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A Constitutional History of the United States
Chapter XLI - The Struggle for Kansas
by McLaughlin, Andrew C.


Before the Dred Scott case came to the Court for discussion, the struggle for Kansas had begun. Hardly was the ink dry on the Kansas-Nebraska bill when movements were on foot by slavery and antislavery men alike to get possession of the territory. Popular sovereignty, reduced to its lowest and least edifying terms, was a contest of strength; and in such a contest slavery was doomed to failure. If popular sovereignty meant — despite all attempts to rob it of clear meaning — the right of the people to decide, then slavery had no real chance. The north, moving at first more slowly than the border forces, had every advantage — more men, more economic strength, and equal determination. A slave-owner would well hesitate to carry his animate property into a region where it might soon be taken from him; under any circumstances, such a removal was a serious undertaking. And for the job of settling, for the frontiersman's job of enduring privation and of ceaseless attack upon the stubborn glebe of the western prairies, the free individual settlers were immensely superior to a band of slaves. In the long run, the anti-slavery men must win. It was "a contest in which the Southern oligarchy, much-cumbered and heavily shod, could not cope with freedom in its nimbler movements." [1]

Even before the passing of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, steps were taken at the north to promote migration to the west. The Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company was formed, receiving a second charter under the title of the New England Emigrant Aid Company in February, 1855. This movement was hailed at the south as a dastardly attempt to seize the new land by force. In the months that followed it was common among the sympathizers with slavery to denounce the "Hessian mercenaries" and "hirelings" who had been hurried to the territory to work the infamous will of northern abolitionists and mischief-makers.[2]

The southern cause had to depend at first on restless adventurers from western Missouri who held no slaves, but who hated all abolitionists and loved the rough-and-tumble of conflict. They were the advance-guard, the janizaries of a militant cause. They were at first successful. A governor and other officers selected at Washington appeared in Kansas; a proslavery delegate to Congress was chosen by several hundred invaders from Missouri. The election of the legislature disclosed what might be accomplished by enterprise; in February, 1855 there appeared to be 2,905 voters; in March, 6,307 votes were cast [3] — quite properly called an "astonishing exhibition of popular sovereignty...." When the news reached New England, the people were stirred to deep resentment; that, then, was popular sovereignty ! "... it has lately been maintained," exclaimed Edward Everett, "by the sharp logic of the revolver and the bowie-knife, that the people of Missouri are the people of Kansas!" [4] The legislature passed a code of slave laws; among them was one making it a crime to deny in speech or writing the right to hold slaves.[5] The territory was ere long the scene of violence, murder, and ruffianism; the story is unappetizing and, fortunately for our purposes, need not be related. It is needless, also, to attempt any nice discrimination between the factions, when once passions of the baser sort were let loose. The free-state men were, however, on the whole wisely led, not in their career of violence, but in political strategy, by Dr. Charles Robinson, who had come to the territory as an agent of the Emigrant Aid Company.[6]

The anti-Missouri forces began to organize in the summer of 1855. They were utterly unwilling to recognize the spurious legislature. In October a convention assembled at Topeka. A majority of the members were Democrats; few were radical antislavery men. They prepared to assume statehood and ask for admission to the union. A constitution, prohibiting slavery after July 4, 1857, was drafted and submitted to the people for adoption, and with it was a separate declaration against the admission of free negroes into the state. The constitution was adopted by an overwhelming majority, the proslavery men of course not voting, but looking askance at the presumption of their opponents. It is interesting to notice that the pronouncement against the admission of negroes was likewise adopted, evidence of no sentimental fervor for the black man's companionship. Ridiculous as it may now seem for a few thousand people to prepare for immediate admission to the union — and to do so when the territory was in turmoil and in high dispute — the movement was not totally without precedent. There was in fact no fully substantiated legal procedure in this all-important matter of establishing a state. Steps were taken to put the constitution into operation. Robinson, known to be an earnest opponent of slavery, was chosen to be Governor (January, 1856). Under his guidance there was sure to be patient but unrelenting work for the cause.

The situation was now serious. There were two governments (the territorial government and the state, government), one of them legal, recognized at Washington, though resting on violence and fraud, the other a shadow, without validity, and yet bafflingly real and effective. The free-state party had a fair share of reckless and unmanageable characters, but the "state government" could accomplish its ends only by biding its time and contenting itself with being a visible and continuous protest against the fraudulent territorial system; that much it did succeed in doing effectively. It held the antislavery men together and gave them a method of expression, but it made no desperate attempt to make and enforce law; it only masqueraded as a government. It was, after all, as Jefferson Davis said, "a mere town meeting" — but no one will underestimate town-meetings, if he can recognize enemies when he sees them.

