Party Government in the United States of America

By William Milligan Sloane | Go to book overview

XXII
KANSAS--NEBRASKA 1849-1853

Tendency to consolidate parties on the slavery line--Squatter sovereignty--Application in California--The Compromise of 1850--Political eclipse of the Executive--Appearance of the Kansas-Nebraska question--The conventions and election of 1852--Renewal of the Kansas-Nebraska question--Social influence of Southern leaders--Renovation of the Senate's prestige.

IN the ability of its members, in the dignity of its deliberation, and in the influence it exerted about the time of Jackson's advent, the Senate had secured for itself a reputation not even yet forgotten. But in the enlargement of executive power the body had declined in power and prestige. It was now again to have its qualities exhibited in a kind of rejuvenation. The election of Taylor was an important milestone on the road of political development. The new President was a Whig and a slave-holder. The Democratic party was split by the slavery question, and its opponents, being in power, had refused to put forth the Wilmot Proviso as one of their tenets, while remaining non-committal on the vital question, positively and negatively. Accordingly the pro-slavery Whigs began to join the Democratic majority, which had also remained non-committal, but which had been deserted by the Free Democracy, and was therefore largely pro-slavery. To a Whig pro-slavery Executive a disintegrating party was a broken reed for support; Taylor as President was

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