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- Mr. Chairman, I desire to state, in a few words, what I regard as the real question in controversy between the political parties of the country. The Republican Party holds that African slavery is a local institution, created and sustained by State laws and usages that cannot exist beyond the limits of the State, by virtue of whose laws it is established and sustained. The Democratic Party holds that African slavery is a national institution, recognized and sustained by the Constitution of the United States throughout the entire territorial limits, where not prohibited by State constitutions and State laws... All other questions about which we differ grow out of this, and are dependent upon it.
- Speech (15 January 1861), as quoted in Congressional Globe, 36th Cong., 2nd Sess., (Appendix), p. 58
- Speech (May 1860)
- We are now, probably for the first time in our history, entering a new aspect of national politics.
- For the first time in the history of the country, a political party organized on the express doctrine, and with the avowed purpose, of overthrowing the Government, in the event of their being unable to control it through the ballot-box. It is asserted here by gentlemen on the other side—by one portion of them—that if a Republican President shall be elected, they will resist his inauguration forcibly. That is one proposition made on the other side of the House, by the Democratic Party.
- I take it for granted there can be no controversy about what that resistance amounts to. It can only be done by levying war against the United States. The thing threatened is treason against the United States. There can be no controversy about that.
- Another portion say that, if a Republican President is elected, they will secede from the confederacy, and organize a separate and independent Confederacy of their own. Whether that constitutes treason or not, is a matter of opinion, and may be a matter of controversy; but it is, nevertheless, equally fatal to the perpetuity of the existing Government and the existing institutions of the country.
- "We will rule this country, or we will ruin it. We will overturn this Government if we are not allowed to administer it ourselves." That is the naked, undisguised proposition of the Democratic Party in the year of grace 1860.
- Encyclopedic article on Benjamin Stanton at Wikipedia