The Francis Preston Blair Family in Politics - Vol. 1

By William Ernest Smith | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXI
THE FIRST REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CAMPAIGN

Democracy does not reside in the organization of intriguers, but in the mass of the people.--F. P. BLAIR, SR., 1855.


1

THE Congressional and state elections in Missouri in 1854 attracted national interest. The Whig party was in the throes of death, and the new party which was about to come forth to challenge the supremacy of Southern Democracy was in process of being born. The situation in Missouri as it has been described was merely a part of what was happening the country over.

But the troubles of Missouri were centered about Kansas and the embittered contest between the Benton-Blair and the Atchison-Claiborne Jackson wings of the Democracy for the control of the state. The plight of the distracted state was lamented by the anti-slavery press. Greeley of the New York Tribune struck the keynote of freedom's cause when he declared on the question of Kansas:1

We must make a successful stand just here--in resistance to the assumed right of Congress to uphold, recognize, or in any manner legalize slavery in a Territory, and also of the right of the first few thousands of squatters who rush into a new Territory to establish and perpetuate slavery therein, or we shall have no solid ground at all to stand on.

The Blairs fully agreed with Greeley. They did not believe that a lasting internal peace in this country could be attained until the nation was assured that no more slave states were to be admitted to the Union. They were ready to lead a moral crusade against slavery if it insured a free country north of the Mason and

____________________
1
Semi-Weekly Tribune, July 28, Aug. 25, 1854.

-299-

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