Chapter 14 - Cause of the Civil War



The Slave Holders' Rebellion, or the Civil War in the United States which commenced in 1861, forms one of the extraordinary chapters for the historian to record. States which had, and should continue to have a common interest in the government were in this war arrayed against each other in deadly strife; families were divided, parents against children, brother against brother, ministers and people of the same church faith were divided, each praying for the defeat of the other.

The first gun of the war was fired at 4.30 o'clock, on the morning of April 12th, 1861, when the rebel batteries in Charleston Harbor, under command of General Beauregard, opened fire on Fort Sumter, commanded by Major Anderson; and the war continued until the main Confederate army commanded by General Lee, surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox Court House, April 9th, 1865.

During the war more than 1,000,000 men had been enrolled in the Federal army, and more than 600,000 men had served in the Confederate army.

The total loss in the Federal army was about 316,000 men besides those who died in Southern prisons and from disease contracted in the camp.

The Confederate loss was never reported but they lost about 4,000,000 slaves and other property the value of which was never known.

The war caused an increase in the United States public debt from $64,770,000 dollars in 1860 to 2,773,237,000 dollars in 1866, at which time the debt reached its highest point.

With many who had not given much thought as to the affairs of the general government, the question was often asked, ''Why was there a war between the North and South, or between the Slave and Free States? ''And since the close of the war the same question has often been repeated. The answer, in time of the war, as given by those who were well posted in the matter was, ' ' that the slave holders were determined to control the affairs of this government; that from the first they had used the institution of slavery as a lever to enable them to gain and hold the balance of power; that notwithstanding their persistence and threats to protect and extend that institution, they had at the election in 1860, been so thoroughly defeated that in madness, they had decided to do their best to destroy the Union; and after several of the slave holding states had by their legislatures adopted ordinances of secession, they organized a Confederate government and then attempted and did capture the United States forts, thus beginning war."

The proceedings of Conventions and the debates in Congress are matters and record of history to which the reader is referred for full particulars.

A reference to some of the principal events which from the formation of the government in 1787 to the commencement of the war in 1861, had been the cause of difference between the Slave and Free States and were the subjects of debates in Congress and of discussion throughout the country and a few extracts from speeches made in Congress on these questions will be here given for those who have not the time or opportunity for a more extended research and which will show the spirit and determination of the political leaders in the South for the protection, extension and perpetuation of slavery, and in that way to hold the balance of political power in the United States; and also show the spirit and determination of the leaders and people of the North to check the extension of that institution.

The questions of extension and non-extension of slavery were by the Southern leaders brought to the front on the admission of every new state and were the cause of debates in Congress, and kept alive the fire of difference between the political parties and between the people of the Slave and Free States; the differences and the excitement between the two sections growing more and more bitter arid serious each year until the war was actually begun.

In the convention to frame the Constitution of the United States in 1787, on the question of representation in Congress, the Southern slave holders demanded that their slaves should be enumerated with the whites, but a compromise was made by allowing five slaves to be counted as three freemen in the apportionment for Representatives. The African slave trade was another source of trouble in framing the Constitution. Most of the delegates wanted the trade abolished but the delegates from South Carolina and Georgia having declared that if there was to be no slave trade, there would be no Union, a compromise was made that the trade should be abolished after twenty years.

The purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803, brought in additional territory, the South claiming the whole as slave territory. The question was not settled until after a long and bitter debate in Congress, with threats of dissolution of the

Union from the Southern members, when Missouri was admitted as a Slave State, March 6th, 1820, with a compromise resolution that in the future no Slave State should be erected north of 36° 30' north latitude, that being the north line of Arkansas. It was thought at the North that this compromise measure would forever settle the question of slavery extension.

On the admission of Arkansas and Michigan in 1836, a most heated debate was had in Congress in which the Missouri Compromise was endangered by the Southern cry of disunion and balance of power. In 1842, in the discussion in Congress on the admission of Texas, Mr. Wise said, "let one more northern state be admitted and the equilibrium will be gone and gone forever." The South demanded Texas to save the balance of power. The leading object of the annexation was to strengthen slavery and, save to the South the control of the government. The southern members of Congress and the people all through the Slave States raised the cry of "Texas or disunion."


For more than three years the discussion on the question, of the admission of Texas into the Union was very heated in Congress and by the people North and South; the North generally being opposed, and the people of the South in favor of the admission as that would give to the South the balance of power, as they then thought, for all time. Texas was admitted in 1845 as a Slave State with the privilege of being divided into four more states when occasion required.

War with Mexico was the result of annexation, and on May 11th, 1846, President Polk, in a communication to Congress said, "The Mexicans have at last invaded our territory and shed the blood of our fellow citizens on our own soil." The result of the war was that by the treaty with Mexico in 1848, we acquired California and other territory for which we paid $18,000,000 to Mexico.

The debate in Congress on organizing the territory of Oregon and the admission of California as a state was long and bitter.

On January 29th, 1850, Henry Clay of Kentucky, leader of the Whig party in the United States Senate, submitted a series of resolutions proposing an amicable settlement of the whole slavery controversy. This was called an "Omnibus Bill," because it carried so many different subjects. The resolutions in part were as follows: "California, with suitable boundaries, ought to be admitted as a state, without restriction as to slavery.


Appropriate governments ought to be established in all the territory acquired from Mexico not assigned to California without restriction as to slavery.

More effectual provision ought to be made for the restitution of fugitive slaves."

These resolutions were warmly opposed by most of the Democratic Senators from the Slave States as making no concessions at all to the South. That the declaration, that slavery did not exist in New Mexico, precludes its admission there, etc., etc.

Mr. Thomas H. Benton, Democratic Senator from Missouri, and a life-long slave holder said, '^ Slavery had been abolished by Mexican law before we acquired the countries; that African slavery had never existed in Mexico in the form in which it existed in the States of this Union, and that if Mexican law was now in force in New Mexico and California, no slave holder from the Union would carry a slave thither except to set him free."

He affirmed these three points: 1st. "Slavery was abolished in California and New Mexico before we got them." 2nd. "Even if not abolished, no person would carry a slave to those countries, to be held under such law." 3d. "Slavery could not exist there except by positive law yet to be passed."

On the right of the slave holder to take his property into the territories, he said, "The citizens of all the states, free and slave, can not carry his property into the territories, neither can he carry that which is only property by state law. Every Slave State has a servile code of its own. The owner cannot carry his slave State Law with him into the territories or into another state; he must take the law which he finds there."

This doctrine was not acceptable to Mr. Calhoun and the ruling part of the Democratic party.

As John C. Calhoun, Senator from South Carolina, and leader of that party in the South voiced the sentiments of the slave holders generally, to give some of his statements in the debate in Congress on the admission of California, will show their position and demands on the slavery question at that time. He said, "The Union is in danger. The cause of this danger was the discontent at the South, and this discontent was found in the belief that they could not with honor and safety remain in the Union."

