XI. NORTHERN LIFE DURING THE WAR
XIV. LINCOLN'S FINAL INTENTIONS
THE TWO NATIONS OF THE REPUBLIC
"There is really no Union now between the North and the South.... No two nations upon earth entertain feelings of more bitter rancor toward each other than these two nations of the Republic."
This remark, which is attributed to Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio, provides the key to American politics in the decade following the Compromise of 1850. To trace this division of the people to its ultimate source, one would have to go far back into colonial times. There was a process of natural selection at work, in the intellectual and economic conditions of the eighteenth
century, which inevitably drew together certain types and generated certain forces. This process manifested itself in one form in His Majesty's plantations of the North, and in another in those of the South. As early as the opening of the nineteenth century, the social tendencies of the two regions were already so far alienated that they involved differences which would scarcely admit of reconciliation. It is a truism to say that these differences gradually were concentrated around fundamentally different conceptions of labor--of slave labor in the South, of free labor in the North.
Nothing, however, could be more fallacious than the notion that this growing antagonism was controlled by any deliberate purpose in either part of the country. It was apparently necessary that this Republic in its evolution should proceed from confederation to nationality through an intermediate and apparently reactionary period of sectionalism. In this stage of American history, slavery was without doubt one of the prime factors involved, but sectional consciousness, with all its emotional and psychological implications, was the fundamental impulse of the stern events which occurred between 1850 and 1865.
By the middle of the nineteenth century the more influential Southerners had come generally to regard their section of the country as a distinct social unit. The next step was inevitable. The South began to regard itself as a separate political unit. It is the distinction of Calhoun that he showed himself toward the end sufficiently flexible to become the exponent of this new political impulse. With all his earlier fire he encouraged the Southerners to withdraw from the so-called national parties, Whig and Democratic, to establish instead a single Southern party, and to formulate, by means of popular conventions, a single concerted policy for the entire South.