Secession Era Editorials Project
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The Kansas-Nebraska Bill (1854)

Detroit, Michigan Free Press [Democratic], (6 January 1854)
It is no part of the business of Congress to legislate for the territories.
New York Tribune [Whig], (6 January 1854)
An overt attempt is set on foot in Mr. Douglas's Nebraska bill to override the Missouri Compromise.
Detroit, Michigan Free Press [Democratic], (10 January 1854)
all questions pertaining to slavery in the Territories, and in the new States to be formed therefrom, are to be left to the decision of the people residing therein
New York Tribune [Whig], (10 January 1854)
We cannot conceive how intelligent and conscientious men, who possess a real regard for the great doctrines of human freedom, can excuse themselves for such an abandonment as that which we have been apprised is in contemplation.
New York Tribune [Whig], (11 January 1854)
Slavery is an Ishmael. It is malevolent and malignant. It loves aggression, for when it ceases to be aggressive it stagnates and decays.
Detroit, Michigan Free Press [Democratic], (12 January 1854)
it takes the right ground essentially, and we have no doubt that the nation will sustain it.
Detroit, Michigan Free Press [Democratic], (13 January 1854)
The bill for the organization of Nebraska, like the Compromise Measures, is common ground upon which all sections can meet.
New York Tribune [Whig], (13 January 1854)
The opposition to the Nebraska bill is gaining daily.
New York Tribune [Whig], (14 January 1854)
The honor of the South, therefore, cannot be trusted where the interests of Slavery are involved, because on such occasions the voice of honor and truth is always silenced by the clamor of low, brutal and selfish passions.
New York Tribune [Whig], (14 January 1854)
it will probably pass as an Administration measure.
Washington, D C Union [Democratic], (15 January 1854)
his proposition is regarded by abolitionists as a death-blow to their hope of making the slavery question available for future political excitement.
Detroit, Michigan Free Press [Democratic], (15 January 1854)
It is simply recognizing, to its proper limit, the great principle of the right of the people, every where, to self-government.
New York Tribune [Whig], (16 January 1854)
Douglas purposes now to bring up the Nebraska bill forthwith, and to "cram it down,"
New York Tribune [Whig], (18 January 1854)
Some of the Southern members are startled at the discovery that Douglas's Nebraska bill is a violation of the Compromise of 1850.
New York Tribune [Whig], (23 January 1854)
Is it not time that the Press of the Free States, without distinction of party, should speak out on this question?
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (23 January 1854)
the North and the South ought to unite in sweeping it into the rubbish of extinct legislative anomalies
Salmon P. Chase, Appeal of the Independent Democrats (Jan. 24)
"We arraign this bill as a gross violation of a sacred pledge"
New York Tribune [Whig], (24 January 1854)
DOUGLAS'S new bill has taken the best friends of the Administration by surprise.
New York Tribune [Whig], (24 January 1854)
we judge he is after keeping up the equilibrium of things by making a slave and a free State out of his two proposed territories of Nebraska and Kansas.
New York Tribune [Whig], (25 January 1854)
The Adminstration is determined to put through DOUGLAS'S Nebraska bill before public opinion cows the timid.
Richmond, Virginia Enquirer [Democratic], (25 January 1854)
The union of the Democracy on this proposition will dissipate forever the charges of free soil sympathies so recklessly and pertinaciously urged against the administration by our Whig opponents
New York Tribune [Whig], (26 January 1854)
Sober minded men, who have leaned to the side of the South in the late contests, on the ground that the Abolitionists were the aggressors, will turn and resist this movement as a gross outrage and aggression on the part of the South.
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (26 January 1854)
It is perhaps, well for the South that parties at the North stand thus committed, for never before has the test been so fairly presented, of whether there is any party at the North really friendly to her rights, and if there is, who they are.
Hartford, Connecticut Courant [Whig], (27 January 1854)
This is a bold bid of Douglas for the next Presidency.
Detroit, Michigan Free Press [Democratic], (27 January 1854)
But whether slavery would or would not go to Nebraska, is not the question. That must be left to the people, whom we must learn to trust.