One of the causes was the long continued agitation of the slave question at the North. But the primary cause was in the fact that the equilibrium between the two sections at the time of the adoption of the Constitution had been destroyed. The first of the series of acts by which this had been clone was the ordinance of 1787, by which the South had been excluded from all the northwestern region (all north of the Ohio and east of the Mississippi Rivers). The next was the Missouri Compromise, excluding them from all of the Louisiana Territory north of 36° 30' except the State of Missouri; and now, the North was endeavoring to appropriate to herself the territory recently acquired from Mexico; from which the South was, if possible, to be excluded.

He censured Congress for receiving petitions against slavery extension. He disapproved of the plan of Mr. Clay as incapable of saving the Union.

Having shown how the Union could not be saved, he proceeded to answer the question, how it could be saved.

"There is but one way certain: justice must be done the South by a full and final settlement of all the questions at issue. The North must concede to the South an equal right in the acquired territory and fulfill the stipulations respecting fugitive slaves; must cease the agitation of the slave question and join in an amendment of the Constitution restoring to the South the power she possessed of protecting herself, before the equilibrium between the two sections had been destroyed by the action of the government." (This was spoken in 1850.)

Mr. Daniel Webster, Whig Senator from Massachusetts, spoke at length on the resolutions of Mr. Clay and in reply to Mr. Calhoun. He said: "that a change had taken place since the time of the adoption of the Constitution. Both sections then held slavery to be equally an evil, moral and political; it was inhuman and cruel; it weakened the social fabric and rendered labor less productive. The eminent men of the South held it to be an evil, a scourge and a curse. The framers of the Constitution in considering how to deal with it, concluded that it could not be continued if the importation of slaves should cease. The prohibition of the importation after twenty years was proposed and finally agreed to; a term which some Southern gentlemen, Mr. Madison for one, thought too long.

The ordinance of 1787 received the unanimous support of the South; a measure which Mr. Calhoun had said was the first in a series of measures which enfeebled that section. Mr. Calhoun had said that there had always been a majority in favor of the North. If that is so, the North has acted very liberally or very weakly; for they had seldom exercised their power. The truth was, the general lead in politics for three-fourths of the time since 1787 had been Southern lead. The Southern Senators say we deprive them of the right to go into the newly acquired territory with their property. We do not prevent them from going into those territories with what is in general law, called property. But these

Sal\^e States have by their local laws created a property in persons and they cannot carry those local laws with them. Slavery is created and exists by local law which is limited to a certain section; and now, it is asked that Congress shall establish a local law in other territories to enable Southern Senators to carry their particular law with them. No man can hold a slave unless the local law accompany him."

Mr. William H. Seward, Whig Senator from New York, in addressing the Senate said: ''It is now avowed by the Honorable Senator from South Carolina, (Mr. Calhoun) that nothing will satisfy the Slave States but a compromise that will convince them that they can remain in the Union consistently with their honor and their safety. And what are the concessions which will have that effect?" These are his words:

"There is but one way certain: Justice must be done the South by a full and final settlement of all the questions at issue. The North must concede to the South an equal right in the acquired territory and fulfill the stipulations respecting fugitive slaves; must cease the agitation of the slave question, and join in an amendment of the Constitution restoring to the South the power she possessed of protecting herself before the equilibrium between the two sections had been destroyed by the action of the government."

"It is said that the Slave States are in danger of losing political power by the admission of the new States. Well, sir, is there anything new in that? The Slave States have always been losing political power and they always will be while the have any to lose. At first, twelve of the thirteen states were Slave States; now only fifteen of the thirty are Slave States. The South demands the guaranty against the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia or they will have war, secession. When you have declared war against us, what shall hinder us from declaring that slavery shall cease in the national capitol? You say you will not submit to the exclusion of slaves from the new territories. Can you propagate slavery by the sword? You say you cannot submit to the freedom with which slavery is discussed in the Free States. Will war or war for slavery arrest, or even moderate that discussion? No, sir: that discussion will not cease; war will only inflame it to a greater height."

"Slavery has really nothing to fear; it has a reliable and accommodating ally in a party in the Free States, which though it claims to be, and doubtless is, in many respects a party of progress, finds its sole security for political power in the support and aid of slavery in the Slave States. Of course, I do not include in that party those who are now co-operating in maintaining the cause of freedom against slavery. But it is only just and candid that I should bear witness to its fidelity to the interests of slavery."

Being asked by Mr. Lewis Cass, Democratic Senator from Michigan, if he believed there is a man in the Senate from the North whose course is influenced by his fidelity to slavery, Mr. Seward replied: "I think it was Mr. Jefferson who said 'that the natural ally of slavery in the South was the Democratic party of the North.' "A Senator replied that it was Mr. Buchanan. Mr. Seward, said: "I have heard it attributed to Mr. Jefferson. However that may be, I believe it. I assail the motives of no Senator. I acknowledge the patriotism, the wisdom, the purity of every member of this body. I have never assailed the motives of honorable Senators in any instance, I never shall. I ask leave to say, that such as I described is, in my view, the political organization of the parties of this country; that slavery has the support, the toleration, (given honestly and from patriotic motives, I admit,) of the party to which I referred, and that its alliance with slavery constitutes its tower of strength."

The foregoing shows the feeling that existed between the North and the South on the slavery question in 1850.

The Fugitive Slave Law passed September 18th, 1850 and signed by President Millard Fillmore, was especially objectionable to the humane instincts of most of the people of the Free States. Mr. John Van Buren in a letter dated April 4th, 1851, to a Massachusetts Convention, declared the act unconstitutional, because Congress had no power to legislate on the subject; the duty of surrendering slaves devolving on the state, to be executed by state laws, tribunals, and functionaries. That view was taken by many learned, men in the North and by many Southern men of the State Rights School.

Within the first year of its existence, more persons were seized in the Free States as fugitive slaves than during the preceding sixty years. Many persons who had lived in the North in unchallenged freedom from fifteen to twenty years were seized and carried away into life-long slavery; and the numerous cases of kidnapping free negroes and taking them to slavery, tended to increase the feeling of opposition to the whole scheme of slavery by the great mass of the people of the Free States.

The persistent determination of the slave holding Democrats, in the debates in Congress on the Oregon question, and on the admission of California, and on the territorial government of the territory acquired from Mexico, the repeal of the Missouri Compromise act of 1820, the Kansas-Nebraska bill, known as the Squatter Sovereignty Bill, passed in May, 1854, and the decision of the Dred Scott case by the United States Supreme Court, were like fire brands at the North, and served to unite the great mass of the Whig party of the North with the Free Soil part of the Democratic party in opposition to any further extension of slavery or more slave territory.

