Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 1.djvu/345

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aggressive agitators with confidence in their ability to cause their certain overthrow. Douglas and Buchanan were expected to fight each other to the bitter end, and so they did. The great Presidential contest of 1860 was now at hand, to be waged almost exclusively on issues and principles which were regarded as vital to the Union. The position of the South is thus stated by an eminent statesman whose views have generally been adverse to those held by Southern leaders: "The Southern delegates (to the Charleston convention of 1860) demanded a platform which should embody the constitutional rights of the slave-holder, and they would not qualify or conceal their requirements. If the North would sustain those rights all would be well. If the North would not sustain them, it was of infinite moment to the South to be promptly and definitely advised of the fact. The Southern delegates were not presenting a particular man as a candidate. On that point they would be liberal and conciliatory. But they were fighting for a principle, and would not surrender it or compromise it." (Elaine, p. 158.)

Mr. Jefferson Davis offered a series of seven resolutions in the Senate, February, 1860, in order to define the position of his associates, on which the division of opinion among Senators, as shown by the vote on the first of the series, was wider than the slavery question. That resolution prescribed the principles which had early separated the Federalists and the old "Constitutional Republican party" led by Jefferson. The resolution re-affirmed the doctrine that the Union resulted from a Constitution ratified by States as independent sovereignties equal in all rights, and that no States could intermeddle with the domestic institutions of other States. They expressly asserted that the Union existed by a constitutional compact, which the Senate of the United States was specially charged with preserving. Upon taking the vote this first resolution was affirmed by the solid vote of the