Page images
PDF
EPUB

and adopted, in substance, the principles of the compromise measures of 1850, as their platform on slavery.

In 1860, the Constitutional Union party, at Baltimore, nominated John Bell for President, and Edward Everett for Vice-President, adopting "the Constitution and enforcement of the laws" as a platform.

The Republican convention, at Chicago, nominated Abraham Lincoln for President, and Hannibal Hamlin for Vice-President, and adopted the following resolutions on slavery:

" Resolved, That the new dogma that the Constitution, of its own force, carries slavery into any or all the territories of the United States, is a dangerous political heresy, at variance with the explicit provisions of that instrument itself, with contemporaneous exposition, and with legislative and judicial precedent, is revolutionary in its tendency, and subversive of the peace and harmony of the country.

"Resolved, That the normal condition of all the territory of the United States is that of freedom; that as our republican fathers, when they had abolished slavery in all our national territory, ordained that no person should be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, it becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever suct legislation is necessary, to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it; and we deny the authority of Congress, of a territorial legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to slavery in any territory of the United States.

"Resolved, That we brand the recent re-opening of the African slave trade, under the cover of our national flag aided by perversions of judicial power, as a crime against humanity, a burning shame to our country and age, and we call upon Congress to take prompt and efficient measures for the total and final suppression of that execrable traffic.

The Democratic convention met at Charleston on the 18th of April. After a session of nearly two weeks, toward the close of which most of the delegates from eight southern States left the convention, an adjournment to meet at Baltimore, on the 18th of June, was agreed upon. The convention met, pursuant to adjournment, at Baltimore, and on the 23d of June, Stephen A. Douglas, of Illinois, was nominated for President, and Benjamin Fitzpatrick, of Alabama, for Vice-President. The following resolutions were adopted. Excepting the last one, these resolutions were passed at Charleston :

Resolved, That we, the Democracy of the Union, in convention assembled, hereby declare our affirmation of the resolutions unanimously adopted and declared as a platform of principles by the Democratic convention at Cincin nati, in the year 1856, believing that Democratic principles are unchangeable in their nature when applied to the same subject matter, and we recommend as our only further resolutions, the following:

"Resolved, That it is in accordance with the interpretation of the Cincinnati platform, that during the existence of Territorial government, the measure of restriction, whatever it may be, imposed by the federal Constitution, or the power of the Territorial legislature, over the subject of the domestic relations, (as the same has been or shall hereafter be finally determined by the Supreme Court of the United States,) should be respected by all good citizens, and enforced with promptness and fidelity by every branch of the general government.

Resolved, That it is the duty of the United States to afford ample and complete protection to all its citizens, at home or abroad, and whether native or foreign born.

"Resolved, That one of the necessities of the age, in a military, commercial and postal point of view, is speedy communication between the Atlantic and Pacific States, and the Democratic party pledge such constitutional enactment as will insure the construction of a railroad to the Pacific coast at the earliest practicable period.

Resolved, That the Democratic party are in favor of the acquisition of the island of Cuba, on such terms as shall be honorable to ourselves and just to Spain.

"Resolved, That the enactments of State legislatures to defeat the faithful execution of the fugitive slave law, are hostile in character, subversive of the Constitution, and revolutionary in their effect.

Previous to the nomination of Mr. Douglas, & secession of about one hundred, both of Northern and Southern delegates, took place, who immediately met in Convention, and nominated John C. Breckenridge, of Kentucky, for President, and Joseph Lane, of Oregon, for Vice-President. This convention adopted the following platform, which is the same as adopted by the seceding delegates at Charleston :

Resolved, That the platform adopted by the Democratic party at Cincinnati be afirmed, with the following explanatory resolutions :

"First-That the government of a Territory organized by an act of Congress, is provisional and temporary, and during its existence all citizens of the United States have an equal right to settle with their property in the Territory, without their rights, either of person or property, being destroyed or injured by congressional or territorial legislation.

“Second-That it is the duty of the federal government, in all its departments, to protect the rights of persons and property in the Territories, and wherever else its constitutional authority extends.

“ Third—That when the settlers in a Territory having an adequate population, form a State Constitution, the right of sovereignty commences, and, being consummated by

their admission into the Union, they stand on an equality with the people of other States, and a State thus organized ought to be admitted into the federal Union, whether its constitution prohibits or recognizes the institution of slavery.

"Resolved, that the Democratic party are in favor of the acquisition of the island of Cuba, on such terms as shall be honorable to ourselves and just to Spain, at the earliest practicable moment.

"Resolved, That the enactments of State legislatures to defeat the faithful execution of the fugitive slave law, are hostile in character, subversive of the Constitution, and revolutionary in their effect.

"Resolved, That the Democracy of the United States recognize it as the imperative duty of this government to protect the naturalized citizen in all his rights, whether at home or in foreign lands, to the same extent as its native born citizens.

"Whereas, One of the greatest necessities of the age, in a political, commercial, postal and military point of view, is a speedy communication between the Pacific and Atlantic coasts; therefore, be it

"Resolved, that the national Democratic party do hereby pledge themselves to use every means in their power to secure the passage of some bill, to the extent of their constitutional authority, by Congress, for the construction of a Pacific railroad from the Mississippi river to the Pacific ocean, at the earliest practicable moment.

Mr. Fitzpatrick refusing to accept the nomination for Vice-President with Mr. Douglas, the National Committee placed the name of Herschel V. Johnson, of Georgia, upon, the ticket in his stead.

« PreviousContinue »