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[95] the country in the interest of those industrial ‘infants’—since grown hoary with years and gouty from continued repletion—has always held its place as a great national issue, it was now eclipsed for a time by another which promised far greater immediate results by reason of the combination of sentiment with selfish interest. The issue of slavery was re-enthroned and became king regnant in our politics, until in its overthrow it very nearly involved in its ruins the liberties of the entire American people. The cry against the extension of slavery had been raised as early as 1820. When it was heard again in opposition to the annexation of Texas, and yet again in still louder tones, claiming for the dominant section the whole of the vast territory acquired from Mexico; when it dictated the repeal of the Missouri Compromise in 1850 by a purely sectional vote, when it had once become the slogan of a distinct and purely sectional party, its success in the ultimate accomplishment of its revolutionary purposes was not beyond the ken of the veriest tyro among political prophets.

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