New York Tribune [Whig], (28 January 1854)
For our own part, we regard this Nebraska movement of Douglas and his backers as one of measureless treachery and infamy.
Springfield, Illinois Illinois State Register [Democratic], (31 January 1854)
Now is the time to give practical effect to the leading principles which triumphed in the election of Pierce.
Raleigh, North Carolina Register [Whig], (1 February 1854)
we confess that we somewhat doubt the utility of disturbing the Missouri Compromise
Concord, New Hamphire New Hampshire Patriot [Democratic], (1 February 1854)
the selfish schemes of trading politicians who seek to get up another abolition mania in the hope of thereby getting into office.
Detroit, Michigan Free Press [Democratic], (2 February 1854)
We deny to Congress the power to either establish slavery or to prohibit it, in a Territory or a State.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Gazette [Whig], (2 February 1854)
This is Slavery fairly developed. Like Catholicism, it cannot bear discussion.
Detroit, Michigan Free Press [Democratic], (3 February 1854)
no effort at agitation, either on the part of abolition, whig or "independent" papers, can move that sentiment from the firm base on which it stands.
New York Tribune [Whig], (3 February 1854)
The Nebraska bill is a Presidential scheme.
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (3 February 1854)
distinctly and unequivocally in favor of repealing all the anti-slavery restrictions of the Missouri Compromise
Detroit, Michigan Free Press [Democratic], (4 February 1854)
The principle of Congressional non intervention in the domestic affairs of the States and Territories is strongly intrenched in the popular heart.
New York Tribune [Whig], (4 February 1854)
the last desperate resort of the burglar to deceive his pursuers, is embraced.
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (4 February 1854)
Senator DOUGLAS made a powerful speech in vindication of the Nebraska bill
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (4 February 1854)
we expect to see abolition attempting now to cloak its head under the mantle of good faith, and cry aloud for the maintenance of pledges, while it presses forward its own wicked objects.
New York Tribune [Whig], (6 February 1854)
contempt for the juggling doughfaces who are mediating this monstrous treachery
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (6 February 1854)
We are able to do only imperfect justice to the speech of this distinguished Senator in defence of the territorial bill.
Detroit, Michigan Free Press [Democratic], (6 February 1854)
take the whole question out of the hands of Congress, and give it into the charge of the people interested in it
Detroit, Michigan Free Press [Democratic], (7 February 1854)
We furnish our readers to-day with the first half of Senator Douglas' speech on the territorial bill.
Richmond, Virginia Enquirer [Democratic], (7 February 1854)
we apprehend before the struggle is over, the majority of the active and aspiring Whigs of the South will be found in opposition to the repeal of the Missouri restriction.
Concord, New Hamphire New Hampshire Patriot [Democratic], (1 February 1854)
We have seldom read an abler or more conclusive argument in support of any measure
New York Tribune [Whig], (8 February 1854)
We recommend their perusal to the small fry who are just now making a parade of their great astuteness in the reproduction of Mr. Calhouns's doctrine of the unconstitutionality of excluding Slavery from the territories; a doctrine which his ingenious sophistry alone could shield from contempt.
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (8 February 1854)
But the position of the Abolitionists on this question is not only treacherous, but it makes also the legislation of the country absurdly inconsistent.
Detroit, Michigan Free Press [Democratic], (9 February 1854)
When abolitionism shall be finally crushed out of Congress, no other question can soon arise whose tendency will be to disturb the relations of cordiality which naturally subsist between the two great divisions of the country.
New York Tribune [Whig], (9 February 1854)
We now learn that a body of the representatives of the South, who are always united in the support of all schemes for the extension of the patriarchal institution, and who now anticipate a certain victory with the aid of the northern doughfaces, have still another deception in contemplation.
Detroit, Michigan Free Press [Democratic], (10 February 1854)
The only serious danger to the permanency of our institutions is the proclivity of the central power to interfere in the rights of the States.
Detroit, Michigan Free Press [Democratic], (10 February 1854)
Let not abolitionists talk to us of the sacredness of compromises! Nothing is sacred with them.
