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Stephen Arnold Douglas   By: (1868-1913)

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Transcriber's Note

The punctuation and spelling from the original text have been faithfully preserved. Only obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

The Riverside Biographical Series

1. ANDREW JACKSON, by W.G. BROWN. 2. JAMES B. EADS, by LOUIS HOW. 3. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, by PAUL E. MORE. 4. PETER COOPER, by R.W. RAYMOND. 5. THOMAS JEFFERSON, by H.C. MERWIN. 6. WILLIAM PENN, by GEORGE HODGES. 7. GENERAL GRANT, by WALTER ALLEN. 8. LEWIS AND CLARK, by WILLIAM R. LIGHTON. 9. JOHN MARSHALL, by JAMES B. THAYER. 10. ALEXANDER HAMILTON, by CHAS. A. CONANT. 11. WASHINGTON IRVING, by H.W. BOYNTON. 12. PAUL JONES, by HUTCHINS HAPGOOD. 13. STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS, by W.G. BROWN. 14. SAMUEL DE CHAMPLAIN, by H.D. SEDGWICK, Jr.

Each about 140 pages, 16mo, with photogravure portrait, 65 cents, net ; School Edition , each, 50 cents, net .

HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & CO. BOSTON AND NEW YORK

The Riverside Biographical Series

NUMBER 13

STEPHEN ARNOLD DOUGLAS

BY

WILLIAM GARROTT BROWN

[Illustration]

STEPHEN ARNOLD DOUGLAS

BY

WILLIAM GARROTT BROWN

[Illustration]

BOSTON AND NEW YORK HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY The Riverside Press, Cambridge 1902

COPYRIGHT, 1902, BY WILLIAM GARROTT BROWN

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Published March, 1902

TO J.S. JR.

CONTENTS

CHAP. PAGE

I. YOUTH AND THE WEST 1

II. THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE 31

III. THE GREAT QUESTION 58

IV. LEADERSHIP 82

V. THE RIVALS 112

The portrait is from a photograph by Brady in the Library of the State Department at Washington.

STEPHEN ARNOLD DOUGLAS

CHAPTER I

YOUTH AND THE WEST

The ten years of American history from 1850 to 1860 have a fascination second only to that of the four years which followed. Indeed, unless one has a taste for military science, it is a question whether the great war itself is more absorbing than the great debate that led up to it; whether even Gettysburg and Chickamauga, the March to the Sea, the Wilderness, Appomattox, are of more surpassing interest than the dramatic political changes, the downfall of the Whig party, the swift rise and the equally swift submergence of the Know Nothing party, the birth of the Republican party, the disruption and overthrow of the long dominant Democratic party, through which the country came at last to see that only the sword could make an end of the long controversy between the North and the South.

The first years of the decade were marked by the passing of one group of statesmen and the rise of another group. Calhoun's last speech in the Senate was read at the beginning of the debate over those measures which finally took shape as the Compromise of 1850. The Compromise was the last instance of the leadership of Clay. The famous Seventh of March speech in defense of it was Webster's last notable oration. These voices stilled, many others took up the pregnant theme. Davis and Toombs and Stephens and other well trained Southern statesmen defended slavery aggressively; Seward and Sumner and Chase insisted on a hearing for the aggressive anti slavery sentiment; Cass and Buchanan maintained for a time their places as leaders in the school of compromise. But from the death of Clay to the presidential election of 1860 the most resonant voice of them all was the voice of Stephen Arnold Douglas. It is scarcely too much to say that during the whole period the centre of the stage was his, and his the most stirring part. In 1861, the curtain fell upon him still resolute, vigorous, commanding. When it rose again for another scene, he was gone so completely that nowadays it is hard for us to understand what a place he had. Three biographers writing near the time of his death were mainly concerned to explain how he came to be first in the minds of his contemporaries... Continue reading book >>




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