July ~ Election Year 1856

Woman making American Flag

In some places, people fear civil war. Kansas remains in turmoil and is a divisive political issue. Slavery is even more divisive. Lincoln takes an active role in Republican politics. Women are increasingly active and speaking out on issues.

July 1– Tuesday– Richmond, Indiana– “A short time ago, it was my privilege to spend a few days at Richmond [Indiana], and become personal acquainted with many whom I had known through the medium of the paper and private correspondence! And truly it makes the heart glad to mingle face to face with those with whom we have held pleasant correspondence for years, and realize in them friends true and devoted. It is especially cause of rejoicing to see so many women laboring earnestly for the right, the heart can feel its thankfulness, though the pen may not be able to express it. These faithful ones shall have their reward when the jubilee of freedom shall sound through the land—when the slave shall stand forth in his manhood —when woman can raise her unshackled arm, and use her unfettered mind—when the children of the redeemed inebriate shall ‘rise up and call him blessed’—then will they feel that they have not labored in vain; nor need they wait till then, for every day’s discharge of duty brings its reward. Perhaps it may be as interesting to other readers as it was to me, to learn that the Lily has a good circulation, and the subscribers pay punctually. This speaks well for its editor, and for the paper, as it is emphatically a woman’s paper, and paid for principally by laboring women.” ~ Letter from Mary F. Thomas to the editor of The Lily, a feminist newspaper founded by Amelia Bloomer in 1849. [Mary Thomas, 1816-1888, a pioneering woman in the practice of medicine, spent much energy in the causes of abolition, temperance, woman suffrage, and “everything that aimed to better the human race” as one of her medical colleagues noted.]

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her office sign

 

July 2– Wednesday– New York City– “Kansas battle beginning in the House [of Representatives in Washington]. Indications that [Stephen A] Douglas and others are scared by the storm their selfish folly has raised. . . . I hope . . . that the mischief may be so far repaired as to make a sectional contest unnecessary. . . . but can civil war between North and South be postponed twenty years longer? I fear we, or our children, have got to pass through a ruinous revolutionary period of conflict between two social systems before the policy of the U S A is finally settled. The struggle will be fearful when it comes, as it must sooner or later, for an amicable disunion and partition of territory is an impossibility.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

July 3– Thursday– Simsbury, Connecticut– Birth of Sarah Pratt McLean Greene, author. [Dies December 28, 1935.]

July 3– Thursday– Washington, D.C.– In Congress the House of Representatives passes a bill to admit Kansas as a free state; however, the Senate defeats the measure.

July 4– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts–”I am strong enough to send from my present retreat a brief expression of cordiality in the nominations made by the People’s Convention at Philadelphia, and also of the gladness with which I shall support them by voice and vote, with mind and heart. I have long honored Colonel Fremont, for his genius in geographical enterprise; for his eminent intelligence; for his manly fortitude; for his perfect integrity, and for his easy command of men, swaying to his own beneficent purposes even the savages of the forest, while Nature herself, in her winter fastnesses before his march. It is well at this moment, when a great Crime is instigated and sustained by the national Government, that such a man, with a courage which will not be questioned, and with a sensitiveness to right which will not sleep, should be summoned to grapple with the wrong-doers. And permit me to say that I find no force in the objection, that he has never been a politician.” ~ Letter from Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner appearing in today’s Liberator in which Sumner endorses the Republican ticket of Fremont and Dayton.

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Senator Charles Sumner

 

July 4– Friday– Princeton, Illinois– Attorney Abraham Lincoln and Owen Lovejoy, among others, speak at a rally in support of Fremont and the Republican ticket.