Springfield, Illinois State Register [Democratic], (11 February 1854)
the able and unanswerable speech of Judge Douglas upon the Nebraska Territorial bill
Detroit, Michigan Free Press [Democratic], (11 February 1854)
Shall, or shall not, the people of the Territories be permitted to manage their own affairs in their own way?
Milledgeville, Georgia Federal Union [Democratic], (14 February 1854)
We regret to learn that several whig papers at the South, such as the National Intelligencer, the Louisville Journal, and the New Orleans Bulletin are out in opposition to the Nebraska Bill.
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (14 February 1854)
So far therefore from these governments being empowered to exclude slavery, any action they may take upon the subject, would be a matter for discussion and decision, both by Congress and the Supreme Court of the United States.
Detroit, Michigan Free Press [Democratic], (15 February 1854)
Let democratic statesmen, at least, be consistent, and cling to the republican doctrine of non-intervention.
New York Tribune [Whig], (15 February 1854)
the bill of Douglas, in so far as it proposes to disturb the Missouri Compromise, involves gross perfidy, and is bolstered up by the most audacious false pretenses and frauds.
New York Tribune [Whig], (16 February 1854)
the daily misrepresentations of the paid organs of the Government in regard to every other point in the existing controversy.
Richmond, Virginia Enquirer [Democratic], (16 February 1854)
On our side we have the whole power of the Federal government and the moral support of a sound public sentiment
Detroit, Michigan Free Press [Democratic], (18 February 1854)
The battle is between popular constitutional rights on the one hand, and the encroachments of the central power on the other.
New York Tribune [Whig], (20 February 1854)
The Satanic Press audaciously asserts that the public opinion of this City is in favor of Douglas's Nebraska bill
Raleigh, North Carolina Register [Whig], (22 February 1854)
let the principle of non- intervention be presented in a distinct resolution, which shall fix the doctrine upon our statute book
New York Tribune [Whig], (23 February 1854)
Cowardice is thought a great stain at the South, yet political cowardice has of late years become nest to universal there
New York Tribune [Whig], (24 February 1854)
where is the man brazen enough to avow that we need any more slave- breeding districts?
Richmond, Virginia Enquirer [Democratic], (2 March 1854)
Northern journals betray a gross misrepresentation of the temper of the public mind of the South
Raleigh, North Carolina Register [Whig], (8 March 1854)
the locofoco party, in Convention assembled, gave their solemn sanction and recommendation to a measure which they must have believed, -- if what they had said was to be relied upon, -- surrendered the rights of the South
Springfield, Illinois Illinois State Register [Democratic], (13 March 1854)
Since the introduction of a Nebraska bill Greely has been busily engaged in fabricating public opinion against it.
Milledgeville, Georgia Federal Union [Democratic], (14 March 1854)
With such a showing as this, the Whig paper at the South, that raises its voice against Northern Democrats, should call up on the mountains and the rocks to fall on them and hide them forever from the gaze of honest and patriotic men.
Springfield, Illinois Illinois State Register [Democratic], (13 March 1854)
Its daily conglomerate, hashed up from Greely's mint of festering misrepresentation, calumny, and impotent malice, finds no response with the people of Illinois.
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (21 March 1854)
it places the claims of the bill to Southern support on the true ground of the equal constitutional rights of all the States in the Territories
Raleigh, North Carolina Register [Whig], (22 March 1854)
It is an attempt to prove the locofoco party the national party, and the Whig party a mere faction.
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (23 March 1854)
Whether time and consultation, and the various influences that work on the minds of Members of Congress, will increase the number of supporters of the bill, remains to be seen.
Milledgeville, Georgia Federal Union [Democratic], (28 March 1854)
We have too much confidence in the magnanimity, good sense and prudence of many Northern Democratic Statesmen, to despair of National Parties at this time.
Springfield, Illinois Illinois State Register [Democratic], (30 March 1854)
If the Journal editor would not be classed as an abolitionist, he should not fulminate abolition doctrines.
Jackson,Mississippi Mississippian [Democratic], (31 March 1854)
we have no fanatical women roving over the country and bringing reproach upon the community in which they live, by mingling in affairs which pertain to the sterner sex, we have no preachers who convert the sacred desk into an arena of sectional strife, and whose blasphemies make the very angels weep.
