CONFLICT IRREPRESSIBLE-"A HOUSE DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF CANNOT STAND."

Defeat in the 1856 presidential election was in fact victory for the new Republican Party, established now as the second political force in the nation. The American Party, carrying only Maryland in the election, was defunct in the North. Republicans gained steadily in the House of Representatives, but remained a minority party, checked by Democratic charges of abolition and fears of disunion. While attempting to distance themselves from abolition, Republicans nevertheless emphasized that the options were narrowing between a nation of slavery or a nation of freedom. Increasingly, there was no middle ground.

Democratic Protests Against the Lecompton Fraud (Philadelphia, 1858)