When Congress met in December, 1855, — the Congress elected amid the excitement and upheaval that ensued upon the repeal of the Compromise — there was confusion for several weeks because there was no party majority and a speaker could not be chosen or the House organized for business. President Pierce's annual message, not delivered until the end of the month, dealt only briefly with Kansas and her troubles; but it did contain a dissertation on the nature of the union and the wrongs suffered by the unoffending south. Even if the charges against the north were justifiable, even if Pierce were justified in deploring sectional agitation, and even if he were totally right in his views of the Constitution and the aggression of northern sectionalism, it remains still a matter of interest that a man from the mountain state of New Hampshire should put forth exactly and at length the views and the arguments that emanated from the plantations of Mississippi: the south was totally right; the northern antislavery forces were sinfully wrong. "The Congress of the United States", Pierce announced, "is in effect that congress of sovereignties which good men in the Old World have sought for, but could never attain.... Our coöperative action rests in the conditions of permanent confederation prescribed by the Constitution."

In January, Pierce sent to Congress a special message — another interesting and amazing document. It laid down the principle of territorial control of domestic institutions; and this is noteworthy. How did it escape the careful eyes of his proslavery mentors in the cabinet? [7] For "propagandist colonization", which was designed to prevent "free and natural action" of the inhabitants of the territory, he had words of reproof: such designs, proclaimed through the press "in language extremely irritating and offensive", naturally aroused intense indignation in neighboring states and especially in Missouri. An act of Congress authorizing the people of a territory to form a constitution was not in the President's opinion indispensable, but in every case it must be the people of a territory, not a party among them, who have the power to form a constitution and ask admission to the union. "Interference on the one hand to procure the abolition or prohibition of slave labor in the Territory has produced mischievous interference on the other for its maintenance or introduction." As a remedy for disorders in Kansas, which were likely to occur with increasing violence, provision should be made for a convention and preparation for admission to the union when the people should so desire and should be of sufficient number. We are forced to inquire why this readiness to admit Kansas. Is it unfair to assume either that the President saw the contest lost or that he hoped to win the land for slavery before it was inundated by antislavery voters? Or was the President's statement only due to a desire to save the face of popular sovereignty, already badly disfigured?

Before leaving Pierce and his opinions, it is well to call attention to his annual message of the following December (1856). This again is an interesting evidence of the assurance with which a northern politician could defend the southern cause and heap the blame upon a fanatical and meddlesome north: "Extremes beget extremes. Violent attack from the North finds its inevitable consequence in the growth of a spirit of angry defiance at the South." The President's attack upon the antislavery forces, possibly intended to be a reproof only for the most extreme abolitionists, appears to be a vitriolic arraignment of the Republicans; and if it is to be thus interpreted, it was a strange and ultrapartisan announcement, especially as it came from the leader of a party which at the last election had cast less than one-half of the popular vote.[8]

This brief presentation of Pierce and his messages, unimportant as both may seem to be, is necessary for an understanding of those hectic years. It discloses the fact that the southern cause was not southern alone: it reveals the readiness of a northern President, presumably speaking for his party, to stand by that cause in every particular; it enables one to understand the intensity of feeling among northern opponents of slavery-extension, for they knew perfectly well that, if the whole country, north and south, was not to be committed to the slavery cause, they must overcome, not alone their opponents at the south, but their political adversaries at the north, and those who, like Douglas, did not care whether slavery was voted up or voted down.

And yet the sayings and doings of the President were not a matter of supreme importance. What was Stephen A. Douglas doing and saying? He was the pivot and the center. He was an able and adroit parliamentarian and the most able and ruthless debater of his day. Virile, active, persistent, tireless, he was capable of winning applause from the multitude, not by virtue of a graceful presence or by dint of the old-fashioned, high-flown rhetoric, but by hard blows and stern argument, or by what passed for argument. He was the most conspicuous figure in the Democratic party; for effective party service no other northern Democrat was quite in the same class. If the union was to be saved, the Democrats must hold the north, and no one could do it but Douglas. The time had come when the unity of that party overshadowed every other consideration.[9] Perhaps the leaders saw that fact clearly, as clearly as we do now. If the Democracy was broken, if the south could no longer rely on Unflinching support north of Mason and Dixon's line, nothing remained but southern submission or withdrawal from a contaminated union. Douglas's own section and his own state were permeated with antislavery sentiment; in the election of 1856, three of the free states of the old northwest chose Republican electors, while in Illinois the Democratic victory was ominously slender. In New York the opposing candidates received over twice as many popular votes as were cast for Buchanan. If the "Little Giant" could work his will, vigorous opponents of the man and his policy had to be met and overcome — such men as Lyman Trumbull of Illinois, Zachariah Chandler of Michigan, and Benjamin Wade of Ohio. The first two were new combatants in the arena. Trumbull was a statesman not to be browbeaten by Douglas's favorite methods or misled by adroitness into the discussion of unimportant issues. The other two could be as vehement as Douglas himself, and quite as unyielding.