The decision of the United States Supreme Court, at the 1855 and 1856 term, in the Dred Scott case, was not made public until after the inauguration of Mr. Buchanan in 1857, but enough was known so that it was used against the Democratic party in the campaign of 1856.

Judge Taney, in giving the opinion of the Court said, ''Dred Scott being a negro, and descended from slaves, was not a citizen, and no state could make its slaves citizens; and he had no right to bring suit for his liberty; that neither Dred Scott nor his family were made free by being carried into St. Louis, that being in territory North of 36° 31' north latitude." Dred's freedom was claimed on the ground that he had been taken by his master into the Free State of Illinois, and there retained some two or three years.

Judge Taney says: "that the claim was not properly before the Court; that the plaintiff is not a citizen of Missouri, in the sense in which that word is used in the Constitution, and that the Circuit Court, for that reason, had no jurisdiction, and the suit must be dismissed. Several other Judges assented to the views as expressed by Judge Taney.

Judge Daniel went further and said, ''that ordinance of 1787 was only equal in constitutionality and validity, with the Missouri Compromise, and was void." This opinion opened the door for slave holders to take their slaves into any of the Free States, and caused great consternation throughout the North. Mr. Webster, the great constitutional lawyer, had said in 1850, "that no man can be held as a slave unless the local law accompany him."

Justice McLean from Ohio, one of the members of the United States Supreme Court, in his opinion dissenting from that of the Court in the Dred Scott case says, "Will it be said that the slave is taken as property, the same as other property which the master may own? To this I answer, that colored persons are made property by the law of the state, and no such power has been given to Congress. The Constitution in express terms recognizes the status of slavery as founded on the municipal law; ' No person held to service or labor in one state, under the laws thereof,' etc. Now, unless the fugitive escape from a place where, by the municipal law he is held to labor, this provision affords no remedy to the master. Suppose a slave escape from a territory where slavery is not authorized by law, can he be reclaimed?"

From December 13th, 1852, the attempt to organize the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska, caused exciting and heated debate in Congress and throughout the country. Finally, the bill passed both houses and was signed by President Pierce May 24th, 1854. In the House, the vote was fifty-seven Democrats and twelve Whigs from the Slave States, with fourty-four Democrats from the Free States - total 113. Against the bill, the vote was seven Whigs and two Democrats from the Slave States and fourty-four Whigs, fourty-four Democrats and three Free Soil, from the Free States - total ninety-one.

A large majority of the slave holding Whigs of the South having joined the slave holding Democrats in their slavery extension scheme, made nearly a solid pro-slavery party in the South while the Whig party was apparently on the point of dissolution, it being divided on the slavery question.

The Democratic party North, and the Native American party were about equally divided, the Abolition party, making the balance, of the Northern voters were all greatly excited over the abominations practiced under the Fugitive Slave Law and the determination and success of the South in the repeal of the Missouri Compromise act of 1820, and in the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska act which gave to the South the privilege of taking their slaves into the territories.

Before the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska act, nearly all of these territories were covered by Indian Reservations on which settlement by the whites was strictly forbidden except by government agents and missionaries. The government agents were Democrats and violent partisans of slavery extension. Just before the final passage of the bill to organize the territories, treaties were quietly made with the Delaware, Otoe, Kickapoo, Kaskakia, Shawnee, Sacks, Fox, and other tribes of Indians, whereby the greater part of the eastern portion of these territories was suddenly allowed to be opened to white settlers. This whole arrangement was known to the Missourians and to people in the other Slave States, who had been organizing "Blue Lodges," "Social Bands," "Sons of the South," and other societies, with the intent of taking possession of Kansas in behalf of slavery.

Kansas was opened to settlement by proclamation of President Pierce, May 30th, 1854, and hundreds of Missourians were ready and crossed into the territory, selecting each his piece of land, in that way establishing a kind of pre-emption upon all that region.

At the North, Emigrant Aid Societies were organized to help Free State men to go to Kansas. To the close of President Pierce's administration, the slave holders ah through the South, back 3d by the Government at Washington, used every means within their reach to make Kansas a Slave State; and by intimidation, murder, "Border Ruffian Raids," and illegal voting, tried to force slave laws and a Slave Constitution upon the people.

Governors for the Territories were appointed by the President, and it was expected that they would, so far as possible, see to it that the interests of slavery were protected.

Andrew H. Reeder of Pennsylvania, the first Governor for Kansas took the oath of office, July 7th, 1854, and reached Kansas in October. Soon after his arrival he commenced the work of organizing the Territory. His proclamation for the election of a Territorial Delegate to Congress did not provide for the election of a Territorial Legislature. This failure was not pleasing to the Missourians. No census had been taken previous to the election of the Delegate.

The election, although carried by an invasion of Missourians, was not contested. The total vote was 2838 of which 1729 were given by Missourians who came across the Missouri River to vote and then returned. At one voting place, 604 votes were polled, of which only twenty were legal, 584 were from Missouri. John W. Whitfield, the slave holder's candidate at this election received 2268 votes, to 570 for the other candidate. By taking the Missouri vote, 1729, from the total vote received by Whitfield, 2268, it would leave 539 votes for Whitfield by residents of Kansas, and 570 against him.


Early in 1855, George Reeder had a census taken, and arrangements were made for an election of members to form a Territorial Legislature. The census showed a total population of 8,501, of which 2,905 were voters, and 242 were slaves. At the election for members of the Legislature, only 831 legal electors voted, the total vote being 6,320. An invasion from Missouri carried the election by storm and a majority of the members elected received certificates of election from the Governor.

"The Platte Argus," a Missouri paper, in an editorial on this election said: "It is admitted that the Missourians have conquered Kansas; our advice is to hold it or die in the attempt." The Legislature was call 3d by the Governor to meet at Pawnee City on the Kansas River, nearly 100 miles from the Missouri border. The Legislature was immediately' adjourned over the Governor's veto, to Shawnee Mission, directly on the line of Missouri. This Legislature passed one act, whereby the laws of Missouri generally were adopted and declared to be the laws of Kansas, and other acts, specially upholding and fortifying slavery; Section twelve of which reads as follows: "If any free person, by speaking or writing, shall assert or mention, that persons have not the right to hold slaves in this Territory, or shall introduce into this Territory, print, publish, write, circulate, or cause to be introduced into the Territory, or written, printed, published and circulated in this Territory, any book, paper, magazine, pamphlet or circular, containing any denial of the right of persons to hold slaves in this Territory; such person shall be deemed guilty of felony, and punished by imprisonment at hard labor, for a term not less than two years."

