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People - Notable People - Douglas, Stephen A., 1813-1861

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Abraham Lincoln to Mark W. Delahay

Abraham Lincoln to Mark W. Delahay
Creator: Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865
Date: May 14, 1859
Lincoln regretfully declines an invitation to attend the Osawatomie convention on May 18, 1859, which was to formally organize the Republican Party in Kansas. Lincoln warns against "the temptation to lower the Republican Standard [in whatever platform the convention might adopt] in order to gather recruits. "In my judgment," Lincoln continues, "such a step would be a serious mistake" that "would surrender the object of the Republican organization-- preventing the Spread and Nationalization of Slavery." This two-page, handwritten copy of a letter sent by Abraham Lincoln to Mark Delahay was probably given to the Kansas Historical Society by Delahay's daughter, Mary E. Delahay, in the early 1900s.


Findley Patterson to John A. Halderman

Findley Patterson to John A. Halderman
Creator: Patterson, Findlay
Date: April 4, 1860
Findley Patterson, the land office receiver at Junction City, Kansas Territory from May, 1858, to April, 1861, writes John Halderman with regard to problems within the Kansas Democratic Party. Recent differences between members over participation in the party's national convention at Charleston, South Carolina, had been aired in the press, and Patterson thinks this is unfortunate since "the future prosperity of our country depends upon the success of that party. Democrats should, he contends, not let relatively small policy issues overshadow the fundamental principles they share. Patterson pledges his support for the nominee of the convention, whomever it was, but favors "Judge Douglass [Stephen Douglas] . . .as we have been intimate personal, as well as political friends for several years."


"Leavenworth Journal" equipment lease

"Leavenworth Journal" equipment lease
Creator: Halderman, John Adams
Date: April 30, 1858
Dated April 30, 1858, and executed in Leavenworth, Kansas Territory, this handwritten document is an "agreement made and entered into" by John Adams Halderman and Hugh Ewing, representing the "Leavenworth Journal," with C. H. McLaughlin and William B. Hutchison, to lease all the newspaper equipment for $25 per month. Among other more technically-oriented conditions of the lease pertaining to the upkeep of the business, McLaughlin and Hutchison agreed "to make it a free-state Democratic paper, sustaining the ___ ___ course of Senator Douglas . . ."


Liberty, the Fair Maid of Kansas, in the Hands of the Border Ruffians

Liberty, the Fair Maid of Kansas, in the Hands of the Border Ruffians
Date: Between 1854 and 1861
This cartoon depicts William L. Marcy, James Buchanan, Franklin Pierce, Lewis Cass, and Stephen Douglas harassing Liberty, the representation of Kansas Territory. A former U.S. senator from New York, Marcy was a leader of the conservative Democrats, with pro-Southern leanings much like those of presidents Pierce and Buchanan; Marcy served as secretary of war (1845-1849) under James K. Polk and secretary of state (1853-1857) under President Pierce, during the worst of the Kansas troubles.


Lombard banner

Lombard banner
Date: 1858
Students of Lombard College in Galesburg, Illinois, presented this banner to Lincoln on Oct. 7 when he debated Stephen Douglas there during the 1858 legislative campaign. Lincoln then presented the banner to Judge Mark William Delahay in 1860, at Springfield, Illinois, prior to Lincoln's nomination as president.


Martin Franklin Conway to Franklin B. Sanborn

Martin Franklin Conway to Franklin B. Sanborn
Creator: Conway, M. F. (Martin Franklin), 1827-1882
Date: November 16, 1857
Shortly before he was to leave Washington, D.C., for a return trip to the territory, Conway wrote Sanborn in Concord, Mass., about his disappointment at again being separated from his wife and child, but he focused most of his comments on the Lecompton machinations and his continued belief that the Free State Party had be wrong to participate in the territorial election (thus giving that government legitimacy).


Oscar E. Learnard to S.T. Learnard, his father

Oscar E. Learnard to S.T. Learnard, his father
Creator: Learnard, Oscar E.
Date: August 10, 1856
Oscar Learnard wrote from Lawrence of his continued commitment to the "Sacked City," insisting that he would not be "bullied or frightened" by those committing outrages in Kansas Territory. He commented on the political composition of the territory and Lawrence, where he found many Douglas Democrats. Although there were some "fanatics" and "abolitionists," most residents of Lawrence were "western men" who had been driven to oppose the administration by the outrages. He insisted that the significance of the New England Emigrant Company had been exaggerated and that although more violent confrontations were likely, Kansas would eventually be free.


R.  P.  Bourn to Franklin Crane

R. P. Bourn to Franklin Crane
Creator: Bourn, R. P.
Date: October 18, 1856
R. P. Bourn, writing from Nicholasville, Kentucky, addressed this letter to Franklin Crane of Topeka, Kansas Territory. Bourn stated his anti-slavery beliefs clearly, and discussed politics both in Kansas and at the national level, including the Presidential election of 1856.


