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While there he was nominated for Congress, and defeated by
the fraudulent votes of the pro-slavery men.

[Illustration: HENRY WARD BEECHER.

The Great Pulpit Orator and Anti-Slavery Agitator.]

Meanwhile, two State governments had been formed. The pro-slavery men
met at Lecompton, in March, and adopted a Constitution permitting
slavery. Their opponents assembled in Lawrence, August 15th, and elected
delegates, who came together in October and ratified the Topeka
Constitution, which forbade slavery. In January, 1856, the people held
an election under this Constitution. In the same month President Pierce
sent a message to Congress, in which he declared the formation of a free
State government in Kansas an act of rebellion, while that adopted at
Lecompton was the valid government. Governor Reeder was superseded by
William Shannon. A committee sent by Congress into the Territory to
investigate and report could not agree, and nothing came of it.

The civil war grew worse. A free State government, with General Joseph
Lane as its head and supported by a well-armed force, was formed at
Lawrence. The town was sacked and almost destroyed, May 20, 1856. On the
4th of July following, the free State Legislature was dispersed by
Federal troops, upon order of the national government.

John W. Geary now tried his hand as governor. His first step was to
call upon both parties to disarm, and neither paid any attention to
him. Finding he could not have the support of the President in the
vigorous policy he wished to adopt, Governor Geary resigned and was
succeeded by Robert J. Walker of Mississippi. He showed a disposition to
be fair to all concerned, but, before he could accomplish anything, he
was turned out to make room for J.W. Denver. He was soon disgusted and
gave way to Samuel Medary. Before long, it became evident that the
influx of northern settlers must overcome the pro-slavery men, and the
struggle was given up by the latter. A constitution prohibiting slavery
was ratified in 1859 and Charles Robinson elected governor.


VIOLENT SCENES IN CONGRESS.

Nebraska lies so far north that it was not disturbed. Acts of
disgraceful violence took place in Congress, challenges to duels being
exchanged, personal collisions occurring on the floor, while most of the
members went armed, not knowing what minute they would be assaulted. In
May, 1856, Senator Charles Sumner, of Massachusetts, for utterances made
in debate, was savagely assaulted by Preston S. Brooks, of South
Carolina, and received injuries from which he did not recover for
several years. Brooks was lionized in the South for his brutal act and
re-elected to Congress by an overwhelming majority.

The Republican party was growing rapidly in strength, and in 1856 it
placed its candidates in the field and astonished the rest of the
country by the vote it rolled up, as shown in the following statistics:

James Buchanan, of Pennsylvania, Democrat, 174; John C. Fremont, of
California, Republican, 114; Millard Fillmore, of New York, Native
American, 8. For Vice-President, John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky,
Democrat, 174; William L. Dayton, of New Jersey, Republican, 114; A.J.
Donelson, of Tennessee, Native American, 8.


JAMES BUCHANAN.

[Illustration: JAMES BUCHANAN.

(1791-1868.) One term, 1857-1861.]

James Buchanan, fifteenth President, was born in Mercersburg,
Pennsylvania, April 23, 1791, and graduated from Dickinson College in
1809. He became a lawyer, was elected to the State Legislature and to
Congress in 1821. Thenceforward, he was almost continuously in office.
President Jackson appointed him minister to Russia in 1832, but, soon
returning home, he was elected to the United States Senate in 1834. He
left that body, in 1845, to become Polk's secretary of State. In 1853,
he was appointed minister to England, where he remained until his
election to the presidency in 1856. He died at his home in Lancaster,
June 1, 1868. The many honors conferred upon Buchanan prove his ability,
though he has been often accused of showing timidity during his term of
office, which was of the most trying nature. He was the only bachelor
among our Presidents.


STATES ADMITTED.

Minnesota was admitted to the Union in 1858. It was a part of the
Louisiana purchase. Troubles over the Indian titles delayed its
settlement until 1851, after which its growth was wonderfully rapid.
Oregon was admitted in 1859. The streams of emigration to California
overflowed into Oregon, where some of the precious metal was found. It
was learned, however, in time that Oregon's most valuable treasure mine
was in her wheat, which is exported to all parts of the world. Kansas,
of which we have given an account in the preceding pages, was quietly
admitted, directly after the seceding Senators abandoned their seats,
their votes having kept it out up to that time. The population of the
United States in 1860 was 31,443,321. Prosperity prevailed everywhere,
and, but for the darkening shadows of civil war, the condition of no
people could have been more happy and promising.


