Historical Reprints History A History of the Republican Party, or What the Hell Happened?

A History of the Republican Party, or What the Hell Happened?

A History of the Republican Party, or What the Hell Happened?
Catalog # SKU3550
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name George W. Platt
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000


A History
of the
Republican Party

What the Hell Happened?

"And summon from the shadowy Past,
The forms that once have been."

George W. Platt

Early in February, 1900, the writer delivered an address before the Stamina Republican League of Cincinnati on "The Origin and Rise of the Republican Party." The interest in the subject shown by the audience and the many words of approbation led to a deeper consideration of the history of the Party, and the address was repeated on a more elaborate plan before many other organizations in Cincinnati and vicinity.



It soon became apparent that the great majority of every audience had very vague recollections of the tragic events which led to the organization of the Party, and of its early history, owing perhaps to the fact that they belonged to a generation that had followed the enactment of those events. It was also clear that those who had lived in the momentous decade before the Civil War were deeply interested and stirred by a new recital of the history of that period, and thus it was suggested that a History of the Republican Party might prove of interest and value.

Like the place of Homer's birth that of the Republican Party is in dispute, but it is believed that the facts herein narrated are supported by the weight of evidence.


The Republican Party was organized in the early months of 1854, and the direct formative causes leading to its establishment were the repeal of the Missouri Compromise and the efforts on the part of the South, under the leadership of that ambitious politician, Stephen A. Douglas (with his specious doctrines of non-intervention on the part of the Government, and popular sovereignty), to force slavery into the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska, which, by the Compromise of 1820, should have been forever dedicated to freedom. By these efforts it was seen that the South was attempting to make slavery a national instead of a sectional institution, and the situation early in 1854 (after the long series of triumphs of the Slave Power) seemed almost hopeless as far as concerned political opposition to these radical measures was concerned. At this time, and, indeed, for many years past, the Democratic Party was firm and united in its support of slavery, and the course of the Whig Party, intimidated by its southern members, and fearful of civil strife, had been one of subserviency to the exacting demands of slavery. The Whig Party had proven itself totally incapable of meeting the great question of the hour, and after the election of 1852 was on the verge of absolute dissolution.

The astonishing repeal of the Missouri Compromise early in 1854, coming, as it did, in a time of comparative peace on the slavery question, obliterated old party lines in the North completely, and left disorganized groups of anti-Nebraska Whigs, anti-Nebraska Democrats, Free-soilers, Abolitionists, and Know-Nothings, all of whom represented every extreme of the northern views of slavery. But underneath these views was the belief that slavery was a great moral wrong, and that its extension, at least, should be opposed, and from these seemingly discordant elements it became, in fact, an easy matter to organize, in a short time, a strong opposition party to the new aggression of the slave interests.

The Republican Party was at first one of defense only; it was a combination of the existing political elements opposed to slavery, and its first stand was conservative, not to abolish slavery, but to firmly oppose its extension. The Party at first had no intention of interfering with slavery in the States in which it then existed, but the idea of allowing slavery, with its manifest evils, to be extended into other States and Territories at the will of the South was not to be silently borne. The early views of the party, up to the Civil War, were well expressed by Mr. Lincoln in his last great public utterance before his election as President in November, 1860 (The Cooper Union Speech, February, 1860): "Wrong, as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where it is, because that much is due to the necessity arising from its actual presence in the nation; but can we, while our votes will prevent it, allow it to spread into the national territories and to overrun us here in these free States?"

It will be of interest, before taking up the history of the immediate casual events which made necessary this new political party, to consider the early history of that great institution, slavery, which, from the very beginning of American history to the close of the Civil War, and indeed for many years after, was the chief disturbing element in the country; to consider how this institution established itself in other countries, how it insidiously began its growth in the Jamestown colony, and how it gained in strength and political power, until, at the opening of the Revolution it owned half a million slaves, and after Independence had been gained, forced recognition in the Constitutional Convention and there domineered the North into the first of a series of humiliating compromises on the slave question. And from that time on, with increasing force, pressed its obnoxious doctrines upon the press, the pulpit, platforms and political parties of the country, until, after many years of bitter contention, it was met in 1854 by the organization of a determined opposition political party, which, after one failure, brought about its political overthrow, an event followed by a last tremendous struggle for the mastery, in which slavery was wiped out forever in the life-blood of those who upheld and those who opposed it.

340 pages - 7x 8½ softcover

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