Page:The Republican Party (1920).djvu/41

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The Leadership of Lincoln

The convention met in a huge structure called the "Wigwam" in Chicago on May 16th. Though the second national convention of the party it was the first that called itself by the name of Republican. It was national in scope, containing delegates from slave states in the South as well as from free states in the North. All the free states were represented and also Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri and Texas. Although their citizens could have no votes delegates were admitted from the territories of Kansas and Nebraska as well as from the District of Columbia. The temporary chairman was David Wilmot of Pennsylvania, author of the famous "Wilmot Proviso" against slavery. The permanent chairman was George Ashmun who had been a Representative in Congress from Massachusetts. A significant question was raised early in the session as to whether a majority of the delegates present should be sufficient to nominate or there should be required a number of votes which would be a majority if all the states of the Union had been represented. The adoption of the latter rule would in that case have been practically equivalent to that which has always prevailed in Democratic conventions requiring a two-thirds majority to nominate. But the question was overwhelmingly decided in favor of the former principle making a majority of the delegates actually in attendance sufficient. That principle of simple majority rule has ever since prevailed in Republican conventions.

The platform was adopted before the nominations were made. It called the convention "the delegated representatives of the Republican electors of the United States" and declared that the record of the last four