T HE attention of the country was at this period divided between the doings at Washington and in Kansas and President-making. Astute Democratic politicians felt that success depended largely upon the man whom their convention should nominate. Kansas was the question before the country, and a logical adherence to Democratic ideas would seem to demand the nomination of Douglas or Pierce. The one had inaugurated the new policy, the other had enforced it. They were both popular in the South, and it could not now be gainsaid that Southern principles and Southern interests were the dominant force in the Democratic party. Pierce was the first choice of the South, and Douglas the second. Either would have been eminently satisfactory; and had the President or senator concentrated the whole Southern strength, it would have made him the nominee.
But there were Southern politicians who saw what the majority of Northern Democrats saw -- viz., that while the South would be almost solid for any possible nominee of the party, the important consideration was to nominate the man who could secure the greatest number of electoral votes from the North. All except two slave States, Maryland and Kentucky, which Fillmore might dispute, were certain to vote for the Democratic nominee; but Northern votes were needed to elect, and the probable Democratic States were Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Indiana, Illinois, and California. Of these, Pennsylvania was the most important, her vote being considered absolutely necessary.