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to an amendment to the Constitution prohibiting slavery; extending thanks to soldiers and sailors; approving Lincoln's administration; pledging the national faith to the redemption of the public debt; approving the Monroe Doctrine.
These two conventions were supplemented by one at Cleveland, Ohio, held under the auspices of "Radical Men," a Republican faction opposed to Lincoln on account of his tardiness respecting matters appertaining to slavery. It nominated John C. Fremont for president, but the movement collapsed, and afterwards became a part of the regular Republicans party.
The issue of war failure and of peace by compromise presented by the Democrats in 1864, was met squarely by the Republicans, and the result was an overwhelming victory for the latter, both as to the Presidency and the Congress. The war practically ended with Lee's surrender, April 9, 1865. On April 14, President Lincoln was assassinated. He was succeeded by Vice President Johnson, who was to play toward the Republicans the part of Tyler toward the Whigs, through the trying period of reconstruction of the seceded States. Though baffled at every turn by the President, the Republican majorities in both , Houses of Congress were such as to enable the party to cany through most of its terms of reconstruction, and to amend the Constitution so as to secure civil rights and the right of suffrage to American citizens.
This stormy period of reconstruction served to unite in a measure the Northern and Southern wings of the Democratic party. The disturbing question of slavery eliminated, they could once more make common cause against the Republicans, which they did in the campaign of 1868, with Horatio Seymour, of New York as their candidate for president, and with a platform recognizing the question of secession and slavery as settled; demanding the immediate restoration of the Southern States and the settlement of the question of suffrage by the States themselves; amuesty for all offenses, payment of the public debt in lawful money, where coiu is not called for; equal taxation and one currency; economy, and abolition of the Freedmen's Bureau; tariff for revenue with incidental pro. tection; general arraignment of the Republican party j gratitude to Johnson for resisting the aggressions ot Congress.
The Republicans met in national convention at Chicago, May 20, 1868, and nominated General U. S. Grant for President. Their platform embodied the following: (1) Congratulation over the success of the reconstruction policy of Congress. (2) Equal suffrage to all loyal men. (8) No repudiation of national promises to pay. (4) Equalization and reduction of taxation. (5) Reduction of interest on public debt and gradual payment of same. (6)Improvement of National credit. (7) Johnson's treachery denounced. (8) Honor to soldiers. (9) Encouragement of immigration. (10) Commendation of all loyal nieu in the South.
The main issues of the campaign were the reconstruct tion measures of Congress and equal suffrage, the latter a new question rising out of the condition of the freedmen. The popular verdict was strongly in favor of the Republicans, both as to President and Congress. Grant's first administration was full of vexations, on account of a new force in the South which, under the various names of "Unreconstructed," "Irreconcilables," " Ku-Klux-Klan," etc., rose up in opposition to Federal authority, and especially to the newly formed State governments, which were denounced as "Carpet-Bag Governments." This force applied the doctrine of "a white man's government" with such effect as to terrorize all organized opposition, and eventually gain its point. But while the administration was thus struggling with ever-recurring vexations, the Supreme Court came to its rescue with a decision that Congress had the power to establish the relations of rebellious States to the Union. An equally important decision declared the Legal Tender Act of 1862 to be constitutional, thus bringing the " Greenback" into great popularity and laying the foundation of a new but ephemeral party. By July 15, 1870, the last seceded State was back in the Union, and the clouds of the reconstruction period had well-nigh vanished.
Both the Republican and Democratic parties were now to be shaken up by the question of "amnesty to rebels." Many leaders in both parties thought the time had come when general amnesty should be extended to all who had engaged in the Rebellion, on the part of the South. The Republicans who thus thought met in convention at Cincinnati, May 1, 1872, and nominated Horace Greeley, of New York, for president, on a platform pledging the party to Union, emancipation, enfranchisement; opposition to the reopening of any question settled by the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth amendments to the Constitution; immediate removal of all political disabilities; local self-government with impartial suffrage; civil service reform; modest Government revenue. But the remarkable part of the platform, considering that Mr. Greeley, a lifelong protectionist, was the nominee of the party, was the tariff plank, which simply relegated the question of the tariff to the congressional districts for discussion.
The Liberal Republican idea gained rapid headway in several States. It split the Republican party in twain in Missouri, and the Democratic party in Ohio. Accretions were so numerous from both parties, and the general amnesty doctrine was so strong with Democrats, that the Liberal Kepublican Convention felt it could, by early and discreet action, capture the entire Democratic organization.
In this it counted correctly, for when the Democratic Convention met in Baltimore, July 9,1872, it accepted the platform and nominees of the Liberal Republicans, with the hope of thus widening the schism in the Republican ranks and crushing the party forever.
But not all Democrats fell thus to the Liberal Republican movement. A straight out Democratic Convention was held at Louisville, September 3, 1872, which nominated Charles O'Conner, of New York, for president, on a platform containing a plea for State-rights, and repudiation of the Baltimore convention as a betrayal of the Democratic party into a false creed and false leadership.
The Republicans met in National Convention in Philadelphia, June 5, 1872, and renominated U. S. Grant for president on a platform whose leading planks favored enforcement of the new constitutional amendments, civil service reform, and maintenance of the public credit.
The Prohibition Party.
Up until 1865, what may be designated political temperance depended on the use of parties as they were found to exist in the States. This localized the temperance issue, and subjected it to the whim of opponents. The time had come for the nationalization of the cause. la 1868, the Grand Lodge of Good Templars moved for " the organization of a national political party whose principles should be prohibition of the manufacture, importation and sale of intoxicating liquors to be used as a beverage." This sentiment was closely reflected by the Sixth National Temperance Convention at Cleveland, July 29, 1868. The next year, during a session of the Grand Lodge of Good Templars at Oswego, N. Y., a call was made for a Convention to organize a "National Prohibition party."
This Convention met in Chicago, September 1. 1869, with five hundred delegates from twenty states, and launched the new party. The party held its first National Convention at Columbus, Ohio, February 22, 1672, and nominated James Black, of Pennsylvania for president, on a platform declaring that as all existing political parties had proved unwilling to adopt an adequate policy respecting traffic in intoxicating drinks, therefore the Prohibition party pledged itself to maintain the principles of its Declaration and Constitution; that effective state as well as National prohibition is the only means of suppressing traffic in intoxicants; that existing party competition for the liquor vote is a peril to the nation; dissuasion from the use of intoxicants; competency, honesty and sobriety as qualifications for office; no removals from office for political opinions; economy; direct vote for president; sound national currency; labor reform; suffrage without regard to sex; fostering of common schools.
All parties were now ready for the campaign of 1872— a campaign peculiar in every respect. Its burdens wer» chiefl}' borne by the Liberal Republicans. The result was their overwhelming defeat. They had not captured the Democratic party, for what they gained from it was far more than offset by desertions to the Republicans. Nop