Raleigh, North Carolina Register [Whig], (31 May 1854)
by a sneaking and covert insinuation, it would leave the impression that they were co-operating with abolitionists!
Raleigh, North Carolina Register [Whig], (15 April 1854)
If their defeat is not on the ground of opposition to the Nebraska Bill, then it must be on the ground of opposition to the general course of the Administration!
Milledgeville, Georgia Federal Union [Democratic], (18 April 1854)
We see a disposition in some quarters of the Democratic party to discuss the question of Squatter Sovereignty as applied to the Nebraska Bill.
Jackson, Mississippi Mississippian [Democratic], (21 April 1854)
The condition on which the Democracy of the slave-holding States co-operate with their brethren of the North, is that of non-interference with the rights of slave-holding States, and opposition to Congressional legislation, which discriminates in any form against the property of one section of the Union
New York Tribune [Whig], (12 May 1854)
the contest has begun on that infamous measure.
Richmond, Virginia Enquirer [Democratic], (15 May 1854)
The principle of the power of the majority is essential to the authority of government, and should not be sacrificed to those technical rules which are ordained for the protection of the rights of a minority.
Hartford, Connecticut Daily Courant [Whig], (16 May 1854)
the whole slavery agitation has been reopened by the South themselves
Raleigh, North Carolina Register [Whig], (17 May 1854)
Will the people of the old States, on whom this measure will fall most ruinously, suffer themselves to be humbugged by the basely cunning and false representations of the lackeys of the Administration?
Springfield, Illinois Illinois State Register [Democratic], (19 May 1854)
The opponents of the Nebraska bill failed in their disorganizing efforts to defeat this measure by legislative trickery
Hartford, Connecticut Daily Courant [Whig], (20 May 1854)
it is a solemn question for the freemen of the Free States to ask themselves, how far they intend to follow the beck of the slave power and to fulfil their plans for supremacy.
Hartford, Connecticut Daily Courant [Whig], (23 May 1854)
let the public see where the truth is.
Albany, New York Evening Journal [Whig], (23 May 1854)
Slavery crawls, like a slimy reptile over the ruins, to defile a second eden.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Gazette [Whig], (23 May 1854)
The infamous act has been forced upon the country by the power of an oligarchy
Hartford, Connecticut Daily Courant [Whig], (24 May 1854)
the South may depend upon it that the confidence in their honor has been woefully shaken by this repeal of a solemn compact.
Cincinnati, Ohio Daily Enquirer [Democratic], (24 May 1854)
No pullquote available
Richmond, Virginia Enquirer [Democratic], (26 May 1854)
It has not been our opinion that the South would gain any very decisive advantage by the passage of the Nebraska bill in its present shape
Hartford, Connecticut Daily Courant [Whig], (27 May 1854)
It is time that minor differences should be forgotten or laid aside
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (27 May 1854)
As Mr. CALHOUN observed, governments were formed to protect minorities -- majorities can take care of themselves.
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (29 May 1854)
We are glad to get rid of it.
Milledgeville, Georgia Federal Union [Democratic], (30 May 1854)
the South has learned that she has many friends at the North upon whom she may rely for justice in the hour of need.
Raleigh, North Carolina Register [Whig], (31 May 1854)
Not only the balance of power broken down, between the slave and the free States, with a large preponderance in the Senate in favor of the latter, but that very section which is now held out as open to the slaveholder, by this very measure, filled up by a foreign population violently hostile to our interests!
Concord, New Hamphire New Hampshire Patriot [Democratic], (31 May 1854)
it will tend to remove from the halls of Congress the slavery controversy, and to transfer it to the people
Jackson, Mississippi Mississippian [Democratic], (2 June 1854)
it achieves the great object of removing from Congressional interference the slavery question
Charleston, South Carolina Mercury [Democratic], (3 June 1854)
the passage of the Nebraska Bill is the renewal of agitation of the subject of slavery, under circumstances, too, of unprecedented intensity and bitterness.
Hartford, Connecticut Courant [Whig], (6 June 1854)
The transition from a compliance with this demand to the universal toleration of slavery at the North, is but a step and an easy one.