The Kansas question was hotly debated in Congress in the spring and early summer of 1856. The Senate committee on territories, to which the President's special message was referred, made its report in March. Douglas, the chairman, it is fair to assume, was mainly responsible for the argument and the language. A minority report, differing in every respect from that of the majority, was offered by Collamer of Vermont. The majority report studiously and cleverly laid the blame upon the shoulders of the New England Emigrant Company — "a vast moneyed corporation ... a powerful corporation, with a capital of five millions of dollars invested in houses and lands, in merchandise and mills, in cannon and rifles, in powder and lead...." [10] Possibly Douglas may have really supposed, when repealing the Missouri Compromise, the result would be a quiet, decorous movement into the territory and a polite adjustment of the slavery question.[11] But he was now wroth at this attempt to "abolitionize Kansas."[12] His anger at "Black Republicanism" was bitter. The committee presented a bill authorizing the summoning of a convention for the formation of a constitution; such a step was to be taken when the population was equal in number to that required by the then existing ratio of representation for a member of Congress. One real or ostensible objection to a serious consideration of the free-state constitution already adopted was the fact of its being set up by a gathering which did not recognize the territorial government.[13]

In March, Douglas and Trumbull had a vigorous duel of words and wits in the Senate chamber; and in that meeting we see the real situation and the real issue, for Senator Trumbull, though elected by a combination of anti-Nebraska, anti-Douglas, and Whig legislators in Illinois, had been a life-long Democrat. The vehemence of Douglas, who resisted what he called a personal attack upon himself, was doubtless caused by the maddening spectacle of a colleague, a renegade from the ranks of the true Democracy, daring to engage in hostile criticism and withal to indulge in damaging logic. Was this Senator from a state which was Douglas's own bailiwick to be allowed to question the leader's authority and the sanctity of party creed? We need not wonder at the earnestness — to use a gentle word — of Douglas; for what became of party solidarity, in behalf of which he toiled and planned, and what became of his own leadership, if "Black Republicanism" was to issue in the Senate chamber from the lips of one who declared he advocated no "other doctrines than those which have been handed down to us by the Democratic fathers of the Republic"? [14]

The House appointed a committee to go to Kansas and investigate conditions. They examined over three hundred witnesses and early in July presented "a report, in which a great mass of facts is accumulated wholly creditable to neither side." [15] In the place of the original bill presented by the committee above-mentioned, another, commonly called the Toombs bill, was offered and adopted by the Senate. It provided for a convention and for the admission of Kansas to the union with a constitution thus formed. It was fair on its face, and was probably meant to be fair, but the Republicans could now see lurking dangers in every corner and wayside bush. They distrusted the gift-bearing Greeks when they found the bill providing for a commission to take charge of the preliminaries — a commission to be appointed by Pierce. The House would have none of it, but sent to the Senate a measure of its own for the admission of Kansas under the constitution already framed by the free-state settlers. To this, of course, the Senate refused to give its consent. In the Senate, and in the House too, the determined opponents of slavery were doubtless moved by such sentiments as those expressed by Seward (July 2, 1856): "So far as the subject of slavery is concerned, the most which can be claimed for this bill is, that it gives an equal chance to the people of Kansas to choose between freedom and slavery.... I recognize no equality, in moral right or political expediency, between slavery and freedom. I hold the one to be decidedly good, and the other to be positively bad." [16] To the southerners this was intolerable, even to the least bitter of them, and, as we shall see more clearly later, it presented the irreconcilable difficulty: slavery was wrong and, because it was wrong, no more slave states should be admitted; slavery should be confined within its ancient limits.

