Perley's Reminiscences of Sixty Years in the National Metropolis - Vol. 1

By Ben: Perley Poore | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXVI.
CRYSTALLIZATION OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

FORMATION OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY--THE ELECTION OF SPEAKER-- MR. BANKS TRIUMPHANT--DIVISION OF THE SPOILS--A PROTRACTED SESSION--ASSAULT ON HORACE GREELEY--TERRITORIAL DELEGATES --THE SENATE--THE VIRGINIA SENATORS--"HALE," OF NEW HAMP- SHIRE.

THE repeal of the Missouri Compromise and the enactment of the Fugitive Slave Law reopened the flood-gates of sectional controversy. The Native American organization was used at the North by the leading Abolitionists for the disintegration of the Whigs, and they founded a new political party, with freedom inscribed upon its banners. The Free-Soil Democrats who had rebelled against Southern rule, with the Liberty Whigs, and those who were more openly arrayed against slavery, united, and were victorious at the Congressional elections in the Northern States in the autumn of 1854. "The moral idea became a practical force," and the "Irrepressible Conflict" was commenced. "As Republicans," said Charles Sumner, "we go forth to encounter the oligarchs of slavery."

The great contest was opened by a struggle in the House of Representatives over the Speakership. Nathaniel Prentiss Banks, a Democrat, who had joined the Know-Nothings, was the Northern candidate, although Horace Greeley, with Thurlow Weed and

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