The Republican Nomination
WHILE Frémont had been dining in London and watching the pageantry of Versailles, while he was making his last invasion of the Rockies, while he was defending his property at Mariposa, the sectional antagonism of North and South had been rapidly rising. The Compromise of 1850 had proved but the briefest of truces. Before Clay was carried in 1852 to his grave at Lexington and Webster was laid by the sea at Marshfield, northern opposition to the new Fugitive Slave Act had excited a fierce southern resentment. The publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin converted hundreds of thousands to anti-slavery views. Extremists on both sides of the border, as the Pierce Administration proved subservient to the South, grew fiercer in their denunciation of each other. Then at the beginning of 1854 Douglas placed his Kansas- Nebraska Bill before an excited Congress, and a new and blacker storm began to arise. The intensity of the northern wrath over this repeal of the Missouri Compromise, opening the plains of Kansas to possible occupation by slaveholders, took Douglas and Pierce by surprise. From that moment the old Whig Party was doomed, and a new party dedicated to the exclusion of slavery from all the territories began to rise in its place. The bill passed Congress amid southern cheers and northern execration; and as Chase walked at dawn down the Capitol steps with the boom of exultant Democratic cannon in his ears, he truly said to Sumner, "They celebrate a present victory, but the echoes they awake shall never rest until slavery itself shall die."
The year 1855 opened with sectional tension at an alarming