Through the summer of 1856 the disorders in Kansas suffered no abatement. The presidential election, resulting in a Democratic victory, could not settle the problem, much as Pierce might talk about the decision of the people. The Know Nothing or American party, with its passwords and grips and secrets and all the histrionic performances which frequently attract such people as do not like the labor of connected thought, was by this time increasing in numbers; it served to divert attention from the slavery issue and for a brief period gave evidence of vitality, but, as Horace Greeley said, in good racy English, "It would seem as devoid of the elements of persistence as an anti-cholera or an anti-potato-rot party would be." In 1854, it succeeded in electing forty-three members to the House; and two years later, having nominated Fillmore for the presidency — a nomination concurred in by the remnant of Whigs reluctant to abandon their old name — it cast over 800,000 votes, about one-fifth of the total number of popular votes of that year. Only one state, however, — Maryland — was carried for the party candidate.

The new Republican party showed astonishing strength. The Congress elected in the autumn after the repeal of the Missouri Compromise (1854) contained over a hundred Republicans and anti-Nebraska men. In the presidential election (1856) over 1,300,000 votes were cast for Frémont, the Republican candidate; but of the states which afterwards joined the Confederacy not a single vote was given for the Republican electors, except in Virginia, where an insignificant number supported the Republican ticket. Plainly, the charge that the new party was sectional had ample foundation, and that fact menaced the union.

When Buchanan had taken office, he appointed to the governorship of Kansas Robert J. Walker of Mississippi, a shrewd and capable man, who could have had no passionate hatred of slavery. But Walker, like his predecessors, found difficulties awaiting him. The territorial legislature, proslavery, had already taken steps for the gathering of a convention and the framing of a constitution. Walker had been told officially, that any constitution, so adopted, must be submitted to the people, and Walker was determined to carry out his instructions. Because the election of delegates to the convention was based on an absurdly insufficient census and registration, the free-state men refused to participate in the choice of delegates, and the result was the selection of proslavery advocates. The convention met at Lecompton in September, but after a brief session adjourned to meet in October. In the meantime, an election of members of the legislature took place, October 5, 1857. The free-state men, influenced by Robinson and by Henry Wilson, the Massachusetts Senator, now decided to vote, believing that Walker's assurance of a fair and free election gave them a chance to show their undoubted majority. They were successful in gaining control of the legislature,[17] and as a consequence the whole face of affairs was changed.

But the convention which met at Lecompton, proslavery to the core, had not finished its work. If a constitution recognizing slavery should be submitted to the people, and if the Free Soil men should vote, it would probably or certainly be scorned; the battle for slavery would be lost. "The convention, after an angry and excited debate, finally determined, by a majority of only two, to submit the question of slavery to the people, though at the last forty-three of the fifty delegates present affixed their signatures to the constitution." [18] The Lecompton constitution was submitted to the people, but in a strange fashion. The people were not allowed to vote for ratification or for rejection, but only for the constitution with slavery or for the constitution with no slavery; if the latter vote prevailed, the slaves then held in the territory were to remain in bondage. Governor Walker was indignant and went to Washington, where he found the President firm in support of the kind of submission which the Lecompton convention had decided upon. Walker resigned and wrote Cass, then the Secretary of State, that "... any attempt by Congress to force this constitution upon the people of Kansas will be an effort to substitute the will of a small minority for that of an overwhelming majority of the people of Kansas...." [19] The plan was, however, carried through; the constitution with slavery received 6,226 votes, of which, it is asserted, over 2,700 were fraudulent; the votes in opposition were 569, most of the free-state men refusing to vote. The legislature, now in the hands of the antislavery men, took the extraordinary step of submitting the whole constitution, and the result showed 10,226 against ratification and less than 200 in favor.

The Kansas affairs, which have been briefly presented in the preceding pages, are of importance in constitutional history because they disclose the absurdity of popular sovereignty. But there was another and more important result: a rift appeared in the Democratic ranks. Douglas was in vehement opposition to the Lecompton procedure. He had a stormy interview with the President who warned him against defying the administration, but to this Douglas replied, "Mr. President, I wish you to remember that General Jackson is dead." If the President and his southern supporters were on one side, and Douglas and his warm northern admirers were on the other, the long-cherished unity and harmony of the party were gone.

Buchanan favored admission under the Lecompton constitution. In his message of February 2, 1858, he declared that the free-state men had had a fair opportunity "to decide this exciting question" of slavery. Prompt admission to the union he thought highly desirable; if the people, after admission, desired to change their constitution, this they could freely do: "If a majority of them desire to abolish domestic slavery within the State, there is no other possible mode by which this can be effected so speedily as by prompt admission." [20] This plea was not without its appeal to those willing to forgive and forget, and to those anxious above all to smother the slavery question.

