Saturday, April 12, 2008

Buchanan and Douglas

Here is a scene I would love to have witnessed as a fly on the wall. It is the evening of December 3, 1857. Senator Stephen A. Douglas appeared at the White House to try to convince President James Buchanan not to back the Lecompton Constitution. The conversation became an angry confrontation:

Mr. Douglas, I desire you to remember that no Democrat ever yet differed from an administration of his own choice without being crushed. Beware the fate of Tallmadge and Rives [two politicians who had crossed Andrew Jackson].


Mr. President, I wish you to remember that General Jackson is dead.

Over the next five months, the Democratic party tore itself apart.

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