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Union or Secession
  • Editorial warning that Republicans were waging a war against slavery
Charlottesville Jeffersonian editor James Alexander warned Virginia Democrats on November 11, 1858, that Northern Republicans were preparing to make a war against slavery and would divide the country into sectional parties.
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  • James Alexander (1804–1887)
    James Alexander
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Editorial warning that Republicans were waging a war against slavery

Editorial in the Charlottesville Jeffersonian, November 11, 1858

The Republican Party, founded in the mid-1850s, made major gains in the congressional elections of 1858. Senator William H. Seward, of New York, was one of the party's foremost leaders and a leading candidate for president. "Senator Seward," editor James Alexander, of the Charlottesville Jeffersonian, wrote, "has come out with a platform which contains the true doctrines of Black Republicanism. Slavery is not only to be kept out of all new States, but war is to be made on it in those States where it exists, until it is finally exterminated from every State in the Union, and the sunny South brought down to a level with Jamaica." Alexander denounced Seward's party as "Black Republicans," a commonplace phrase that condemned the party as too favorable toward the interests of slaves and hostile toward the interests of slaveowners.

Editorial in the Charlottesville Jeffersonian, November 11, 1858
The recent elections have resulted in the election of an increased number of opposition members of Congress, over those of the present Session. In New York, Senator Seward has come out with a platform which contains the true doctrines of Black Republicanism. Slavery is not only to be kept out of all new States, but war is to be made on it in those States where it exists, until it is finally exterminated from every State in the Union, and the sunny South brought down to a level with Jamaica.
In order to exterminate slavery war is to be made on the Democratic party by Seward and his cohorts of Black Republicans, as our party is the only obstacle that stands in the way of the accomplishment of the objects desired by them.
In the next presidential contest there can be but two parties, the Democratic and only national party, and the Black Republican or sectional party. All true patriots, however, they may have heretofore differed on political questions, it seems to us, must rally to the Democratic standard as the only hope of safety for the perpetuity of the Union. The people must rise in the majesty of their strength, and crush out the dangerous heresies of Seward and Co. or our country will be no longer one great Republic, but divided into sectional parties, and the theatre where an unnatural warfare will be waged, brother against brother and father against son. May the Supreme Ruler of the Universe avert this awful state of things, and the spirit of the founders of the Republic reanimate the men of the present generation, and guide them by the wisdom which governed in the days of the Revolution, when Jefferson and Hancock, Adams and Henry, Washington and Greene, stood shoulder to shoulder in defence of a common country and common rights.