History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 2

By James Ford Rhodes | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XI

JOHN BROWN was hanged Friday, December 2d. The excitement was still intense when, on the following Monday, the Thirty-sixth Congress assembled. "Virginia is arming to the teeth," wrote ex-President Tyler from his plantation. "More than fifty thousand stand of arms already distributed, and the demand for more daily increasing. Party is silent and has no voice. But one sentiment pervades the country: security in the Union, or separation. An indiscreet move in any direction may produce results deeply to be deplored. I fear the debates in Congress, and, above all, the speaker's election. If excitement prevails in Congress, it will add fuel to the flame which already burns so terrifically."1

The Senate was composed of thirty-eight Democrats, twenty-five Republicans, and two Americans.2 Since the meeting of the previous Congress, the Republicans had gained five senators. Two new States had been admitted by the last Congress. Minnesota, with a constitution prohibiting slavery, had come into the Union without objection from the Southerners, although she made one more weight in the balance of free against slave States. But her first senators and representatives were Democrats. Oregon, too, was admitted with a free constitution. The main opposition to her admission came from the Republicans, for the reason that her population was not equal to the number required for

____________________
1
John Tyler to his son, Dec. 6th, 1859, Letters and Times of the Tylers, vol. ii. p. 555.
2
There was one vacancy.

-373-

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History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850 to the McKinley-Bryan Campaign of 1896 - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents of the Second Volume iii
  • Chapter VII 1
  • Chapter VIII 125
  • Chapter IX 193
  • Chapter X 258
  • Chapter XI 373
  • Chapter XII 459
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