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Brown’s assault on the South further emboldened disunionists in the region and drove a wedge between these Fire-Eaters and Douglas, the presumed Democratic front-runner.
But Brown’s insurrectionary attempt he emphatically denounced.
He believed the old man insane, and had yet to find the first Republican who endorsed the proposed insurrection.” Republicans didn’t cause slave insurrections, Lincoln exclaimed for the first time in public – slavery did.
Before Brown’s appearance on the scene, proslavery settlers and neighboring Missourians made successful use of intimidation and fraud to win territorial elections.
For the next four years, Brown worked to make the territory “bleed” with deadly attacks on proslavery settlers at Pottawatomie Creek and in clashes with armed militiamen and their deputies at the battles of Black Jack and Osawatomie.
“John Brown has shown great courage [and] rare unselfishness, as even [Virginia] Governor Wise testifies.
But no man, North or South, can approve of violence and crime.” When he heard about Brown’s death while speaking in Leavenworth, Lincoln announced, “Old John Brown has just been executed for treason against a state.
President Buchanan, though a Northerner, remained a strong supporter of slavery and slaveholder’s rights, and he endorsed the Lecompton Constitution; but many other northern Democrats, led by Douglas, sided with the Republicans in opposition to the glaringly proslavery document.
Though defeated twice—once by territorial voters in Kansas and again in the U. House of Representatives—the Lecompton Constitution widened the gap between the Northern and Southern wings of the once-solid Democratic Party.
But this was actually A trip to Kansas Territory in December 1859, Lincoln reasoned, would allow him to travel to the center of the nation’s continuing political storm, ingratiate himself with Kansas Republicans by helping with an upcoming local election, and rough out new ideas for the bigger speech he had agreed to deliver at the New York’s Cooper Union in February 1860.
Lincoln was in Leavenworth, Kansas Territory, when he heard the news of John Brown’s execution in Charles Town, Virginia, and he immediately invoked a tone that mixed condemnation of Brown’s actions with notable support for his ideals.