THE DRED SCOTT DECISION.

Dred Scott was the negro slave of Dr. Emerson, of Missouri, a surgeon in
the United States army. In the discharge of his duty, his owner took him
to military posts in Illinois and Minnesota. Scott married a negro woman
in Minnesota, and both were sold by Dr. Emerson upon his return to
Missouri. The negro brought suit for his freedom on the ground that he
had been taken into territory where slavery was forbidden. The case
passed through the various State courts, and, reaching the United States
Supreme Court, that body made its decision in March, 1857.

This decision was to the effect that negro slaves were not citizens, and
no means existed by which they could become such; they were simply
property like household goods and chattels, and their owner could take
them into any State in the Union without forfeiting his ownership in
them. It followed also from this important decision that the Missouri
Compromise of 1820 and the Compromise of 1850 were null and void, since
it was beyond the power of the contracting parties to make such
agreements. Six of the justices concurred in this decision and two
dissented.

[Illustration: LUCRETIA MOTT PROTECTING THE NEGRO DANGERFIELD FROM THE
MOB IN PHILADELPHIA.

When Daniel Dangerfield, a fugitive slave, was tried in Philadelphia,
Lucretia Mott sat during all his trial by the side of the prisoner. When
the trial was ended Dangerfield was set at liberty, and Mrs. Mott walked
out of the court-room and through the mob which threatened to lynch him,
her hand on the colored man's arm, and that little hand was a sure
protector, for no one dared to touch him.]

This decision was received with delight in the South and repudiated in
the North. The contention there was that the Constitution regarded
slaves as "persons held to labor" and not as property, and that they
were property only by State law.


JOHN BROWN'S RAID.

While the chasm between the North and South was rapidly growing wider, a
startling occurrence took place. John Brown was a fanatic who believed
Heaven had appointed him its agent for freeing the slaves in the South.
He was one of the most active partisans on the side of freedom in the
civil war in Kansas, and had been brooding over the subject for years,
until his belief in his mission became unshakable.

Brown's plan was simple, being that of invading Virginia with a small
armed force and calling upon the slaves to rise. He believed they would
flock around him, and he fixed upon Harper's Ferry as the point to begin
his crusade.

Secretly gathering a band of twenty men, in the month of October, 1859,
he held them ready on the Maryland shore. Late on Sunday night, the
16th, they crossed the railway bridge over the Potomac, seized the
Federal armory at Harper's Ferry, stopped all railroad trains, arrested
a number of citizens, set free such slaves as they came across, and held
complete possession of the town for twenty-four hours.

Brown acted with vigor. He threw out pickets, cut the telegraph wires,
and sent word to the slaves that their day of deliverance had come and
they were summoned to rise. By this time the citizens had themselves
risen, and, attacking the invaders, drove them into the armory, from
which they maintained fire until it became clear that they must succumb.
Several made a break, but were shot down. Brown retreated to an
engine-house with his wounded and prisoners and held his assailants at
bay all through Monday and the night following.

News having been sent to Washington, Colonel Robert E. Lee arrived
Tuesday morning with a force of marines and land troops. The local
militia of Virginia had also been called out. The situation of Brown was
hopeless, but he refused to surrender. Colonel Lee managed matters with
such skill that only one of his men was shot, while Brown was wounded
several times, his two sons killed, and others slain. The door of the
engine-house was battered in and the desperate men overpowered. The
enraged citizens would have rended them to pieces, had they been
allowed, but Colonel Lee protected and turned them over to the civil
authorities. Brown and his six companions were placed on trial, found
guilty of what was certainly an unpardonable crime, and hanged on the 2d
of December, 1859.

Many in the South believed that the act of Brown was planned and
supported by leading Republicans, but such was not the fact, and they
were as earnest in condemnation of the mad proceeding as the extreme
slavery men, but John Brown's raid served to fan the spark of civil war
that was already kindled and fast growing into a flame.

[Illustration: HARPER'S FERRY]


PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1860.

The presidential campaigns that had been pressed heretofore with a
certain philosophic good nature, now assumed a tragic character. The
South saw the growing preponderance of the North. New States were
continually forming out of the enormous territory in the West, the
opposition to slavery was intensifying, and its overthrow was certain.
Senator Seward had announced the "irrepressible conflict" between
freedom and the institution, and the only remedy the South saw lay in
secession from the Union, for they loved that less than slavery.



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