The Francis Preston Blair Family in Politics - Vol. 1

By William Ernest Smith | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXVII
MAKING A CABINET

These are the times that try men's souls.-- THOMAS PAINE.

" PENNSYLVANIA 70,000 for you. New York safe. Glory enough." That was the telegram from Simon Cameron to Abraham Lincoln about midnight of November 6, 1860. Within twenty-four hours the full results of the election were known. Lincoln was President-elect.

The returns from the election made the fact obvious that he was President-elect not because of the split in the Democratic party. It was also obvious that the South had no reason to fear Republican interference with slavery where it existed, but there was to be an end to the extension of slavery into our territories. The Democrats of the South could have successfully and profitably reorganized their party and through the Democracy regained control of the government. Instead, they followed a maddened group of fire-eaters who were hell-bent for rule or ruin. They had threatened secession before the election. The legislature of South Carolina made good its threat by refusing to adjourn until after the election, and then by calling a convention to decide on secession. The convention unanimously adopted an ordinance on December 20 by which it declared and ordained the dissolution of the Union. She set herself up as an independent state with her own flag. Within six months six other cotton states took similar action. On February 4, 1861, delegates from the seceding states met at Montgomery, Alabama, where they organized the Southern Confederacy.

President-elect Lincoln was forced to stand helplessly by while the active Southerners with impunity made away with some of the prized possessions of the United States. Money, mints, forts,

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