Party Government in the United States of America

By William Milligan Sloane | Go to book overview

XXIII
PARTY WARFARE 1853-1857

Demand to interpret Compromise of 1850--The Kansas-Nebraska Bill--The Know-nothing party--The struggle for Kansas-- Formation of the Republican party--The settlement of Kansas-- War in Kansas--Assault on Sumner, and the conventions--The elections indecisive--The irrepressible conflict.

THE new President, though not a man of the highest power, possessed a higher courage than his immediate predecessors; at least he displayed some willingness to use the accumulated prestige of the Executive as representative of the people when occasion served. His popular majority was large, and there was an increased Democratic majority in both Houses when the Thirty-third Congress met in its first session ( December 5, 1853-August 7, 1854). There was at first apparent hesitancy in meeting the insistent issue. The message asserted Pierce's intention of carrying out the Compromise of 1850, but there was no unfolding of its interpretation. There was offered in the Senate a bill for the organization of the entire Platte country as the Territory of Nebraska, on the basis of the Missouri compromise, but when a Southern member remonstrated it was dropped. It was on January 23, 1854, that the notorious Kansas-Nebraska bill was introduced. This measure proposed two Territories: one directly west of Missouri, with north and south boundaries of 37° and 40° latitude, to be called

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