The breach between Douglas and the forces of the administration was a serious matter; in reality, and in the long run, it spelled the dethronement of Douglas. His opposition to the methods, by which the constitution had been adopted, preserved the allegiance, we may assume, of many northern Democrats who were indignant at the Lecompton travesty; but that was not enough; he must hold also the southern members of his party; the task proved in the end too hard for even his indomitable spirit. How much he was guided by the natural ambitions of leadership, no one can say. He was not filled with antislavery zeal, but once aroused (and he was aroused a good part of the time) he could be obstinate and unrelenting. Certainly he proved to be so when he was denouncing "a system of trickery and jugglery to defeat the fair expression of the will of the people." We are forced to feel compassion and even admiration for him in those trying years, abandoned by a portion of his followers, upbraided at the south, beset by men like Lincoln and Trumbull in his own state, and still boldly fighting on, trying to protect himself by the garments of popular sovereignty which had proved to assure everything except peace.

As the result of a noisy controversy in Congress, where truculence was more in evidence than placid statesmanship, a bill was passed (April 30, 1858) for resubmitting the Lecompton constitution. It gave the people of Kansas opportunity to accept a proposition granting to the state a considerable area of government land; if the proposition were accepted, the state was to come into the union under the Lecompton constitution; if rejected, no further convention was to be held until the population of the territory equaled or exceeded the number required for a single representative in Congress. The offer to Kansas, termed a mere sordid bribe by its opponents, was spurned by the Kansas voters. The territory remained outside the union until after the election of Lincoln.

What moved the introduction and passage of such a strange measure as the English bill? Probably a desperate hope that peace might thus be obtained; to this must be added the pressure of the administration and the lavish use of patronage,[21] and possibly the still lingering hope that Kansas might come in as a Democratic state. But it is an illuminating disclosure of a frantic and unhappy condition of mind, when lawmakers could actually suppose that the offer of a few thousand acres to a people, who looked out upon almost limitless, unpeopled prairies stretching away to the remote mountains, would induce them eagerly to accept a constitution which they despised. If members of Congress engaged in angry words and resorted to blows, would the people at the center of conflict be quiet and compliant? If men fought in Kansas, would they be unwilling to fight elsewhere? And if the cause of slavery were lost to more powerful forces on the western plains, did that fact simply foreshadow the final outcome in a greater and more terrible conflict?


[1] L. W. Spring, Kansas, p. 29.

[2] "They are 'a band of Hessian mercenaries,' said a committee of Missourians, in an address to the people of the United States. 'To call these people emigrants is a sheer perversion of language. They were not sent to cultivate the soil.... They have none of the marks of the old pioneers. If not clothed and fed by the same power which has effected their transportation they would starve. They are hirelings — an army of hirelings.... They are military colonies of reckless and desperate fanatics.'" T. C. Smith, Parties and Slavery, p. 124, quoting the Richmond Enquirer, October 5, 1855.

[3] "We had at least 7,000 men in the territory on the day of the election and one third of them will remain there. We are playing for a mightly stake, if we win we carry slavery to the Pacific Ocean if we fail we lose Missouri Arkansas and Texas and all the territories, the game must be played boldly." D. R. Atchison to R. M. T. Hunter, March 4, 1855, Correspondence of Robert M. T. Hunter 1826-1876, A. H. A. Report for 1916, II, p. 161.

[4] Edward Everett, Orations and Speeches on Various Occasions (1892 ed.), III, p. 347.

[5] Smith, op. cit., p. 129.

[6] "The struggle for the possession of Kansas, the loss of which to the South made secession a certainty, was essentially political and constitutional — not military.... In the field of diplomacy and finesse the pro-slavery leaders were outgeneraled.... The career of the free-state men, under the lead of Governor Robinson, who projected and inspired the whole tactical plan of its operations, has no parallel in American history." Spring, op. cit., pp. 266-267.

[7] The act to organize the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, he said, "was a manifestation of the legislative opinion of Congress ... that the inhabitants of any such Territory, considered as an inchoate State, are entitled, in the exercise of self-government, to determine for themselves what shall be their own domestic institutions, subject only to the Constitution and the laws duly enacted by Congress under it and to the power of the existing States [!] to decide, according to the provisions and principles of the Constitution, at what time the Territory shall be received as a State into the Union." Richardson, Messages and Papers, V, p. 352. See also, p. 359. To any unguarded reader this must have meant territorial control of slavery. What Pierce objected to was any artificial or external interference, any attempt by the people outside to affect by colonization a decision of the people in the territory.

