ate, in presence of my father [Henry Dodge of
Wisconsin] who will attest its truth -- that I have
performed and do perform when at home, all of those menial
services to which that senator referred in terms so grating
to my feelings. As a general thing I saw my own wood, do all
my own marketing. I never had a servant of any color to wait
upon me a day in my life. I have driven teams, horses, mules
and oxen, and considered myself as respectable then as I do
now, or as any senator upon this floor is.54
54 Appendix Cong. Globe, vol. 29, p. 376.
55 Ibid. p. 380.
56 Appendix Cong. Globe, vol. 29, p. 382.
57 Bernhart Henn, elected to Congress in 1849, serving four years.
58 Appendix Cong. Globe, vol. 29, p. 885.
59 Ibid., p. 886.
tion of our state. It brings Iowa nearer to the center of
power and commerce.60
60 Appendix Cong. Globe, vol. 29, p. 886.
61 Ibid., pp. 939-940.
62 Cong. Globe, vol. 28, pt. 1, p. 279.
63 Appendix Cong. Globe, vol. 29, p. 560.
64 Ibid., p. 382.
as financial conditions. "Hence," he continues, "all of
Nebraska, if not all of Kansas, will be settled by emigrants
from non-slaveholding states. Three thousand of these, from
free states, are now in the line of Nebraska and fifteen
hundred on that of Kansas ready to step over as soon as the
bill passes." A network of railways in this latitude already
embraced the Mississippi and would soon reach the Missouri
.65 Without a word of testimony, unprejudiced
eyes should see why commercial and political considerations,
entirely independent of the slavery question, should have
discovered the advantages of division to Iowa and Illinois
also, and stimulated to the utmost their demand for it.
Douglas was the natural mouthpiece of this sentiment by
virtue of his residence in Chicago which was vitally
interested in securing the location of the Pacific railway
as a direct extension of her great trunk lines to the West,
and of his position as chairman of the senate committee on
territories. So far from being surprising it is quite
natural that these advantages of division should have
appeared and been presented now, when the long-mooted
question of territorial organization was at last plainly to
be settled, and which quickened, and for the first time made
the question of a Pacific railway practicable and imminent.
This now certain prospect of the opening of the way for
giving value to the bordering territory and for the most
gigantic project for a commercial highway that had yet been
imagined suddenly increased the importance of every local
consideration or possible advantage, and resulted in the
project of division for northern commercial interests and by
northern commercial initiative.
65 Appendix Cong Globe, vol. 29, p. 885.
66 Rhodes, History of the United States, vol. i, p. 439.
67 Von Holst, Constitutional History of the United States, vol. iv, p. 323
these objections in his great 3d of March speech by
correctly stating that, in spite of the formal legal
prohibition there was a goodly number of white settlers
within the proposed territory; that there was an immense
traffic through it to the Pacific coast, now entirely
unprotected, and organization was necessary on that account;
and that people would inevitably invade the territory in
spite of legal barriers which therefore had better be
removed in response to the popular demand. The first census
of Kansas taken within six months after the passage of the
organic act indicates that there was already a population
not far from five thousand. Douglas very plausibly if not
conclusively established his contention that he at least was
breaking no new ground and springing no surprise in what he
regarded as the incidental repeal of the Missouri
Compromise. In his noted speech in Chicago, October 23,
1850, he had very explicitly and broadly generalized the
principle which he substituted for the Compromise:
68 The pertinent declaration of the democratic convention was as follows: "Congress has no power under the constitution to interfere with or control the domestic institutions of the several states . . . All efforts of the abolitionists or others to induce Congress to interfere with questions of slavery or to take incipient steps in relation thereto are calculated to lead to the most alarming and dangerous consequences . . . Therefore the Democratic party of the Union, standing on this national platform, will abide by and adhere to a faithful execution of the acts known as the compromise measures settled by the last Congress." The whigs bore even more heavily upon the idea of the general principle: "The series of acts of the thirty-second Congress, the act known as the fugitive slave law included, are received and acquiesced in by the Whig party of the United States as a settlement, in principle and substance, of the dangerous and exciting questions which they embrace, and so far as they are concerned we will maintain them and insist upon their strict enforcement until time and experience shall demonstrate the necessity for further legislation." The free-soil democratic convention denounced the compromise measures of 1850 for "their omission to guarantee freedom in the free territories, and their attempt to impose unconstitutional limitations on the powers of Congress and the people who admit new states." The free-soilers, however, plainly opened the way for the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, if it were found inexpedient, by declaring, "That the doctrine that any human law is a finality and not subject to modification or repeal, is not in accordance with the creed of the founders of our government, and is dangerous to the liberty of the people." True, both the regular democratic and the whig convention resolved in the strongest terms against the further agitation of the slavery question in Congress or out; but Douglas could easily answer to the implication that he broke or was inclined to break these solemn party vows, that the organization of the Nebraska country was an enterprise that had been "dear to my heart" for ten years, and that he had no thought of mixing it up with the slavery question until it was forced upon him at the eleventh hour by greedy and shortsighted representatives of the slavocracy.
