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As we can see from this quote from the inaugural

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vote excited the pro-slavery Democrats. As we can see from this quote from the inaugural address of the Democratic President elect of 1856, James Buchanan, the Democrats were very pleased with the concept of popular sovereignty, “What a happy conception, then, was it for Congress to apply this simple rule, that the will of the majority shall govern, to the settlement of the question of domestic slavery in the Territories. 2 ” The assumption being that new territories would jump at the economic advantages that slavery would bring and vote in its favor. The Democrats stood for states' rights but in reality that was simply a means to an end, and that end was the perpetuation of slavery for as long as possible. The Democratic Party truly believed that any tampering with the issue of slavery would be catastrophic to the union. Quoting from their party platform again we see that the Democrats believed, “...that all efforts of the abolitionists, or others, made to induce Congress to interfere with questions of slavery, or to take incipient steps in relation thereto, are calculated to lead to the most alarming and dangerous consequences. 3 ” To preserve the union the democrats believed that we had to ignore the problem of slavery. They felt that it was simply too complicated an issue to diffuse without tearing down the union around it. The democratic vision of the United States in 1856 is a somewhat grim one. Acknowledging that slavery is a decisive issue, the Democrats decide to champion the idea of states' rights and popular sovereignty. They feel it is better to allow each state or territory to decide for themselves if slavery should be legal. In their minds this is an acceptable compromise, those areas opposed to slavery can live without it and those in favor can reap its rewards. However, this vision of the United States does not solve the fundamental issue that slavery is tearing the country apart. Allowing each state to decide for itself does not change the 2 Buchanan, James. “Inaugural Address.” 4 Apr. 1857. Speech.
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