Page:The Republican Party (1920).djvu/27

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The First Campaign

entire term not one of his parliamentary rulings was disputed. After this notable victory at the polls in 1854 there was some reaction in 1855, yet there was really much growth of party strength and confident preparations were made for a national campaign in 1856.

Chapter II

The First Campaign

The Republican party was conspicuously a party of the people in both its origin and formation. Instead of being organized and promulgated from a national centre, it began in local and community meetings. During the first two years of its existence these local bodies extended themselves to state conventions. Finally, in its third year, it essayed a national convention and a national organization. In this movement Michigan, which had been the scene of the party's birth and of its first state convention, fittingly took the lead. On the recommendation of the Michigan state committee the state committees of all the states in which the party had been organized issued on January 17, 1856 a call for a national convention to be held at Pittsburg on February 22nd following. This was not to be a nominating convention nor one with a stated proportionate representation, like the conventions of the present time, but rather a national mass meeting for conference and counsel. It was largely attended by representative men from every state from Maine to California. There were Whigs, Democrats, Free-