and Chase had cut loose from the democratic party. It was
therefore easy for them to join the now swelling chorus of
the North and of the civilized world against slavery. But
Douglas had the misfortune at this critical juncture of
being the responsible leader of the dominant party and
personally ambitious as well. Though Seward and Lincoln, and
perhaps Chase, were already shaping the new antislavery
republican party of which they were to become the ambitious
leaders and the prime beneficiaries, yet as their aim was
more remote than that of Douglas, its element of selfishness
was not as apparent. Certain it is that in their early
leadership of the republican party Seward and Lincoln
compromised on the slavery question more than Douglas evaded
-- more than it was possible for him with his impetuous,
Napoleonic, dictatorial spirit to trim. The dramatic halo of
the Civil war, from whose embrace death snatched Douglas all
too soon -- for he had promptly and unequivocally thrown his
weighty influence on the side of the Union -- hides all but
martyrdom and saintship in the character and career of
Lincoln, and illuminates, if it does not exaggerate the
moral heroism of Seward and Chase. It is not likely that an
impartial estimate of these early republican leaders will
ever be written. For an opposite reason no impartial or just
estimate of Douglas has yet appeared.
dence and of the full flame or notoriety of its relation
to this famous or infamous act. Douglas constantly referred
to it as the Nebraska bill as late, at least, as the time of
his debates with Lincoln in 1858; but in his noted article
in Harper's Magazine, of September, 1839, he commits the
error of stating that the act "is now known on the statute
book as the Kansas-Nebraska act." The act is in fact
entitled in the statute as "an act to organize the
territories of Nebraska and Kansas"; but the Illinois
democratic convention of 1860 called the measure by its
present name. The misnomer, and the usurpation by Kansas of
first place in the name, may probably be credited to the
fact that it is more easily spoken in that form, and that
the spectacular and tragical political procedure in
"bleeding Kansas" during the years immediately following the
passage of the bill gave the territory the full place in the
public eye to the exclusion of Nebraska with the
comparatively tame events of its organization.
ing where the 40th parallel of latitude crosses the
Missouri river instead of at the confluence of the Kansas
and Missouri rivers -- a little above 39°; in running
to the 43d parallel instead of the mouth of the Niobrara
river, a little to the south, and then following the river
to that parallel; and on the south in running along the 40th
parallel instead of the devious course, ending at the east
on the 38th parallel as already outlined. The bill of 1848
followed Brown's amendment in requiring five thousand white
inhabitants before change to legislative government and also
in the provisions for the judiciary, and the bill of 1844 in
requiring the approval of the enactments of the legislature
by Congress before they should become valid. In other
respects the bills in question are all essentially
the earlier territories, such as Indiana, Mississippi,
Michigan, Illinois, and Kentucky and Tennessee of the
southwest territory followed closely the Ordinance of 1787.
Missouri, the first territory organized after the original
division of the Louisiana Purchase into the territory of
Orleans and the district of Louisiana, was at once allowed a
legislative assembly, though the members of the upper house
were appointed by the president.