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Abraham Lincoln, Volume I by John T. Morse

Upon the one side stood Douglas


With

the opening of the spring of 1860 the several parties began the campaign in earnest. The Democratic Convention met first, at Charleston, April 23; and immediately the line of disruption opened. Upon the one side stood Douglas, with the moderate men and nearly all the Northern delegates, while against him were the advocates of extreme Southern doctrines, supported by the administration and by most of the delegates from the "Cotton States." The majority of the committee appointed to draft the platform were anti-Douglas men; but their report was rejected, and that offered by the pro-Douglas minority was substituted, 165 yeas to 138 nays.[96] Thereupon the delegations of Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Texas, and sundry delegates from other States, withdrew from the convention,[97] taking away 45 votes out of a total of 303. Those who remained declared the vote of two thirds of a full convention, _i.e._, 202 votes, to be necessary for a choice. Then during three days fifty-seven ballots were cast, Douglas being always far in the lead, but never polling more than 152-1/2 votes. At last, on May 3, an adjournment was had until June 18, at Baltimore. At this second meeting contesting delegations appeared, and the decisions were uniformly in favor of the Douglas men, which provoked another secession of the extremist Southern men. A ballot showed 173-1/2 votes for Douglas out of a total of 191-1/2; the total was less than two thirds of the full number of the original convention, and
therefore it was decided that any person receiving two thirds of the votes cast by the delegates present should be deemed the nominee. The next ballot gave Douglass 181-1/2. Herschel V. Johnson of Georgia was nominated for vice-president.

On June 28, also at Baltimore, there came together a collection composed of original seceders at Charleston, and of some who had been rejected and others who had seceded at Baltimore. Very few Northern men were present, and the body in fact represented the Southern wing of the Democracy. Having, like its competitor, the merit of knowing its own mind, it promptly nominated John C. Breckenridge of Kentucky and Joseph Lane of Oregon, and adopted the radical platform which had been reported at Charleston.

These doings opened, so that it could never be closed, that seam of which the thread had long been visible athwart the surface of the old Democratic party. The great record of discipline and of triumph, which the party had made when united beneath the dominion of imperious leaders, was over, and forever. Those questions which Lincoln obstinately and against advice had insisted upon pushing in 1858 had forced this disastrous development of irreconcilable differences. The answers, which Douglas could not shirk, had alienated the most implacable of men, the dictators of the Southern Democracy. His "looking-both-ways" theory would not fit with their policy, and their policy was and must be immutable; modification was in itself defeat. On the other hand, what he said constituted the doctrine to which the mass of the Northern Democracy firmly held. So now, although Republicans admitted that it was "morally certain" that the Democratic party, holding together, could carry the election,[98] yet these men from the Cotton States could not take victory and Douglas together.[99] It had actually come to this, that, in spite of all that Douglas had done for the slaveholders, they now marked him for destruction at any cost. Many also believe that they had another motive; that they had matured their plans for secession; and that they did not mean to have the scheme disturbed or postponed by an ostensibly Democratic triumph in the shape of the election of Douglas.


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