This Legislature, whose acts were systematically vetoed by Governor Reeder, but passed over his head, memorialized the President for the removal of Reeder. He went to Washington and placed the whole condition before President Pierce, and urged the cause of the people against invasion. When the President found that the Governor could not be used to further the cause of slavery in Kansas, as against the actual settlers in the Territory, he asked for Reeder 's resignation, which the Governor refused, and the President removed him August 16th, 1855. The same day the President appointed Wilson Shannon of Ohio, as Governor of Kansas.

Daniel Woodson, the Secretary of the Territory, acted as Governor from August 16th, 1855, to September 7th, 1855, the date on which Shannon arrived in Kansas. Shannon on his way to Kansas stopped at Westport, Missouri, the headquarters of border ruffians. In a speech at that place he said, "He considered the Legislature which had recently adjourned to Shawnee Mission, a legal assembly; that its laws were binding on the authorities and on every citizen of the Territory; that he was for slavery in Kansas." He assumed the duties of Governor, September 7th, 1855, and held until August 18th, 1856.

The actual settlers of Kansas were not willing to submit to the impudent and hostile usurpation which had elected Whitfield as Delegate to Congress and imposed on them a fraudulent legislature. They held a mass-convention at Big Springs on September 5th, 1855, where they repudiated the laws and officers imposed on Kansas by the Border Ruffian invasion, and refused to submit to them. A Delegate Convention was called, to be held at Topeka, September 19th, where an election for Delegate to Congress was called, to be held on the second Tuesday of October.

Ex-Governor Reeder was nominated for Delegate at this Convention, while Whitfield was the Candidate of the Pro-slavery party. Both were elected by their respective parties.

On October 23d, 1855, the actual settlers organized a Constitutional Convention at Topeka, and formed a Free State Constitution, under which they asked Congress for admission into the Union as a State.

The 34th Congress assembled at Washington, December 3d, 1855. Whitfield was there as Delegate, and Reeder as Contestant. The House on March 19th, 1856, resolved to send a special committee to Kansas to inquire into the anarchy which prevailed there. The committee composed of William A. Howard of Michigan, John Sherman of Ohio and Mordecai Oliver of Missouri, immediately went to Kansas and spent several weeks in taking testimony. On their return they reported:

First. That each election in the Territory held under the organic or alleged Territorial law, had been carried by organized invasion from the State of Missouri, by which the people of the Territory have been prevented from exercising the rights secured to them by their organic law.

Second. That the alleged Territorial Legislature was an illegally constituted body, and had no power to pass valid laws; and that their enactments are therefore null and void.

Third. That these alleged laws have not, as a general thing, been used to protect persons and property and to punish wrong, but for unlawful purposes.

Fourth. That the election, under which sitting Delegate John W. Whitfield holds his seat, was not held in pursuance of any valid law.

Fifth. That the election, under which Andrew H. Reeder claims a seat, was not held in pursuance of any valid law.

Sixth. That Andrew H. Reeder received a greater number of the votes of resident citizens for Delegate than did John W. Whitfield.

Seventh. That in the present condition of the Territory, a fair election cannot be held without a new census, a stringent and well guarded election law, the selection of impartial judges, and the presence of the United States troops at every place of election."

Whitfield held his seat to the end of that Congress. A bill admitting Kansas as a State under her Free State Constitution, passed the House by a vote of ninety-nine to ninety-seven. The Senate which was strongly pro-slavery, defeated the bill.

Governor Shannon, it will be seen, came to Kansas in a bad time, excitement was running high. His speech at Westport was in the line of the spirit of the Missouri border ruffian element, to make Kansas a slave state; but he soon found that he was standing on dangerous ground, for the Free State men were a large majority in the Territory, and they demanded their rights under the act of Congress organizing the Territory. The Slave State party urged him to see that the laws passed by the bogus legislature, were enforced. During the winter of 1855 and 1856, that party matured their plans for burning Lawrence, which took place May 21st, 1856.

This was really the beginning of the Kansas war. Their plan also included the getting control of the Legislature, which was called to meet at Topeka on July 4th. Another move was to completely stop all opposition to Kansas becoming a Slave State.

This was to be effected by enforcing the laws enacted by their bogus Legislature, and especially Section 12 - (for this section see page 180). This law, if enforced, would send every Free State man in the Territory to the penitentiary for not less than two years, and with the whole power of the Federal Government to see that these laws were enforced, there remained but little hope that Kansas could be saved from the slave power.

Delegations were sent from Kansas to notify the Governors and other influential persons in the Free States of the plot. The eastern press took up the cry of Free Soil and Free Speech, and the report of the committee which had been sent by Congress to look after the anarchy which existed in Kansas, which had been, and was being printed by every Free Soil paper in the Northern States, created such an excited state of feeling among the masses of people as to greatly alarm the leaders of the Democratic party at Washington, and the enforcement of Section 12 was dropped.

The ''American" National Convention, for nominating candidates for President and Vice-president, was held in Philadelphia, February 22d, 1856. All the states were represented except Maine, Vermont, South Carolina and Georgia. The platform condemns the Democratic party and the Administration for re-opening sectional agitation by the repeal of the Missouri Compromise Act.

Millard Fillmore received the nomination for President and Andrew J. Donelson for Vice-president.

The Democratic National Convention for 1856, met at Cincinnati Ohio, on June 2d. The platform held ''the principles contained in the organic laws, establishing the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska, as embodying the only sound and safe solution of the slavery question." James Buchanan received the nomination for President, and John C. Breckenridge for Vice-president.

The slavery question had completely destroyed the Whig party. The First National Convention of the Republican party was held at Pittsburg, Penn., February 22d, 1856, but there were no nominations made, the nominating convention was held at Philadelphia on June 17th. The platform said, "We deny the authority of Congress, of a Territorial Legislature, or of any individual, or association of individuals, to give legal existence to slavery in any Territory of the United States while the present Constitution shall be maintained." John C. Freemont of California, was nominated for President and William L. Dayton of Ohio, for Vice president.

The Presidential Campaign was open and the cry of "Free Soil, Free Speech, and Freemont" rang through the Free States in a way that made the Pro-slavery party fear and tremble.

Governor Shannon resigned August 18th, 1856, and left the Territory'-, in the night through fear of assassination by members of his own party, and left the work for Secretary Woodson, who at once declared the Territory in a state of insurrection and called out the militia. Woodson acted as Governor until September 18th, when John W. Geary of Pennsylvania, became Governor, and he served until March 12th, 1857.

Geary was sent to quiet matters in Kansas, if possible, as the speeches of members of the Republican party and their press in the Free States charging the trouble in Kansas to the Democratic party was convincing the leaders of that party that something must be done or they would fail at the election.

The Presidential Campaign all through was one of great interest and excitement.

