THE SUPREMACY OF THE RADICAL REPUBLICANS
THE logical foundation of the Republican party was laid by Thomas Jefferson just seventy years before its actual appearance. The resolution, which he introduced into the Congress of the United States in 1784 for the organization of territorial governments in the great empty regions of the West which the larger states had recently ceded to the Union, was designed to prevent the extension of slavery into any of those regions. If adopted, as originally proposed by him, it would have confined that then unpopular institution to those of the original states which chose to maintain it. Unfortunately the provision for the exclusion of slavery from the Western territories failed of adoption by a narrow and accidental majority. Three years later the Northwest Ordinance was adopted, excluding slavery from all that part of the West which lay north of the Ohio River. It is not without significance that the popular conventions, which actually founded the present Republican party, were held in the states of this old Northwest, several of them on the anniversary of the adoption of the Northwest Ordinance, and chose for the name of their new party that which Jefferson had preferred for the party which he himself had founded. The Republican tradition was born one hundred and forty years ago, though the political organization to which it is now attached did not come into existence until a full half of this long period had passed.
The present Republican party, the third in American