Excerpt: ...became increasingly repulsive to those who believed in freedom, and such people would not therefore choose that city as a place of residence. The departments were of course filled with employees in sympathy with slavery. Pierce had been made President in 1853. The Missouri Compromise had been repealed in 1854. Buchanan came into office ...
Excerpt: ...became increasingly repulsive to those who believed in freedom, and such people would not therefore choose that city as a place of residence. The departments were of course filled with employees in sympathy with slavery. Pierce had been made President in 1853. The Missouri Compromise had been repealed in 1854. Buchanan came into office in 1857. The crowning act of his administration was supporting the Kansas infamy in 1859. From these indications it is easy to estimate the political status of Washington society when Lincoln entered the city February 23, 1861. Many thousands of his friends poured in from all quarters north of Mason and Dixon's line to attend the ceremonies of the inaugural. But these were transients, and foreign to the prevailing sentiment of the city. Every official courtesy, however, was shown to the President-elect. The outgoing President and cabinet received him politely. He had many supporters and some personal friends in both houses of congress. These received him with enthusiasm, while his opponents were not uncivil. The members of the Supreme Court greeted him with a measure of cordiality. Both Douglas and Breckinridge, the defeated candidates at the late election, called on him. The so-called Peace Conference had brought together many men of local influence, who seized the opportunity of making his acquaintance. So the few days passed busily as the time for inauguration approached. Of course anxiety and even excitement were not unknown. One instance is enough to relate here. Arrangements were about concluded for the cabinet appointments. The most important selection was for the Secretary of State. This position had been tendered to Seward months before and had by him been accepted. The subsequent selections had been made in view of the fact that Seward was to fill this position. On Saturday, March 2d, while only a few hours remained before the inaugural, Seward suddenly withdrew his promised acceptance. This utterly upset...
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