U.S. History 1492-1877 9: The Lincoln-Douglas Showdown
And then Abraham Lincoln threw down his Whig (party membership), became a republican, shouted "No slaves!", and suddenly became president. At least that's how it went down in our heads.
|U.S. History||U.S. History 1877-Present|
The thing was that both of these states were north of the ol' 36º30' line there.
Why was that a thing?
Because Douglas wanted the settlers in the territories to vote on whether or not slavery would be legal there.
This completely undid the Missouri Compromise, which forbid states north of 36º30' to have slaves even if they wanted 'em.
Despite this fact, the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed into law.
And let's just say that the anti-slavery faction was none-too-pleased.
It was like somebody had given them a kinda crappy bowl of
ice cream that they sorta had to be okay with, and then that
person had taken away even that crappy ice cream.
Poor Douglas, for some whacky reason, thought this act would dial down
tensions between the North and the South.
Instead, it jacked up regional tensions
and shattered the American political landscape.
And that's how Stephen Douglas earned seven years bad luck.
Yeah, you know, the mirror breaking thing?
Controversy over the Kansas-Nebraska Act drove a huge wedge in the Democratic Party.
And it exploded the Whig party.
Whig party…sounds like something Ru Paul would organize.
Out of the ashes of all this political upheaval, came a new crew of politicians.
Chances are everybody out there has heard of them...
They called themselves, what, what is it...? Yes, Republicans.
And that's still what they call themselves.
When they first came together, the Republicans' main thing was antislavery.
Unlike the Democrats, who wanted slavery.
One of their earliest, most out-spoken leaders was
a funny-bearded fella named Abraham Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln was one of the many Whig Party members who abandoned
his old posse for one that took the anti-slavery thing to the next level.
The new Republican Party was a perfect fit.
Lincoln was all about battling the nationalization of slavery.
And he had no problems with the federal government calling the shots on the issue.
So what if the states didn't like it?
By the late 1850s, Lincoln was one of the biggest deal
Republican leaders in the country.
Lincoln locked down support of different factions in the North and Northwest,
and he won the 1860 presidential election without breaking a sweat.
The trouble was that people down South were dripping with sweat.
And not just because it was hot down there. Because they were ticked.
Lincoln actually didn't get one measly vote in the South.
Not only that, but seven southern states seceded from the
Union as a direct response to his election.
They were like…"oh, Mr. Antislavery is President, huh? Well, not for us."
President Lincoln tried his darndest to bring the Union back
together peacefully, but all his negotiations failed.
And not long after he was elected, the nation plunged into full-blown civil war.
Let's all remember Lincoln next time we think we're
having a stressful first day on the job.