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[119] at the North and at the South, with having criminally brought on the war, while the Republican Party (as heir and assign of the Liberty and Free Soil parties) assumes all the credit of putting an end to slavery, by arms. The pertinent question is, Which of the political party policies from 1844 to 1860 triumphed? And the answer must be, None; while the Garrisonian ideal of immediate emancipation through the overthrow of the pro-slavery compromises—call it disunion or a reconstruction of the old Union—was that in whose realization the nation now rejoices with thanksgiving. In the meantime, the unassailable logic of the abolition position made Mr. Garrison's ‘No Union with Slaveholders!’ the criterion of every party professing opposition to slavery. In this respect its value cannot be over-estimated, while we know1 that, in the desperate counsels of the Slave Power, the hopes of peace through fresh compromises, to be extorted by the threat of forcible disunion, were dampened by the spectacle of this ‘saving remnant’ of irreconcilables whose leader was Garrison, and whose organs the Liberator and the Standard.

For the moment the consolidation of the abolitionists as disunionists made little sensation. The country was absorbed in a more than usually exciting Presidential contest, in which a vote for James K. Polk was equivalent to instructions for the admission of Texas, a vote for Henry Clay was no obstacle to the same consummation, and a vote for Birney was virtually a vote for Polk. Everywhere at the North, Democratic legislators who had joined in unpartisan protests against annexation,2 were unblushingly retracting them. The Democratic press of the New England and Middle States had as a body gone over to the Administration on the subject of3 Texas. Polk had been nominated expressly to finish the4 task begun by Tyler, and received the endorsement of South Carolina, whose delegates took no part in the Convention in order to reserve liberty of action in case Van Buren (a nominal anti-annexationist) should be chosen.5

1 See the S. Carolina Ordinance of Secession.

2 Lib. 14.102.

3 Lib. 14.173.

4 Lib. 14.94.

5 Lib. 14.71, 72.

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