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Lot #20
James Buchanan

Amid a divided Democratic party, Buchanan seeks to pacify the South with a pro-slavery bill

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Estimate: $4500+
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Amid a divided Democratic party, Buchanan seeks to pacify the South with a pro-slavery bill

ALS as president, one page, 6.25 x 8, October 10, 1857. Letter to Robert Tyler, chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Executive Committee, in full: “Seated comfortably at this place preparing my message & having just heard the favorable news from Kansas, I confess your note of yesterday this moment brought from town has given me much uneasiness. It is the first intimation I have ever received from any quarter that a serious doubt existed as to the success of the Democratic candidate in the city & county of Philadelphia. I cherish the hope that you have written in a moment of gloom that the result on next Tuesday will disappoint your apprehensions. It would be the last calamity for Philadelphia at the present moment to become a Black Republican city & thereby throw herself into the arms of the disunionists. I shall not believe it till I see it. I am always most happy to see you.” In fine condition, with intersecting folds and staple holes to upper left corner.

Buchanan’s mention of “favorable news from Kansas” is in reference to the passing of the Lecompton Constitution a month earlier. Written in response to the 1855 Topeka Constitution, the rival document sought to legalize slavery in Kansas and exclude free blacks from living in Kansas. A proponent of slaveholder rights, Buchanan endorsed the bill and relayed a copy to Congress recommending statehood for Kansas under its provisions. Intent on maintaining the Union, Buchanan’s actions were designed to quell secessionist momentum by appeasing southern interests. However, the Lecompton Constitution, riddled with trick terms and approved through fraudulent polling, did little more than cleave an irreparable rift within the Democratic Party. When Lecompton voter fraud was finally unmasked, a new referendum was held on January 4, 1858, resulting in a vote of 10,226 to 138 in opposition of the pro-slavery proposal. Kansas was admitted to the Union as a free state in 1861. Pre-certified PSA/DNA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autographs And Artifacts Featuring Animation
  • Dates: #479 - Ended July 13, 2016

This item is Pre-Certified by PSA/DNA
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