Buchanan's popular vote was 1,838,169

Freemont's " " " 1,341,264

Fillmore's " " " 874,534

Total vote 4,053,947

Freemont carried the State of New York by 80,000 majority and with the New England States, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin, he had 114 electoral votes. James Buchanan had 174 electoral votes and was elected. Buchanan lacked 377,629 votes of a majority over both his competitors.

The Act of Congress organizing the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska, passed May 24th, 1854, repealed the Missouri compromise Act of 1820, which excluded slavery north of 36° 30', and declared that act to be unconstitutional and void. It contained as a part of Section 21 of the act as follows:

"And be it further enacted, that in order to avoid all misconstruction, it is hereby declared to be the true intent and meaning of this act, so far as slavery is concerned, to carry into practical operation the following propositions and principles established by the Compromise measure of 1850.

First. That all questions, pertaining to slavery in the territories and in the States to be formed therefrom are to be left to the people residing therein through their appropriate representatives.


This was the so-called Squatter Sovereignty plan and in the debate on this proposition in Congress, Mr. Douglass stated that the "object was neither to legislate slavery into or out of the Territories; neither to introduce it, or exclude it; but to remove whatever obstacle Congress had put there, and apply the doctrine of Congressional non-intervention and allow the people to do as they pleased upon this as on all other matters affecting their interests." The repeal of the Missouri Compromise Act, and allowing slaves to be held in the Territories was made to satisfy the demands of the slave holders, and to give them the right to take their slaves into the Territories, expecting in that way to increase the number of Slave States.

Under and through Buchanan's administration the Slave Power did its best to make Kansas a Slave State. After Geary left Kansas in the night, through fear of assassination by members of his own party, other Governors were sent, and they followed each other in quick succession, Frederick P. Stanton, Robert J. Walker, James W. Denver, Hugh C. Walsh, Samuel Medary and George M. Beebe, each had a turn; and Congress sent committee after committee to investigate and report.

The Free State men of Kansas had adopted a Constitution excluding Slavery, which had been accepted by the House, but the Senate, by one excuse or another, refused to grant admission until after the Presidential election of 1860 when, at near the close of Buchanan's administration, on January 21st, 1861, the Senate, by a vote of thirty-six to sixteen, passed the act of admission; and a few days later the House passed the same act by 119 to forty-two, and thus Kansas became the thirty-fourth state of the Union.

So much space has been given to the trouble in Kansas because the whole force and power of the slave holders and of the Democratic party were used to compel her admission as a Slave State, and the great battle for or against the further extension of slavery was being fought on Kansas soil.

Governor Robinson, the first Governor of Kansas as a State, said: "Kansas was not saved by this man or by that man; by this town or that town; but it took all the Free State men and all the Free State towns in Kansas, aided by all the Free State men of all the States as well, to succeed in establishing freedom, where the Slavery men and Slave States backed by the Federal Government had determined to establish Slavery."

The South, with the help of the Government, for six years had failed on the Squatter Sovereignty platform to compel Kansas to adopt a Slave Constitution and this plan for additional Slave States to enable the South to control, the Government having failed, the leaders resolved to force the question, "that neither Congress nor a Territorial Legislature possess the power to prevent any citizen from taking his slave property into the Territory and there hold them as slaves."

The feeling of the people north and south on the slavery question is told in the proceedings in Congress and the debates in the Conventions of the political parties in 1860 and in their platforms and nominations.

The 36th Congress assembled December 5th, 1859. The Senate was strongly Democratic, the House being more equally divided.

On February 2d, 1860, Jefferson Davis submitted a series of resolutions in the Senate, all on the slavery question and the rights of the slave holders in the territories.

Section 4 of the series is as follows:

"Resolved. That neither Congress nor a Territorial Legislature, whether by direct legislation, or legislation of an indirect and unfriendly character, possess the power to annul or impair the Constitutional right of any citizen of the United States, to take his slave property into the common territories, and there hold and enjoy the same while the territorial condition remains."

This, the deathblow to Popular Sovereignty, was passed in the Senate by a vote of thirty-five to twenty-one, every Democratic Senator present but Mr. Pugh of Ohio voting for it, and this sentiment answered as a good excuse for the refusal by the Senate to allow Kansas to become a state under their Free State Constitution.

The Alabama Democratic State Convention, to elect delegates to the Democratic National Convention, which had been called to meet at Charleston, S. C, on April 23d, 1860, adopted the following, to wit:

"Resolved: That on the subject of slavery, we claim the unqualified right of the people of the slave holding States, to protection of their property in the States, in the Territories, and in the wilderness in which territorial governments are, as yet, unorganized.

"Resolved. That it is the duty of the General Government, by all proper legislation, to secure an entry into those Territories, to all the citizens of the United States, together with their property of every description; and that the same should be protected by the United States while the Territories are under its authority.

"Resolved. That the Territories of the United States, are common property, in which all States have equal rights, and to which the citizens of every State may rightfully emigrate with their slaves or other property, recognized as such, in any of the States of the Union or by the Constitution of the United States.

"Resolved. That the Congress of the United States has no power to abolish slavery in the Territories or to prohibit its introduction, into any of them.

"Resolved. That the Territorial Legislatures have no power to abolish slavery, or to prohibit the introduction of the same, or to impair by unfriendly legislation the security and full enjoyment of the same within the territories.

"Resolved. That the principles enunciated by Chief Justice Taney in his opinion in the Dred Scott case, deny to the Territorial Legislatures the power to destroy or impair by any legislation whatever, the right of property in slaves, and maintains it to be the duty of the Federal Government in all its departments to protect the rights of the owner of such property in the territories; and the principles, so declared, are hereby asserted to be the rights of the South, and the South should maintain them.

"Resolved. That we hold all the foregoing propositions to contain cardinal principles, just and proper, and necessary for the safety of all that is dear to us, and that our Delegates to the Charleston Convention are hereby expressly instructed to insist, that said Convention shall adopt a platform of principles recognizing distinctly the rights of the South, as asserted in the foregoing resolutions; and that if said National Convention shall refuse to adopt in substance, the propositions embraced in the foregoing resolutions, prior to the nominating of Candidates, our delegates to said Convention, are hereby positively instructed to withdraw therefrom."

These resolutions are in the same spirit as the resolutions presented to the Senate on February 2d, by Jefferson Davis and which were adopted by the Senate on May 24th, 1860.

The Democratic National Convention met at Charleston, S. C, on April 23d, 1860. The majority report of the Committee on Platform was presented by Mr. Avery of North Carolina on the slavery question.

"Resolved. That the National Democracy of the United States hold these cardinal principles on the subject of slavery in the territories.

First. That Congress has no power to abolish slavery in the territories.