July 5– Saturday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– “In the Pennsylvania Yearly Meeting of Progressive Friends, Fifth month 21st, 1856, the following Testimony against Slavery was unanimously adopted, viz.: ‘Once more, in obedience to the Apostolic injunction, Remember them that are in bonds as bound with them, we lift up our united voice against that gigantic system of robbery and wrong, American Slavery, by which nearly four millions of human beings, immortal children of God like ourselves, are reduced to a level with four-footed beasts, compelled to toil without wages, often scourged and lacerated by savage-hearted masters or overseers, separated from their dearest kindred and sold as chattels, and, what is far worse than any act of physical cruelty, deprived of the means of intellectual and moral culture, and doomed to gross ignorance and degradation, in a land calling itself Christian and boasting of its civilization, refinement and humanity! The bodily tortures endured by the slaves are indeed enough to awaken profound sympathy and excite an intense indignation; but, oh! how much more appalling is the violence done to those higher faculties, through which they are allied to God and made heirs to an immortal life!’” ~ National Anti- Slavery Standard

July 7– Monday– Washington, D.C.– President Pierce submits to the Senate for ratification a treaty with the Austrian Empire for the extradition of criminals.

July 8– Tuesday– New York City– “Political matters unchanged. We’re in a pretty uneasy and uncomfortable state, in which violent convulsion is possible at any moment; for example, there may well be some collision at Washington that would bring forward delegations from both North and South to support and uphold their respective representatives. The West is said to be decided that Kansas shall not be a slave state, if the physical power of the West can prevent it; so there may be civil war in these days.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

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George Templeton Strong

 

July 10– Thursday– Springfield, Illinois– “I have just received your letter of yesterday; and I shall take the plan you suggest into serious consideration. I expect to go to Chicago about the 15th, and I will then confer with other friends upon the subject. A union of our strength, to be effected in some way, is indispensable to our carrying the State against Buchanan. The inherent obstacle to any plan of union, lies in the fact that of those Germans which we now have with us, large numbers will fall away, so soon as it is seen that their votes, cast with us, may possibly be used to elevate Mr. Fillmore. If this inherent difficulty were out of the way, one small improvement on your plan occurs to me. It is this. Let Fremont and Fillmore men unite on one entire ticket, with the understanding that that ticket, if elected, shall cast the vote of the State, for whichever of the two shall be known to have received the larger number of electoral votes, in the other states. This plan has two advantages. It carries the electoral vote of the State where it will do most good; and it also saves the waste vote, which, according to your plan would be lost, and would be equal to two in the general result. But there may be disadvantages also, which I have not thought of.” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to James Berden.

July 11– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “In accordance with the invitation of the Managers of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society and notwithstanding the unpropitious state of the weather, rain falling heavily during the time of assembling, a large number of persons came together at Framingham, to the morning of the anniversary of National Independence, to spend the day accordance with those sentiments of the people ought to feel, in view of the utter subjection of their National Government . . . and of the entire Union, to the ignominious service of the Slave Power which now rules the land.” ~ The Liberator.

July 12– Saturday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– “The Anti-Slavery cause has at length, after a quarter of a century of labors, taken possession, in one form or another, of almost every mind in our American community. To men of great sympathies, it has shown the sufferings of the slave; to men of a profound sense of right, it has shown his wrongs; to men whose hope is in another life, it has shown him deprived of Bibles, and Sabbaths, and sanctuary privileges; to men whose hope is in this life, it has shown him deprived of education and the means of self-improvement and success. To patriots, it has shown their country’s shame and danger. To politicians, it has shown one of the most selfish and accursed interest devouring every true one. To Christians, it has shown their Redeemer crucified afresh in the persons of these the least of his brethren. To philanthropists, it has shown human nature degraded and ruined in the person of both master and slave, by the outrages of the one against the liberty of the other.” ~ National Anti- Slavery Standard.

July 15– Tuesday– Richmond, Indiana– “When woman sees fit to take her true position, as the mother of the race, the equal of man, there must, of necessity, be an entire revolution in Church, State, and Family. This reform aims not merely to make a few new laws, to grant a few privileges, or to redress a few grievances, but it is indeed a new creation. Behold! the degraded slave of man, the victim of lust, fear, and priestcraft, stands forth in the full dignity of womanhood, self-reliant, conscious of her own dignity and strength, and rejoicing that in her redemption a nobler race of beings shall bless and beautify the earth.” ~ The Lily

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July 16– Wednesday– New York City– “It is clear that the ‘Black Republican’ party commends itself much to educated and intelligent people at the North.” ~ Diary of George Templeton Strong.

