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A History of the Republican Party by Platt

And the anti Nebraska sentiment dominated everything


storm of indignation swept over the North in the opening months of 1854, gaining in intensity and fury as the baseness of the new scheme of the Slave Power was fully realized. Thousands of letters poured in on Congressmen protesting against the passage of the Act, and hundreds of memorials and petitions were presented to the Senate and the House. The newspapers all over the North, beginning late in January, contained constant articles calling on the people to hold meetings and protest against the Nebraska outrage, and hundreds of these meetings were held in churches, schoolhouses and public halls, and the anti-Nebraska sentiment dominated everything. Douglas received the brunt of all this opprobrium, and was compared to Benedict Arnold. The foreign element was the strongest in opposition to the Nebraska measure, and the German newspapers and the Germans, North and South, were the most emphatic in their denunciation, and the success which the new political party was to have must be attributed largely to them. The Western States, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa, were the leaders in the anti-Nebraska movement, and also in the organization of political opposition. The election of 1852 had badly demoralized the Whig Party, and now the Kansas-Nebraska measures swept it away almost entirely in the Western States, but the Eastern States, while condemning the Douglas Bill and adopting resolutions similar to the Republican platforms of the West, were loath to give
up their party organization, and the Whig Party continued in several of them until after the election of 1856. During the period between 1852 and 1854 it probably occurred to many in the North, who watched and analyzed the popular sentiment and vote, that the Whig Party would soon be swept away, and that the dissatisfied masses of Abolitionists, Free-Soilers, Anti-Nebraska Whigs, Anti-Nebraska Democrats and Know-Nothings must and would unite into a party under a new name with a platform acceptable to the anti-slavery elements in politics. The Douglas Bill demanded political action in the North, but how was a new party to be formed? Who would lead it, and what would be the success of the new movement?

We come now to the organization and first meetings of the Republican Party. Alvan E. Bovay was the founder of the Republican Party. Not only were the name and early principles of the party clearly outlined and decided on in his mind, and talked about by him long before any action was taken by any other person, but he took the first practical steps looking to the dissolution of existing parties, and with patience and much difficult work brought about the first meeting and pointed out clearly and unanswerably the course to be taken.

[Illustration: Alvan E. Bovay, Founder of the Republican Party.]

Mr. Bovay was born in July, 1818, at Adams, New York; graduated from Norwich University, Vermont, and was Professor in

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