Second. That the Territorial Legislatures have no power to abolish slavery in the Territories, nor to prohibit the introduction of slaves therein, nor any power to destroy or impair the right of property in slaves by any legislation whatever." (This was concurred in by the delegates of the Platform Committee of the fifteen. Slave States, with Oregon and California.)

The above resolutions were modified by the committee so as to read as follows:

First. "That the government of a Territory organized by an Act of Congress is provisional and temporary; and during its existence all citizens of the United States have an equal right to settle with their property in the Territory, without their rights either of person or property being destroyed or impaired by Congressional or Territorial Legislation.

Second. "That it is the duty of the Federal Government in all its departments to protect, when necessary the rights of persons and property in the Territories and wherever else its Constitutional authority extends.

Third. "That when the settlers in a territory having an adequate population form a State Constitution, the right of sovereignty commences, and, being consummated by admission into the Union, they stand on an equal footing with the people of other States; and that the State thus organized ought to be admitted into the Federal Union whether its Constitution prohibits or recognizes the institution of slavery."

Mr. Avery on presenting the resolutions stated the ground of difference with the minority as follows:

"We demand at the hands of our northern brethern upon this floor, that the great principles which we cherish should be recognized, and I speak the common sentiments of our constituents at home; and I intend no reflection upon- those who entertain a different opinion when I say that the result and ultimate consequences to the Southern States of this Confederacy, if the Popular Sovereignty Doctrine be adopted as the doctrine of the Democratic party, would be as dangerous and subversive of their rights as the adoption of the principles of Congressional intervention or prohibition.

We say that in a contest for the occupation of the territories of the United States, the southern man, encumbered with slaves, cannot compete with the Emigrant Aid Society of the North. That Society can send a voter to one of the Territories of the United States to determine a question relating to slavery for the sum of $200, while it would cost the southern man the sum of $1500.

We say that whenever there is competition between the South and the North, that the North can and will at less expense and difficulty, secure power, control and dominion over the Territories of the Federal Government; and if then you establish the doctrine, that a Territorial Legislature which may be established by Congress in any Territory, has the right directly or indirectly to affect the institution of Slavery then you can see that the Legislature by its action, either directly or indirectly, may finally exclude every man from the slave holding States as effectually as if you had adopted the Wilmot Proviso out and out."

Mr. Henry B. Payne of Ohio presented a minority platform which after some changes was presented by Mr. Samuels of Iowa. On the Slavery question it said:

"Resolved - That the Democratic party will abide by the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States on the questions of Constitutional law."

Mr. Butler of Massachusetts disagreed with both reports and wanted simply the Cincinnati Platform of 1856 and there to stop.

After a long debate the minority report was adopted April 30th.

Mr. L. P. Walker of Alabama presented a written protest of twenty of the twenty-eight delegates from Alabama showing that they were instructed by the State Convention which elected them not to submit to any Squatter Sovereignty platform, but to withdraw from the Convention in case such a one was adopted. The Alabama Delegation concluded with the following statement: -

"The points of difference between the northern and southern Democracy are:

1st - As regards the status of Slavery as a political institution in the Territories, whilst they remain Territories, and the power of the people of a Territory to exclude it by unfriendly legislation and

2nd - As regards the duty of the Federal Government to protect the owner of slaves in the enjoyment of his property in the Territories so long as they remain such.

This Convention has refused by the platform adopted to settle either of these propositions in favor of the South. We deny to the people of a territory any power to legislate against the institution of Slavery; and we assert that it is the duty of the Federal Government, in all its departments, to protect the owner of slaves in the enjoyment of his property in the Territories. These principles, as we state them, are embodied in the Alabama Platform. Here then, is a plain, explicit, and direct issue between this Convention and the constituencies which we have the honor to represent in this body.

Instructed, as we are, not to waive this issue, the contingency, therefore, has arisen which, in our opinion, it becomes our duty to withdraw from this Convention. We beg to communicate this fact and to assure this Convention that we do so in no spirit of anger but under a sense of imperative obligation, properly appreciating its responsibilities and cheerfully submitting to its consequences."

Mr. Yancey of the southern delegation said: "The last Presidential election was won by ambiguity, double-dealing, and deception; by devising a platform that meant one thing at the North and another at the South.

We are resolved to have no more of this. We shall now succeed on a clear exhibition of our principles or not at all."

Mr. George E. Pugh of Ohio, a Douglass Democrat, said: "Thank God that a bold and honest man has at last spoken and told the whole truth with regard to the demands of the South. It is now plainly before the Convention and the country that the South does demand an advanced step from the Democratic party." He proceeded then to show that the northern Democrats had sacrificed themselves in battling for the rights of the South; and instanced one after another of the Delegates there present who had been defeated and thrown out of public life thereby. "And now, the very weakness thus produced is urged why the North should have no voice in forming the platform."

The Democracy is willing to stand by the old landmarks; to reaffirm the old faith. We deeply regret to part with our southern brethren. But if they can only abide with us on the terms they have now proposed, they must go. The Northwest must, and will be heard and felt. The northern Democrats are not children to be told to stand here, to stand there, to be moved by the beck and bidding of the South. Because we are in a minority on account of our fidelity to our Constitutional obligations, we are told in effect, that we must put our hands on our mouths and our mouths in the dust. Gentlemen, you mistake us; we will not do it."

The Southern leaders said: "Gentlemen from the North, look well to your doing! If you insist on your Squatter Sovereignty platform, in full view of its condemnation by the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case, you break up the Democratic party - nay more; you break up the Union! The unity of the Democratic party is the last bond that holds the Union together; that snapped, there is no other that can be trusted for a year. "

The Alabama Delegation then withdrew, being followed by the Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Florida, and a part of the Georgia Delegates.

Mr. W. B. Gaulden of Georgia said: "He would ask his friends of the South to come up in a proper spirit and ask our Northern friends to give us all our rights and take away the ruthless restrictions which cut off the supply of slaves from foreign lands. As a matter of right and justice to the South, I would ask the Democracy of the North to grant us this thing; and I believe they have the patriotism and honesty to do it, because it is right in itself. I tell you, fellow Democrats, that the African Slave-trader is the true Union man. The Slave-trader of Virginia is more immoral, more unchristian in every point of view, than the African Slave-trader who goes to Africa and brings a heathen and worthless man here, makes him a useful man. Christianizes him, and sends him and his posterity down the stream of time to enjoy the blessings of civilization. Virginia, the great Slave-trading state of Virginia, is opposed to the African Slave trade."

Dr. Reed of Indiana said - "I am from Indiana and I am in favor of it."

Mr. Gaulden, continued, ''Now, Virginia which authorizes the buying of Christian men, separating them from their wives and children from all the relations and associations amid whom they have lived for years, roll up her eyes in holy horror when I would go to Africa, buy a savage, and introduce him to the blessings of civilization and Christianity."