July 17– Thursday– Whitemarsh Township, Pennsylvania– Two trains collide, killing more than 60 people– many of them teenagers– and injuring about 100 others. It is the deadliest railroad accident in the world up to this time and remains one of the worst in the history of the United States. The conductor of one of the trains, feeling that the accident is his fault, commits suicide.

July 17– Thursday– Dixon, Illinois– A reporter describes Abraham Lincoln who speaks at a Republican rally. “He is about six feet high, crooked-legged, stoop shouldered, spare built, and anything but handsome in the face. It is plain that nature took but little trouble in fashioning his outer man . . . As a close observer and cogent reasoner, he has few equals and perhaps no superior in the world. His language is pure and respectful, he attacks no man’s character or motives, but fights with arguments. . . . He spoke full two hours and still the audience cried, ‘go on.’”

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Attorney Lincoln

 

July 19– Saturday– Chicago, Illinois– A reporter describes Abraham Lincoln’s speech at a Republican rally here this evening. “He spoke in Dearborn Park, and was listened to by a very large audience. The speech was one that did him eminent credit, and which cannot fail to produce a telling effect upon the political sentiment of Chicago. The exposure of the fallaciousness of the position taken by Mr. Fillmore in his Albany speech was timely and effective; and his refutation of the charge of sectionalism, so flippantly made by the slavery-extensionists against the Republican party, was full and able. Every point he touched upon was elucidated by the clearness of his logic, and with his keen blade of satire he laid bare the revolting features of policy of the pseudo-Democracy.”

July 21– Monday– Waterloo, New York– Birth of Louise Blanchard Bethune, who will in October, 1881, become the first American woman to work as a professional architect. [Dies December 18, 1913.]

July 22– Tuesday– Washington, D.C.– President Pierce submits to the Senate for ratification a treaty of commerce and friendship with Chile.

July 25– Friday– Boston, Massachusetts– “The affairs of Kansas are still in a desperate state. The citizens get no protection from the United States Government. General P.H. Smith, who has recently been sent there, when asked by a deputation of citizens, who waited on him, for protection for their lives and property, replied that he had no authority to grant such protection. They must expect it only from the civil law; i.e. the law of the border ruffians, who rob and murder them.” ~ The Liberator.

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violence in Kansas

 

July 26– Saturday– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania– “We doubt whether the North has yet spirit enough revived from the paralytic lethargy into which she had been cast by slavery for so many years to throw off even the shadow of the body of that sin which touches her. It takes a long time for a constitution so depraved and debauched as her’s to recover stamina enough even for so partial a recovery as that. And we are not sure that it would be of any hope to the Slave that the Republican party should prevail. We think that, as long as the Union is to be maintained as the Chief Good, and the sacrifices we have seen offered up to it for the past few years are still to smoke on its altars, it is of no particular consequence whether the High Priest be named Fremont or Buchanan. Our hope lies in the Anti-Slavery Spirit which must give this movement whatever success it can have or hope for, and which we do not believe will die of defeat! We think it is in much greater danger of dying of success. So, while we refuse to join the Republican party, and while we have but small hope from it, directly, if it succeed, we see in the emotions from which it springs and in the passions which must needs be aroused in its progress, signs of returning health and symptoms of a possible recovery. It is not the End. We fear it is very far from it. But it is the Beginning of the End, and as such it is regarded with the instinct of tyrants by the common enemy of us all.” ~ National Anti- Slavery Standard.

July 28– Monday– Springfield, Illinois– “I very cheerfully give you my opinion as to the prospects of the Presidential election in this state & Indiana; premising that I am a Fremont man, so that you can make due allowance for my partiality. I have no doubt, then, that the opposition to Buchanan, are the majority in both these states; but, that opposition being divided between Fremont & Fillmore, places both states in some danger. I think the danger is not great in Indiana; but some greater here. The Fillmore men have no power in either state, beyond dividing strength, and thereby bettering the chances of Buchanan. They know this; and I still hope the bulk of them will think better than to throw away their votes for such an object.” ~ Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Artemas Hale.

July 30– Wednesday– Norwich, Connecticut– Birth of Julia Henrietta Gulliver, philosopher, author, educator and president of Rockford [Illinois] College from 1902 to 1919. [Dies July 25, 1940.]

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