Robert S. Stevens to Samuel N. Wood

Robert S. Stevens to Samuel N. Wood
Creator: Stevens, Robert S.
Date: April 2, 1860
Robert S. Stevens, a Democratic attorney who had a variety of financial interests in Kansas during the 1850s and 1860s, writes this letter to Samuel N. Wood from Washington, D.C. Stevens seems to be lobbying for a number of concessions for himself and Kansas Territory. Specifically, Stevens writes of mail routes and "grants for R Rr" [railroads], which would not be forthcoming because of the Republicans who "care[d] nothing about us [Kansas] except so far as political capital can be made." Much of the letter is a condemnation of the Republican Party, which Stevens describes as holding up Kansas admission so the delay could be used against the Democrats. The final page addresses government action, or inaction, with regard to Indian treaties and land.


S. T. Learnard to Oscar E. Learnard, his son

S. T. Learnard to Oscar E. Learnard, his son
Creator: Learnard, S. T.
Date: January 14, 1858
Writing from Bakersfield, Vermont, to his son Oscar Learnard, S. T. Learnard claimed he was still planning to travel to Kansas Territory, and he asked about his son's affairs in Burlington. Learnard also focused on political attitudes in the East and mentioned Stephen Douglas' "speech on Kansas affairs" (Lecompton Constitution), which had caused "our Bogus democrats" to draw in "their horns." Many Democrats, he insisted, were still "ready to do any dirty work the slave power wish them to do."


Samuel Medary

Samuel Medary
Samuel Medary served as territorial governor of Kansas from December 20, 1859 until December 10, 1860. He was a friend of Stephen Douglas and a Jacksonian Democrat. He supported the nomination of James Polk for the presidency. Prior to his service in Kansas, he was the territorial governor in Minnesota from 1857 to 1858. He was born in Pennsylvania but spent most of his life in Ohio.


Samuel Whitcomb to G. Smith

Samuel Whitcomb to G. Smith
Creator: Whitcomb, Samuel
Date: August 30, 1856
This letter, written in Springfield by Samuel Whitcomb, is addressed to the Honorable G. Smith of Peterborg, New York. It is a passionate piece of correspondence that discusses slavery and liberty, demonstrating the conviction of this free-soil advocate. Whitcomb also expressed his frustration that the federal government was not more supportive of the free state cause in Kansas Territory, as well as his fear that the war was destined to spread out from Kansas.


Stephen A. Douglas

Stephen A. Douglas
Date: Between 1850 and 1861
Portrait of Stephen A. Douglas probably as U.S. Senator from the state of Illinois.


Stephen Arnold Douglas, minority report on the Kansas-Lecompton Constitution

Stephen Arnold Douglas, minority report on the Kansas-Lecompton Constitution
Creator: Douglas, Stephen
Date: February 18, 1858
Senator Stephen Douglas, as a member of the Committee on the Territories, presented this report, which analyzed the Lecompton and Topeka constitutional rivalry, for the consideration of the President. Douglas found that, under the Kansas-Nebraska Act, no government of Kansas, Territorial or otherwise, had the power to draft any constitution without the intital consent of Congress; the territories, though "self-governed" were not sovereign entities, and still were to defer to the direction of the federal government. He argued that even the recognized territorial government had no right to convene a constitutional convention without Congressional approval, and the vote the Lecompton Convention presented to the people offered no opportunity to fully reject the Lecompton Constitution, but only to accept or reject the slavery provision; a person could not vote against making Kansas a slave state unless he was also willing to vote for the Lecompton Constitution. Douglas, however, in his report likened this unauthorized act of Lecompton Constitutional Convention as much "revolution" and "treasonable pertinacity" as those actions of the free state government in Topeka; neither group held legitimate authority to draft or present their constitutions.


Stephen Arnold Douglas, speech on the President's Message

Stephen Arnold Douglas, speech on the President's Message
Creator: Douglas, Stephen
Date: December 9, 1857
Senator Stephen Douglas delivered this speech in the United States Senate, responding to President Buchanan's decision to let Congress determine whether or not to admit Kansas into the Union. Douglas approved of the decision, as he believed it was not an Executive matter. Douglas reiterated the point that the members of the Lecompton Constitutional Convention were appointed to frame a sample government, subject to the approval of the Territory's citizens, not to make a government themselves. Although he disapproved of the means used to submit the Lecompton Constitution to Congress, Douglas judged that the free state government in Topeka was an unlawful legislative body.


Stephen Douglas portrait

Stephen Douglas portrait
Creator: Louis O. Lussier
Date: 1860
Portrait of Stephen Douglas by Louis Lussier. Douglas helped write the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which called for the repeal of the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Kansas and Nebraska were opened up for settlement but the people living there, not the national government, would determine whether these states would be free or slave. Douglas had been a member of Congress and a United States Senator from Illinois from 1847 until his death in 1861. He was the Democratic Party nominees for President in 1860 and ran, unsuccessfully, against Abraham Lincoln. He had defeated Lincoln two years earlier when both were running for U.S. Senator from Illinois and when they had their famous Lincoln-Douglas debates.


Thomas Ewing, Jr., to Charley Ewing

Thomas Ewing, Jr., to Charley Ewing
Creator: Ewing, Thomas, 1829-1896
Date: May 1, 1860
In a letter to Charley Ewing, his younger brother, Thomas Ewing made some interesting observations about national presidential politics and parties. He was hopeful that the Republican Party in convention at Chicago would nominate a good "National man," but if they didn't he would "hope for the election of [Stephen A.] Douglas."


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