Capt. Rynders of New York said - ''You can get one or two recruits from New York to join with you."

Mr. Gaulden - "It has been my fortune to go into Virginia to buy a few darkies; and I have had to pay $1,000 to $2,000 a head, when I could go to Africa and buy better negroes for fifty dollars apiece. If any of you northern Democrats will go home with me to my plantation in Georgia, I will show you some darkies that I bought in Maryland, some I bought in Delaware, some I bought in Virginia, some in Florida, some in North Carolina, and I will also show you the pure African, the noblest Roman of them all.

I come from the First Congressional District of the State of Georgia. I represent the African Slave-trade interest of that section. I say to the northern Democracy, are you prepared to go back to first principles, and take off your Constitutional restrictions and leave this question to be settled by each state? Now, do this, and you will have peace in the country but so long as your Federal Legislature takes jurisdiction of this question, so long will there be war, so long there will be ill blood and strife until this glorious Union of ours shall be disrupted and go out in blood and night forever. I advocate the repeal of the laws prohibiting the African Slave-trade because I believe it to be the true Union movement. I do not believe that sections whose interests are so different as the southern and northern states, can ever stand the shocks of fanaticism unless they be equally balanced. I believe that, reopening this trade and giving us negroes to populate the territories, the equilibrium of the two sections will be maintained."

The Convention then proceeded to ballot for President. After the fifty-seventh ballot, and no candidate chosen, the Convention after being in session ten days, on May 3d adjourned, to re-assemble at Baltimore on Monday, June 18th, and recommended the Democratic party of the several States whose delegates had withdrawn to fill their places prior to that date.

The seceding Delegates held a meeting with Senator Bayard of Delaware in the chair, and adopted the Avery Platform. After four days deliberation, this Convention adjourned to meet at Richmond, Va., on the second Monday of June (11th).

The regular Convention met at Baltimore, pursuant to adjournment, on June 18th. Several days were spent on contested seats from the Southern States; and when this was concluded, the whole or part of the Delegates from Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri and California, withdrew from the Convention.

General Cushing resigned the chair which was immediately taken by Governor Todd of Ohio, a Vice-president at the Charleston Convention.

General B. F. Butler of Massachusetts, said ''that a majority of the Delegates from Massachusetts would not participate farther in the deliberation of the Convention." General Butler said, "there has been a withdrawal, in part, of a majority of the states; and further, upon the ground that I will not sit in a Convention when the African slave trade, which is piracy by the laws of my country, is approvingly advocated." This caused a great sensation.

The Convention then proceeded to ballot for President. On the second ballot, Stephen A. Douglas received two-thirds of the votes and was declared to be the regular nominee of the Democratic party of the United States for the office of President.

Hon. Benjamin Fitzpatrick of Alabama was elected as Vice-President. Two days later he declined the nomination, and the National Committee substituted Hershel V. Johnson of Georgia.

The Secession Convention met at Richmond, Va. June 11th, and adjourned to Baltimore and finally met at St. Mary's Institute, June 28th. Twenty-one States were fully or partly represented.

Mr. Avery again submitted his Charleston Platform, which was adopted without alteration.

The Convention by unanimous vote elected John C. Breckenridge of Kentucky as their candidate for President and General Joseph Lane of Oregon, candidate for Vice-president.

The "Constitutional Union," (late American party) held a convention at Baltimore, on May 19th, and nominated John Bell of Tennessee as candidate for President and Edward Everett of Massachusetts as candidate for Vice-president. Their platform resolved, that it is both the part of patriotism and of duty to recognize no political principle other than the Constitution of the Country, the Union of the States, and the enforcement of the laws. Nothing said on the slavery question.

The Republican National Convention met in Chicago, Ill., on Wednesday, May 16th, 1860. All the Free States were well represented and delegates were there from Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, and the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska.

A platform committee of one from each state and territory represented was appointed the first day. The committee submitted a report on the evening of the second day, which was immediately and unanimously adopted. The part on the Slavery question was as follows.

Resolution Second. "That the principle promulgated in the Declaration of Independence and embodied in the Federal Constitution, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, is essential to the preservation of our Republican institutions; and that the Federal Constitution, the rights of the states, and the Union of the states, must and shall be preserved.

Third. That to the Union of the states this nation owes its unprecedented increase in population, its surprising development of material resources, its rapid augmentation of wealth, its happiness at home and its honor abroad; and we hold in abhorrence all schemes for dis-union, come from whatever source they may: we denounce those threats of dis-union, in case of a popular overthrow of their ascendency, as denying the vital principles of a free government, and as an avowal of contemplated treason, which it is the imperative duty of an indignant people sternly to rebuke and forever silence.

Fourth. That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the states and especially the right of each state, to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of powers on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by aimed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter under what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.

Seventh. That the new dogma, that the Constitution of its own force, carries slavery into all of the territories of the United States, is a dangerous political heresy, at variance with the explicit provisions of that instrument itself, with contemporaneous exposition, and with legislative and judicial precedent; is revolutionary in its tendency, and subversive of the peace and harmony of the country.

Eighth. That the normal condition of all the territory of the United States, is that of freedom: That as our Republican fathers, when they had abolished slavery in all our national territory, ordained that "no person should be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due possess of law," it becomes our duty by legislation, whenever such legislation is necessary to maintain this provision of the constitution against all attempts to violate it; and we deny the authority of Congress, of a Territorial Legislation, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to slavery in any territory of the United States.

Ninth. That we brand the recent reopening of the African slave trade under the cover of our national flag, aided by perversions of judicial power, as a crime against humanity and a burning shame to our country and age; and we call upon Congress to take prompt and efficient measures for the total and final suppression of that execrable traffic.

Tenth. That in the recent vetoes by the Federal Governors, of the Acts of the Legislatures of Kansas and Nebraska prohibiting slavery in those territories, we find a practical illustration of the boasted Democratic principle of Non-intervention and Popular Sovereignty embodied in the Kansas-Nebraska bill, and a demonstration of the deception and fraud involved therein.

Eleventh. That Kansas, should of right be immediately admitted as a state under the Constitution recently formed, and adopted by the House of Representatives."

The convention then proceeded to ballot for President. On the third ballot Abraham Lincoln of Illinois, having received a majority of all votes cast; Mr. William M. Evarts of New York, moved that the nomination be made unanimous; seconded by Mr. John A. Andrews of Massachusetts, and Abraham Lincoln was made the choice of the convention. On the second ballot for Vice-president, Hannibal Hamlin of Maine, received 367 votes to ninety-nine for all others and was declared duly nominated.

The Douglas, Breckenridge and Lincoln parties were planted on the following principles.