[8] Buchanan had received 1,838,169 votes; Frémont, 1,341,264; Fillmore, 874,534. Edward Stanwood, A History of the Presidency (new ed. revised), I, p. 276. Fillmore was nominated by the American or Know Nothing party and was endorsed by the remnants of the Whigs.

[9] Alexander H. Stephens, addressing the voters of the Eighth Congressional District of Georgia, August 14, 1857, said that but for the course Walker was pursuing, Kansas would certainly have come in as a slave state. "But to whom", he asked, "are we indebted for that policy which was leading so certainly to that result?" His answer was, "to those true and gallant constitution-abiding men at the north..." The Correspondence of Robert Toombs, Alexander H. Stephens, and Howell Cobb, A. H. A. Report for 1911, II, pp. 418-419.

[10] "... those who were opposed to allowing the people of the Territory, preparatory to their admission into the Union as a State, to decide the slavery question for themselves, failing to accomplish their purpose in the halls of Congress, and under the authority of the constitution, immediately resorted in their respective States to unusual and extraordinary means to control the political destinies and shape the domestic institutions of Kansas...." Senate Reports, 34 Cong., 1 sess., no. 34, p. 39. Such conduct was in direct defiance of the rights of the people, and in direct opposition to the principle of allowing them to be "perfectly free" to regulate their domestic institutions.

[11] Lincoln, in his speech of October 16, 1854, at Peoria, soon after the repeal of the Compromise, used words that might well have rung long in the ears of Douglas: "In this state of affairs the Genius of Discord himself could scarcely have invented a way of again setting us by the ears but by turning back and destroying the peace measures of the past. The counsels of that Genius seem to have prevailed." Works (J. G. Nicolay and John Hay, editors), I, p. 199.

[12] "When the emigrants sent out by the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company, and their affiliated societies, passed through the State of Missouri in large numbers on their way to Kansas, the violence of their language, and the unmistakable indications of their determined hostility to the domestic institutions of that State, created apprehensions that the object of the company was to abolitionize Kansas as a means of prosecuting a relentless warfare upon the institutions of slavery within the limits of Missouri." Senate Reports, 34 Cong., 1 sess., no. 34, p. 9.

[13] Collamer's minority report deserves a word; indeed, only want of space excuses failure to give here a summary of both reports. "Treating this grievance in Kanzas [sic] with ingenious excuses, with neglect or contempt, or riding over the oppressed with an army, and dragooning them into submission, will make no satisfactory termination. Party success may at times be temporarily secured by adroit devices, plausible pretences, and partisan address; but the permanent preservation of this Union can be maintained only by frankness and integrity." Senate Reports, 34 Cong., 1 sess., no. 34, p. 61.

[14] For Trumbull's speech (March 14, 1856), see Congressional Globe, 34 Cong., 1 sess., appendix, p. 200 ff. Trumbull's caustic treatment of popular sovereignty must have made Douglas writhe. See Trumbull's speech of July 2, 1856, Ibid., p. 778 ff.

[15] Spring, op. cit., p. 108.

[16] Congressional Globe, 34 Cong., 1 sess., appendix, p. 790.

[17] The result of the election turned on the vote of two counties. In one, there were 1,266 proslavery votes cast though scarcely anyone lived there. In the other, which had six houses, including stores, there were 1,628 proslavery votes cast. Walker threw out the returns from these two counties. Spring, op. cit., p. 218.

[18] Buchanan's message of December 8, 1857. Richardson, Messages and Papers, V, p. 452.

[19] Senate Reports, 35 Cong., 1 sess., I, no. 8, p. 131.

[20] Buchanan said, among other things, one surprisingly foolish thing: "It has been solemnly adjudged by the highest judicial tribunal known to our laws that slavery exists in Kansas by virtue of the Constitution of the United States. Kansas is therefore at this moment as much a slave State as Georgia or South Carolina." Richardson, Messages and Papers, V, p. 479. The foolishness is not diminished by the fact that one could not be certain of the meaning; but the context appears to show that he believed there was a constitutional obligation to admit Kansas with the proslavery constitution.

[21] See Rhodes, History of the United States, II, p. 300.

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