« 上一頁繼續 »
is curious as serving to shape Democratic policy for a long time, if not even to the present day. Its gist was (1) The Federal Government is one of limited powers.
(2) The Constitution does not confer on the Government the right to carry on a system of internal improvement.
(3) Nor to assume the debts of the States contracted for internal improvement. (4) Justice and sound policy forbids the Government to foster one branch of industry to the detriment of another, or one section to the injury of another. (5) Economy urged. (6) Congress has no power to charter a United States Bank. (7) No power to interfere with the domestic institutions of the States. (8) Government money must be separated from banking institutions. (9) This country is an asylum for the oppressed of all nations.
The Liberty Party.
During this campaign, the Abolition or Liberty party first openly appeared in the political arena, with James G. Birney, as its candidate for President, and with a platform favoring the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, and in the Territories; stoppage of the interstate slave trade; and opposition to slavery to the fullest extent of all Constitutional powers.
General Harrison was elected, but died April 4, 1841, leaving Tyler as his successor. Then came an era of antagonism between the President and the Whig majority in Congress, pending which Tyler was excommunicated by his party. The Whigs were greatly demoralized by Tyler's defection, and it was only with the greatest difficulty, and after repeated modifications, that they secured Presidential sanction of their favorite measure, the tariff act of 1842. Clay became so disgusted with attacks upon. him, and with public life in general, that he resigned from the Senate. This was a terrible blow to the Whigs, for in Clay's action they lrcul lost their recognized leader. They lost the Congressional elections of 1842, and were further demoralized by divisions over a policy suited to the questions of slavery and Texas annexation.
In the campaign of 1844, the three existing political parties were in the field. The Liberty party nominated for president, James G. Birney, of Michigan, and adopted a platform which was explicit in its denunciation of slavery and the slave trade.
The Whigs nominated Henry Clay for president, on a platform declaring for well regulated currency; tariff for revenue, but discriminating in favor of domestic labor; distribution of proceeds of sales of public lauds; single term for the presidency; reform of executive usurpation.
The Democrats tried to nominate Van Buren, but his defeat was accomplished by the adoption of the two-thirds rule for securing a nomination, a practice that has held ever since in Democratic national conventions. The nominee became James K. Polk, of Tennessee, on a platform affirming that of 1840, with the addition that Oregon, and Texas ought to be annexed.
The Whigs fought the battle on the lines of protection. It was a close battle, and would have been won for Clay, but for the fact that he unwisely undertook to conciliate southern Democrats by a letter favoring postponed action on the question of Texas annexation. Polk was elected, and with him a Democratic Congress.
The leading party measures of Polk's administration were the Mexican war, which the Whigs could not, in a Bpirit of patriotism, bitterly oppose; the settlement of the Oregon boundary, in which the Whigs camo to the rescue of a Democratic minority , the disappointing tariff act of 1S46, passed in defiance of Democratic campaign promises not to disturb the tariff of 1842; and the historic . Wihnot Proviso," whose introduction marked the beginning of a wide split in the Democratic party.
Free Soil Democrats.
In 1848, the Democrats nominated for president, Lewis Cass, of Michigan, on a platform affirming that of 1844, Find adding congratulations over the results of the Mexican war; denouncing a tariff, except for revenue; hailing the tariff of 1846 as a substitute for that of 1842.
The Whigs nominated General Zachary Taylor, of Louisiana, without a platform, but with a subsequent series of ratification resolutions endorsing the then wellknown Whig principles of protection, etc.
And now appeared the new political force foreshadowed by the introduction in Congress of the Wilmot Proviso. The Democratic position on the slavery question had for some time been too ultra and threatening to suit the views of a strong minority of the party. This minority could not brook the doctrine that the Government had no power to regulate slavery in the Territories. This doctrine was put to a test on the floorof the Convention that nominated Cass for president, and the rabid pro-slavery sentiment prevailed. Thereupon, the Democrats who favored Government interference with slavery in the Territories, or in other words, those who opposed the extension of shivery to the Territories, resolved to meet in Convention and nominate a ticket of their own. They so met at Buffalo, in August, 1848, and nominated Martin Van Bui en, of New York, for president, and Charles Francis Adams, of Massachusetts, for vice president. They called them
selves "Free Soil Democrats," and they embraced two factions, one locally known as "Barnburners," opposed to the extension of slavery in the Territories, the other simply opposed to further agitation of slavery, and locally known as "Hunkers." They adopted a lengthy platform, seeking free soil for a free people; announcing that Congress had no more authority to make a slave than to make a king; affirming the ordinance of 1787 and the Jeffersonian doctrine that after 1800 no slavery should exist in the Territories; favoring internal improvements , proclaiming the watchword, "Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Labor, Free Men."
In the campaign, the old Liberty party united with the Free Soil Democrats, while many of the rabid southern Democrats preferred to trust Taylor, a southern man, to Cass, a northern man, on the slavery question. New York was the pivotal state, and as the Liberty party, by dividing the Whigs in 1844, had given it to the Democrats, so now the Free Soil Democrats by dividing the regular Democrats, gave it to the Whigs, and Taylor was elected.
The question of introducing slavery into the vast Territories acquired by the Mexican conquest, and of protecting it there, and, of course, everywhere, by Government interference, was at its height during Taylor's administration. Calhoun, the recognized pro-slavery leader, pushed the question by proposing to extend the Missouri Compromise line of 1820 clear through to the Pacific. Taylor's position was that California, then ready for statehood, should be admitted without slavery, as her constitution provided, and that the other Territories should be erected without reference to slavery, leaving them to settle that question for themselves when they came to be admitted as states. At this juncture! Clay offered his compromise measure of 1850, it being virtually the plan proposed by president Taylor, except that it embraced a more vigorous fugitive slave law. The Whigs and Free Soilers regarded this compromise as weak, and as an unnecessary surrender of free soil principles. The pro-slavery Democrats were but little better pleased with it, for opposite reasons. California came in as a free state September 9, 1850, and on September 15, 1850, slavery was abolished in the District of Columbia. Taylor died, July 9, 1850.
After Taylor's death the political situation became complex, and boded disaster to the Whigs, who in their national convention had failed to commit themselves to the doctrine of the Wilmot Proviso, thereby estranging the Liberty party, which it might have readily attracted, and what was worse," driving out many of their leaders into the ranks of the Free Soil Democrats, who were now more bitter opponents of slavery extension than the Whigs themselves.
A large part of the Whig strength lay in the South. Therefore it was hardly to be expected that the party could escape the slavery maelstrom. Calhoun's failure to force the slave line of 36° 30' through to the Pacific, thus confirming a free and slave section of the Union, led to a hardening of the pro-slavery lines, to the broad denial of the Government's right to interfere with slavery at all, to threats of disunion and to talk of the necessity of setting up a new set of institutions whose object should be the protection of slavery. These discussions drew over the pro-slavery Whigs to the Democrats, but they carried along with them into the Democratic ranks the doctrine that had been broached, but voted down in the Democratic National Convention of 1848, to wit, that the people of each Territory should be left free to treat the slavery question «s they pleased. Coming from such a source and in such