine of “non-intervention,” which prohibited Congress from interfering with the question of slavery in the Territories
, had been affirmed by a judicial decision in the Supreme Court of the United States
In the famous “Dred Scott
case,” a negro demanded his freedom on the ground of legal residence beyond the latitude of 36° 30' N.-the line of the Missouri Compromise
The Supreme Court pronounced that Congress had no power to make that law; that it was therefore null and void ; and declared “that the Constitution
recognizes the right of property in a slave, and makes no distinction between that description of property and other property owned by a citizen ;” and further, that every citizen had the clear right to go into any Territory, and take with him that which the Constitution
recognized as his property.
So far the rights of the South
in the Territories
were thought to be plain; the design of the Black
Republican party to exclude slavery therefrom by the Federal
authority had been pronounced unconstitutional by the highest judicial authority in the country; and the Kansas
bill was thought to be a plain letter, which taught that slavery was the subject of exclusive legislation by States, or by Territories in the act of assuming the character of States
. But the South
only stood on the threshold of a new controversy-another exhibition of the ingenuity of the anti-slavery sentiment to assert itself in new methods and on new issues.