to the people by a method which excluded any voting against it as a whole, and allowed only the alternative of voting ‘for the constitution with
slavery’ or ‘for the constitution without
The instrument was so drawn as to imply a certain sanction of slavery in whichever way adopted, and the Free State
men withheld their votes.
It was therefore adopted ‘with slavery,’ and submitted to Congress by the President
in a message, Feb. 2, 1858, in which he declared that by the decision of the Supreme Court ‘slavery exists in Kansas
by virtue of the Constitution of the United States
,’ and that ‘Kansas
is therefore at this moment as much a slave State as Georgia
or South Carolina
promptly, at the beginning of the session, took ground against the admission of Kansas
under that constitution thus forced on the people, maintaining that according to ‘the principle of popular sovereignty’ the inhabitants should have perfect liberty ‘to vote slavery up or down,’ and vaunting his indifference as to which they did. He said with emphasis, ‘Why force this constitution down the throats of the people of Kansas
, in opposition to their wishes and our pledges?’
He drew to his side a number of Democratic senators and representatives, mostly Western, nearly half of whom, however, proved untrustworthy in their votes on the English
bill; and his breach with the Administration had an important relation to the national election of 1860.
He was thus brought for a time into accidental association with the Republicans, some of whom were disposed to put the best construction on his change of front,1
while others could not at once overcome a deep-seated distrust growing out of his twenty years subserviency to the slave power, or the suspicion that his new attitude was due to the fact that his term as senator was near its end.2
His speeches in the celebrated debate with Mr. Lincoln
, a few months later, justified this distrust and suspicion.
wrote to E. L. Pierce
, April 11, 1858:
I know Douglas thoroughly; and I think there cannot be too much caution in trusting him. His whole conduct in the two great controversies which