Page:History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century Volume 1.djvu/400

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274 HISTORY

tions of these lands could be used to aid in building railroads, it would greatly increase the value of all and hasten by many years the construction of needed lines through the State. Without some such valuable aid, it must be many years before the immense prairies of Iowa could be traversed by railroads and made available for rapid settlement and profitable cultivation. Congress had been urged by the Legislature and by our Senators and Representatives to make grants of public lands to aid in the building of railroads, but without success. Renewed efforts were now made by public meetings, newspapers and our members of Congress.

On the 9th of January, 1854, the Democratic State Convention met at Iowa City and nominated the following candidates for the several offices: Curtis Bates for Governor; Geo. W. McCleary for Secretary of State; Joseph L. Sharp for Auditor; M. L. Morris for Treasurer; D. C. Cloud for Attorney-General. The resolutions indorsed the administration and policy of President Pierce without reserve.

The Whig Convention assembled at the Capital on the 22d of February and placed in nomination the following ticket: for Governor, James W. Grimes; Secretary of State, Simeon Winters; Auditor, A. J. Stevens; Treasurer, A. McMakin; Attorney-General, J. W. Sinnett. The resolutions condemned the repeal of the Missouri Compromise and the attempt of Congress to legislate slavery into the free Territories, favored the establishment of banks and a law prohibiting the sale and manufacture of intoxicating liquors. The Whig party at this time was rapidly breaking up. Many of its members had united with the “Know-Nothings,” a party opposed to the naturalization of foreign emigrants. It was divided into two hostile factions—the “Silver Greys,” who were willing to let slavery alone, and the “Seward Whigs,” who were opposed to slavery. The Democratic party was also divided on the slavery