DOUGLAS. - Slavery or no slavery in any territory is entirely the affair of the white inhabitants of such territory. If they choose to have it, it is their right; if they choose not to have it, they have a right to exclude or prohibit it. Neither Congress nor the people of the Union or of any part of it outside of said territory have any right to meddle with or trouble themselves about the matter.

BRECKENRIDGE -The citizen of any state has the right to migrate to any territory, taking with him anything which is property by the law of his own state, and hold, enjoy, and be protected in the use of such property in said territory. And Congress is bound to render such protection whenever necessary whether with or without the co-operation of the Territorial Legislature.

LINCOLN - Slavery can only exist by virtue of municipal law; and there is no law for it in the territories and no power to enact one. Congress can establish or legalize slavery nowhere, but is bound to prohibit it in, or exclude it from any and every Federal Territory whenever and wherever there shall be necessity for such exclusion or prohibition.

The four political parties were now ready for the business of the campaign, and never before this time, had there been a canvass carried through with anything like the force and determination by the leaders of all the parties. Mass meetings and pole raisings were held in every city, town and village, throughout the whole country, where speakers extolled the good things of their own party, and explained and derided what they called the bad things of the other parties; such great interest and excitement prevailed as had never before been reached.

The election was held November 6th, 1860, with the result as follows: Lincoln 1,857,610 votes; Douglas received 1,365,976, votes; Breckenridge received 847,951 votes; Bell received 590.631. Total 4,662,168.

In the Electoral College, Lincoln received 180 votes; Breckenridge received 72 votes; Bell received 39 votes; Douglas received 12 votes. Total 303. which gave Lincoln a majority - of 57 over all others.

While Lincoln did not have a majority of all the votes cast at the election, he received a majority of fifty-seven of the Presidential Electors and was elected President.

In the election of 1856, Buchanan received 1,838,169 votes; Fremont received 1,341,264 votes; Fillmore received 874,534 votes. Total 4,053,967.

In the Electoral College, Buchanan had 174 votes; Fremont had 114; Fillmore 0. Total 228.

While Buchanan in 1856 did not have a majority of all the votes cast at the election, he received a majority of sixty of the Presidential Electors and was elected President.

The result of the election of 1860 was not at all pleasing to the slave holders, and the southern leaders began at once to carry out their often repeated threat to dissolve the Union. The Legislature of South Carolina on November 10th, 1860, five days after the election issued a call for a State Convention to meet on December 17th, and on December 20th, the Convention by unanimous vote, declared that, ''the Union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States under the name of the United States is hereby dissolved" and gave as the reason that fourteen states had failed to fulfill their Constitutional obligations.

This act of South Carolina was followed by other Southern States which passed Secession Ordinances as follows: Mississippi, January 8th, 1861; Florida, January 11th, 1861; Georgia, January 19th, 1861; Louisiana, January 26th, 1861, Texas, February 1st, 1861; Virginia, April 25th, 1861; Arkansas, May 6th, 1861; North Carolina, May 20th, 1861; Tennessee, June 8th, 1861.

The reason given by these states was the same as that given by South Carolina with the addition that "these fourteen states had elected a man to the high office of President of the United States whose opinions and purposes were hostile to slavery. ''

On February 4th, 1861, delegates from the States that had at that date seceded met at Montgomery, Alabama, to form a new government. This Congress, on February 18th, adopted a Constitution with the title " Confederate States of America, " elected and inaugurated Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, and Alexander H. Stephens, of Alabama for President and Vice-president.

The seceded States immediately took action to prepare for the coming contest of arms. The Georgia Legislature passed a bill appropriating $1,000,000 to arm and equip the state. The South had seized forts, arsenals, ships and munitions of war, the United States mint at New Orleans, with $500,000 in money, and other public property there, said to amount to about $4,000,000; and all public property in the seceded states that they could reach.

The members of both houses of Congress from these states generally left soon after their states passed their secession ordinances.

John B. Floyd, President Buchanan's Secretary of War, had sent all the munitions of war that he could well reach in the North to southern forts, most of the regular army being sent to Texas, and the ships of the navy being in the South or absent at foreign stations, everything being ready to their hand; Floyd resigned December 29th, 1860 and left Washington for the South.

During the night of December 26th, 1860, Major Anderson moved his handful of United States troops from Fort Moultrie in Charleston harbor to Fort Sumter.

On January 21st, 1861, most of the Southern members of Congress having left, Kansas with a population of 107,000, by a vote in the Senate of 36 to 16, and in the House a few clays later by a vote of 119 to 42, was admitted with a Free State Constitution as a member of the Union.

All through the South a secret order known as the ' '' Knights of the Golden Circle," was being organized and the lodges were extending through the South and into the Free States. All members were sworn to fidelity to southern rights and slavery protection.

Great efforts were made by the leaders of all parties in the North by Conventions and petitions to Congress to amend the Constitution of the United States so as to satisfy the South on the slavery question; but no good resulted as the southern leaders absolutely refused to accept any concessions.

President-elect Lincoln arrived in Washington February 24th, 1861, at 6 o'clock a. m., by special train from Philadelphia. He was inaugurated Monday, March 4th, 1861. In his inaugural address he said in part, "That no state upon its own motion can lawfully get out of the Union; that resolves and ordinances to that effect are legally void; and that acts of violence within any state or states against the authority of the United States are insurrectionary or revolutionary according to circumstances.

I therefore consider that in view of the Constitution and laws, the Union is unbroken and to the extent of my ability, I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union shall be faithfully executed in all the States.

"I trust this will not be regarded as a menace, but only as the declared purpose of the Union; that it will constitutionally defend and maintain itself.

"In doing this there need be no bloodshed nor violence, and there shall be none unless it is forced upon the national authority. In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors."

The Confederates took this as a declaration of war, and they hastened their preparations for the coming contest.

The address greatly united the people of the North.

Major Anderson had for fifteen weeks been shut up in Fort Sumter, by the rebels, when on April 12th, 1861, at 4.30 o'clock in the morning, the rebel batteries under command of General Beauregard opened fire on the fort; and this commenced the war of the Slave Holders' Rebellion.

It is an old saying, "that whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad," and it proved true in the slavery issue. The pro-slavery leaders were mad because their purpose to gain and hold political power was going from them. They were mad in their determination for slavery extension and protection; mad in their murderous and treasonable course to compel Kansas to become a Slave State; mad in their nominating conventions and through the campaign of 1860; mad because of the results of the election; mad in their secession of States, and in forming a Confederacy to destroy the Union; mad in commencing the war; for, by the war which they thus inaugurated, slavery, their pet institution was to be destroyed; and with slavery gone, their power to control the United States Government, by and through that institution was also gone - lost forever.

SOURCE: History of the Town of Elma Erie County, N. Y. 1620 To 1901; Warren Jackman; Buffalo; G. M. Hausauer & Son; 1902