Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 27 >> 58 Political Parties to Or The Ottoman Em >> Dred Scott Decision_P1

Dred Scott Decision

south, slavery, southern, party, carolina and douglas

Page: 1 2

DRED SCOTT DECISION ) . The result in the North was the immediate supremacy of the Republican party, whose one idea was that slavery should not be permitted to expand, but should be limited to the States in which it had prevailed for years. Lincoln expyessed the view of the advanced thought of .the North when he said this nation cannot long endure "half slave and half free"; it must become all one or all the other. His program was that steps should be taken to fix the bounds of the institution and to assure the nation that slavery was under process of final extinction. He was nominated as the Republican candidate for the Presidency in Chicago in May 1860, and elected the following November.

The Democratic party still insisting on its conservative, free trade, pro slavery program, met in Charleston, S. C., in April 1860. After some attempt on the part of some Eastern men to nominate Jefferson Davis on a Douglas platform and on the failure of Yancey to get his famous "Alabama platform" adopted the convention split asunder, the Southern ex tremists following Yancey out of the convention hall in dramatic fashion, the Douglas men ad journing to meet again in Baltimore in June. Attempts were made during the succeeding months, especially after the nomination of Lin coln, to reconcile the two wings of the con vention and thus unite on a candidate, but to no avail. The two branches of the Democratic party met in Baltimore and nominated separate tickets, the Northern men naming Douglas and Johnson, of Georgia, and the South putting forth Breckenridge and Lane on an aggressive pro-slavery platform.

An exciting campaign was waged throughout the country. In the South Yancey was the principal orator. He had finally brought his section to accept the program which he had written for the Democrats of Alabama 12 years before; his powers of speech, the evident sincerity of motive which animated him and the universal interest in the campaign gave him vast audiences everywhere. Every Southern State but three voted as he asked and the States which did not support him his party strength was very great. Douglas canvassed

the North manfully, but he received the vote of but two States, New Jersey and Missouri. Lin coln received the majority of the electoral vote.

It was generally understood among Southern politicians that South Carolina would promptly secede in the event pf n Republican victory. The Gulf States were expected to follow suit. The South Carolina plan was the same that Barnwell Rhett had urged in 1850-51 and Rhea, having been some years now the editor of the Charleston Mercury, had come forward again the leader of a State completely con verted to his way of thinking. The Palmetto State seceded by unanimous vote of a conven tion of her ablest men on 20 Dec. 1860. By 6 Feb. 1861, the tier of Southern States from South Carolina to Texas withdrew their alle giance from the Union and reassumed the sovereign powers which had been surrendered to the national government.

The agricultural life of the South had de veloped slavery as a fundamental factor in her economic life; on this basis had been erected a feudalism of a high order, a social system unique in modern times. To protect this sys tem from the hostile encroachments of an un sympathetic outside world, the leaders of this section had since 1820 entrenched themselves behind the popular doctrine of States rights. Accepting this dogma without question the State of South Carolina made a single-handed fight in 1833 against the national tariff system as based on false interpretation of the national compact. The nation gradually adopted the Southern view and steadily lowered the tariff duties until in 1857 the country was placed practically on a free trade basis. Constantly threatened by representatives of Northern and Eastern States with the declaration that

Page: 1 2