New York Times, “The Fight in Congress,” December 18, 1857

    Source citation
    “The Fight in Congress,” New York Times, December 18, 1857, p. 4: 3.
    Newspaper: Publication
    New York Times
    Newspaper: Headline
    The Fight in Congress
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    Newspaper: Column
    Date Certainty
    Wes McCoy, Dickinson College
    Transcription date
    The following text is presented here in complete form, as true to the original written document as possible. Spelling and other typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.

    The Fight in Congress.

    It seems to be generally agreed that JEFFERSON DAVIS is to be the actual leader of the Administration in its contest with Senator DOUGLAS, against the principle of Popular Sovereignty. We presume the necessity of this step is quite as evident as its propriety. Messrs, BIGLER and GREEN seem to have made very little progress in their zealous endeavors to demolish the argument of Mr. DOUGLAS, and unless heavier guns are brought to boar upon him than have yet been used, he will have the fight all his own way.

    The fact is, this contest will very speedily appear to be, what it really is, a struggle of the ultra Fire-eaters against the great body of the National Democracy. The ultra Pro-Slavery men, - those who are for Slavery always and everywhere, - and who support, any measure that promises to extend it, are the only zealous champions of the Lecompton Constitution, They have a two-fold reason for this, - first, because they regard that Constitution in either of its forms as actually recognizing and legalizing Slavery in Kansas; and second, because they desire to establish the principle, which may be useful to them hereafter, that a Constitution for a new State may be accepted by Congress without having been submitted to the popular vote, or even against the popular will. When new States come to be carved out of Texas and Mexico, such a precedent as this may become of very practical value to them.

    They succeeded in misleading the President into cooperating with them so far as to advise the practical adoption of their scheme. But for this they would have had no strength whatever. It is scarcely too much to say that if the President had recommended the rejection of the Lecompton Constitution, on the ground that it violated the Democratic principle of Popular Sovereignty, It would not have received a solitary vote from any Northern State. But the weight of the Federal Government has been thrown into the scale of the Fire-Eaters and this gives importance, if not dignity, to the contest.

    Under these circumstances Mr. JEFFERSON DAVIS will succeed, properly and legitimately, to the position of Administration leader in the Senate. He will be able and bold. Indeed we are inclined to think that his boldness will carry him a good deal further and faster than either the party or the President will be willing to follow. But when he unmasks his battery, the fight will begin to be interesting.

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