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For Liberty and EqualityThe Life and Times of the Declaration of Independence$
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Alexander Tsesis

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195379693

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195379693.001.0001

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Sectional Cataclysm

Sectional Cataclysm

(p.148) 9 Sectional Cataclysm
For Liberty and Equality

Alexander Tsesis

Oxford University Press

Turmoil within the Democratic Party pitted those who backed the Lecompton Constitution against its detractors. The internal conflict split the party into sectional factions. The Republican Party benefited from the rift, gaining control of the government in 1860. Two divergent views emerged as to the meaning of the Declaration of Independence. In the South, the future Confederate president, Sen. Jefferson Davis, popularized the view that the Declaration created a state-centered polity. Its statement of rights applied only to members of the polity, none of whom were blacks. Northerners, in the meantime, began taking the lead of Republicans, who spoke of the Declaration as a document containing governmentally recognized protections for civil rights.

Keywords:   Democratic Party, Republican Party, Lecompton Constitution, internal conflict, Declaration of Independence, Jefferson Davis, state-centered polity, civil rights

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