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Election for the Eighteenth Term, commencing March 4, 1857 and terminating March 3, 1861.
James Buchanan took the oath of office, as President, and entered upon his duties, March 4, 1857.
John C. Breckenridge took the oath of office, as Vice-President, and entered upon his duties, March 4, 1857.
When the Electosal votes were being counted, in Joint Convention of the Senate and House of Representatives, objections were made to including the votes of Wis consin, because the electors did not meet until the day after that prescribed by law. The President of the Convention stated that he merely announced that James Bu chanan had been elected President of the United States. without any reference to the contested votes, and docliued expressing an opinion on the subject."
THE FOURTEENTH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,
Was born in Hardin County, Kentucky, February 12th, 1809. The record of his boyhood and youth, so far as we have been able to trace it, is not distinguished by any thing more remarkable than the usual experience of children of pioneers in a new country. In 1816, he removed with his parents to what is now Spencer County, Indiana. Here he enjoyed the advantages of a little schooling-less than a year, however, in all. Whatever else he afterward learned from books was without the aid of the school-master-the result of his own energy and indomitable perseverance.
In 1832, he served in the Black Hawk war, and, on his return from that service, was nominated for the Illinois Legislature from the county of Macon. In 1834, he was elected to the Legislature, and reëlected in 1836, 1838, and 1840. While in the Legislature, he placed himself on record against slavery; and it is but just to say that the principles which actuated him then are the moving principles of the great party he to-day represents as the executive of the nation.
For many years Mr. Lincoln was a prominent leader of the Whig party in Illinois, and was on the electoral ticket in several Presidential campaigns. In 1844, he canvassed the entire State for Henry Clay, of whom he was a sincere and enthusiastic friend, and exerted himself powerfully for the favorite of his party. In 1846, he was elected to Congress, and took his seat on the first Monday in December, 1847, the only Whig Representative from his State.
In November, 1860, he was elected President of the United States by the party known as Republicans.
On the 11th of February, 1861, he left his home in Springfield, Illinois, and proceeded to Washington, passing en route the cities of Toledo, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Columbus, Steubenville, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Buffalo, Albany, Poughkeepsie, New York, Trenton, Philadelphia, · Harrisburg, and Baltimore-at all of which places, except the last, he was received with great cordiality, and addressed the people. At Baltimore a plot had been formed
to assassinate him; and, in this affair, it seems that some of the most prominent citizens of that place were implicated. But Mr. Lincoln, by prompt, shrewd management, reached Washington uninjured, and, on the 4th of March, 1861, was duly inaugurated, and proceeded upon the duties of his office, notwithstanding the threats of Baltimoreans that he never should be installed. In his inaugural address, in view of the threatening attitude assumed by some of the Southern States, in consequence of the accession of a Republican administration, after declaring that there never had been any just cause for the apprehension that such an administration would encroach upon the constitutional rights of any State, he said that he had "no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it existed; that he, as well as every Member of Congress, was sworn to support the whole Constitution, one of the provisions of which is, that no person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another State, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up-on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due;' that he took his oath to support the Constitution, without any mental reservation; that while he did not then choose to specify particular acts of Congress as proper to be enforced, he did suggest that it would be much safer for all, both in official and private stations, to conform to and abide by all those acts which stand unrepealed than to violate any of them, trusting to find impunity in having them held to be unconstitutional; that he held that, in the contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution, the union of the States is perpetual; that no State could, upon its own mere motion, get out of the Union; that acts of violence within any State or States against the authority of the United States are insurrectionary or revolutionary, and that he should, as the Constitution expressly enjoined upon him, take care that the laws of the Union should be executed in all the States; that while he should perform this duty perfectly, so far as practicable, unless restrained by his rightful masters, the
American people, he trusted the declaration so to do would not be regarded as a menace, but only as the express purpose of the Union to maintain itself."
The inaugural address, while considered as clear and explicit by many, was regarded as very obscure and unsatisfactory, by others (the people of the South), and, on the 13th of April, 1861, Messrs. Preston, Stuart, and Randolph, appointed by the Virginia Convention, were formally received by the President, and presented resolutions requesting that, inasmuch as "great uncertainty prevailed in the public mind as to the policy" to be pursued by the Federal Executive, he should communicate to the Convention the course he intended to take in regard to the "Confederate States."
To this request the President replied that, while he was sorry that dangerous uncertainty should exist respecting his mode of procedure with the seceded States, he could give no clearer exposition of his policy than was given in his inaugural address, a careful consideration of which he recommended to the Virginia Convention.
Two days after this, Fort Sumter having been reduced by the Confederate Government, and other demonstrations of a revolutionary character having been made, the President issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteers, for three months, to suppress the rebellion, and summoned Congress to assemble in extraordinary session. The call was heartily responded to, and, in a few days, a vastly greater number than had been requested offered themselves to their country. Meantime Washington was placed in a state of defense. Shortly after the commencement of hostilities, a blockade of all the Southern ports was declared. This was directly followed by a blockade of Virginia and North Carolina. On the 3d of May, 1861, the President issued a call for 42,034 additional volunteers for the term of three years. Congress having assembled, he addressed a message to that body, asking that at least 400,000 men and $400,000,000 be placed at his control, that the work of crushing the rebellion might be expedited. Congress readily complied, granting more men and money than had been asked.
On the 16th of August, 1861, the President issued a proclamation prohibiting all commercial intercourse between the loyal and seceded States. In the latter part of August, he modified a proclamation issued by General Fremont, which declared martial law in the State of Missouri, ordering the confiscation of the property of disloyal persons, and declaring their slaves free. The two latter of these measures Mr. Lincoln declared void. For this act he was blamed by many of his own party at the time.
Passing some other acts of less importance, we next notice the message addressed to Congress on the 6th of March, 1862, by the President, recommending that the Government cooperate with any State desiring a gradual emancipation of the slaves, by affording it such pecuniary aid as would enable it to "compensate for the inconveniences, public and private, produced by such change of system.' This message was hailed by the radical antislavery party of the country as the initiatory step toward a final and total abolition of slavery; by conservative Union men, with indifference; and by the secessionists as a hostile encroachment upon State rights.
On the 11th of March, 1862, Mr. Lincoln assumed command of the Army and Navy of the United States, ordering a general movement of both, and confining General McClellan to the command of the Department of the Po
April 16th, 1862, he approved and signed an act of Congress, abolishing the institution of slavery in the District of Columbia, which act "recognized and practically applied" the principles of compensation and colonization.
During the month of May, the President issued two proclamations, the one declaring the ports of Port Royal, Beaufort, and New Orleans open for trade, the other repudiating an order issued by General Hunter, emancipating all the slaves in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. This act also produced some dissatisfaction. During the years 1862-1863, Mr. Lincoln was actively employed in calling out and furnishing troops, and making important changes in the organization of the army. It was also during this period that he issued his general emancipation