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 The Whigs were now beginning to want a hand in the
government. They had been out of power so long, that
they thought it worth while to try to find a man as
their candidate who would be likely to catch the vote
of the people.
The settled upon "Old Zach," or as he had come to be
called during the late war, "Old Rough and Ready."
This wasn't as exciting a time as that campaign when
Log Cabins and Hard Cider had been the campaign
watch-words; but it was somewhat like it. Now
everything was "Rough and Ready,"—there were
"Rough and Ready"
hats and "Rough and Ready" boots;
—and at the end, the Whigs, to their great
delight, succeeded in electing their "Rough and Ready"
president. President Taylor died before his term of
office was ended, and his Vice-President, Millard Filmore,
served the remainder of the term. After Filmore came
Franklin Pierce, and after Pierce, James Buchanan.
The administrations of these presidents are so
swallowed up in the great question of "slavery," that I
shall not try to keep them separate in this little
history. You have heard already of the slavery
question, but you did not know, I think, how in all
this time the excitement regarding it had been
increasing. The political parties which in
Washington's time were divided on the form of
government, and later, on
 the war with England, and later still, on "State
Rights," were now divided on the one great question of
slavery. For some time, whenever a new territory
wanted to join the Union, there had been a hot fight in
Congress over it. The question would be, not whether
there were people enough in the territory, or whether
they would be likely to be of service to the Union,
but, "Will this new State be a slave-state?" If it
seemed likely that it would be a slave-state, then the
North would fight against its admission. They wanted
no more slave-states. On the other hand, if it was not
to be a slave-state, the South would fight just as
hotly against it.
Away back when South Carolina had made an attempt to
leave the Union, and "Old Hickory" had brought it so
quickly to terms, he had said then—wise, far
seeing old man that he was:
"This disturbance about the tariff is only a make
believe; the real object in trying to withdraw from the
Union is to secure the right to hold slaves. Slavery,
or the Negro Question, will be the next trouble this
country will have to face."
And surely enough his prophecy was coming true. Henry
Clay and Daniel Webster worked harder than ever in
these days; for the South again had threatened to leave
the Union—this time making no pretence to keep
back their real object, the slave question.