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Sectional interest the true issue.

It is safe to say, and the history of the United States during the first seventy years of their existence is conclusive on the point, that in all the great questions affecting the national legislation, sectional interests, and sectional hostility arising therefrom, were the great central and controlling facts. Upon these were based the threats of secession in New England at the time of the Louisiana purchase; for abolition as a moral or sentimental issue in national politics had not then been born. The slave trade itself had not been abolished, and under the protecting aegis of the Federal flag, the free sailors of the free States, in their free ships, were lucratively busy in transporting the ‘brother in black’ from his native jungles to the plantations of the South. Nor was it less a question of sectional predominance which was involved in the Missouri embroglio of 1820, which resulted in fixing the parallel of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes as the northern limit of slavery in all the territory west of that State, though it existed north of that line in the States to the east.

As by this arrangement, one issue was placed temporarily in the background, another must be found to feed that insatiable monster, sectional supremacy. The tariff, as we have seen, furnished it and along with it came nearer furnishing a civil war than any other question prior to 1861.

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