in the 'Missouri Compromise.' The forty years succeeding 1820 may be called the period of the consolidation of freedom to resist this assault, and the final triumph of democracy in 1860, by the election of a President.
The first thirty years was a period of incessant activity by the slave aristocracy. It incurred a nominal loss in the abolition of slavery in eight Eastern and Middle States, and the consecration of the great Northwestern territory to freedom; out of which three great Free States had already been carved; making, in 1820, eleven Free States. But it had gained by the concentration of its power below the line of the Ohio and Pennsylvania boundary, the division of the territory belonging to the Carolinas, and the Louisiana purchase; whereby it had gained five new Slave States; making the number of Slave States equal to the Free—eleven. It put forward the liberal aristocracy of Virginia to occupy the Presidential chair during thirty-two of the thirty-six years between 1789 and 1825; thus compelling Virginia and Maryland to a firm alliance with itself. It had manœuvred the country through a great political struggle and a foreign war, both of which were chiefly engineered to secure the consolidation of the slave aristocracy. In 1820 its power was extended in eleven States, containing four hundred and twenty-four thousand square miles, with one hundred and seventy-nine thousand square miles of territory sure to come in as Slave States; and the remainder of the Louisiana purchase not secure to liberty. It had a white population only seven hundred thousand less, while its white and black population was a million more than all the Free States.
The North was barely half as large in area of States: two hundred and seventy thousand square miles, with only one hundred thousand square miles in reserve of the territory dedicated to liberty. With an equality of representation in the Senate of the United States, and a firm hold of all the branches of the Government, the prospect of the oligarchy for success was brilliant. In every nation the aristocracy first gets possession, organizes first, and proceeds deliberately to seize and administer the government. The people are always unsuspicious, slow, late in organizing, and seem to blunder into success or be led to it by a Providence higher than themselves. In this Government the slave aristocracy first consolidated, and in 1820 appeared boldly on the arena, claiming the superiority, and threatening ruin to the republic in the event of the failure of their plans. It had managed so well that there was now no division in its ranks, and for the last forty years has moved forward in solid column to repeated assaults on liberty.
The people, as usual, did not suspect the existence of this concentrated power till 1820. They made a brave militia fight then against the aristocracy, and compelled it to acknowledge a drawn battle by the admission of Maine to balance Missouri, and the establishment of a line of compromise, which would leave all territory north of 36° 30' consecrated to freedom. The Slave Power submitted with anger, intending to break the bargain as soon as it was strong enough, and continued on its relentless struggle for power. It determined to gain possession of the Senate of the United States; make it a house of nobles; control through it the foreign policy, the Executive, and the Supreme Court; and, with this advantage, reckoned it could always manage the House of Representatives and govern the nation. The key to all the political policy of the Slave Power through these last forty years is this endeavor to capture the Senate of the United States, and hold it, by bringing in a superior number of Slave States. So well did it play this card that, till 1850, it maintained an equality of senatorial representation, and, by the help of Northern allies and the superior political dexterity of the aristocracy, controlled our foreign policy; kept its own representatives in all the great courts of Europe; made peace or war at will; managed the Executive through a veto on his appointments; and endeavored to fill the Supreme Court with men in favor of its policy, while the House of Representatives never was able to pass a measure without its consent. Under the past forty years' reign of the Slave Power, the Senate of the United States has been a greater farce in the republic than the crown and House of Lords in the British empire. Indeed, so well did this aristocracy play its part, that it was supposed by the whole world to be the American Government; and the news that the people of the United States had refused, in 1860, to register its behests, was received abroad with the same astonishment and indignation as if there had been a revolt of the subjects of any European nation against their anointed rulers.
But spite of these great advantages at the outset—spite of its incredible political activity and admirable concentration, the slave aristocracy was finally defeated by the people. How this was done is the most interesting narrative in modern history. Never has the intrinsic superiority of a democratic over an aristocratic order of society been so magnificently vindicated as during the last forty years of our national career. During that period the free portion of this Union has grown to an overwhelming superiority over the slave portion, and compelled the slaveholders to draw the sword to save themselves from material and providential destruction.
This period of forty years may be regarded as that of the consolidation of the people. The first thirty years of it was the era of their industrial and social consolidation; the last ten years has been the period of their political union against the Slave Power.
An aristocracy always exhibits the uttermost pitch of human policy in its career, and amazes and outwits society by its marvellous display of executive ability. But the people are always moved by great supernatural forces that are beyond their comprehension, often disowned or scorned by them, but which mould their destiny and lead them to a victory spite of themselves. The people always grow without conscious plan or method, and rarely know their own strength. But there are always a few great men who represent their destiny, and, often against their will, direct them in the path to liberty. History will record the names of three great men who, during the last forty years, have been the most notable figures in this consolidation of the people in this republic; three men that the implacable hatred of the Slave Power has singled out from all other Northern men as special objects of infamy; men who represent the industrial, moral, and political phases of the people's growth to supremacy. Each came when he was wanted, and faithfully did his work; and their history is the chronicle of this advance of liberty in the republic.
The first of these men was De Witt Clinton, of New York. No Northern man so early discovered the deep game of the Slave Power as he. He was the ablest statesman of the North in the days when the aristocracy of the South was just effecting its consolidation. He was a prominent candidate for the Presidency, and was scornfully put down by the power that ruled at Richmond. The slaveholders knew him for their clear-headed enemy, and drove him out of the arena of national politics. Never was political defeat so auspicious. Cured of the political ambition of his youth, Mr. Clinton turned the energies of his massive genius to the industrial consolidation of the North. He saw that all future political triumph of liberty must rest on the triumph of free labor. He anticipated the coming greatness of the Northwest, and boldly devoted his life to the inauguration of that system of internal improvements which has made the Northern States the mighty, free industrial empire it now is. Within the period of ten years lying nearest 1820, the people, under the lead of