The So-Called Democratic Party
Luther Cullen Carter of New York
United States House of Representatives, January 18 1860

If I had the least suspicion that the Republican party was intent to deprive any of the States or people of their rights, or to infringe upon any rights guarantied alike to all the States, and people by the national Constitution, I certainly should not give my vote to aid in so doing. But I cannot believe that the Republican party, or any considerable number of those who compose that party, desire, or would do, any such thing. But if that party did seek to abolish slavery from the land, it certainly would not be worse than the only other party in this House which can by any possiblity organize the House; for the object of the so-called Democratic party seems to be to abolish the national Government. Between these two parties I did not hesitate to decide, but gave my vote promptly to that party which I believed to be the least dangerous to the country, even if all the evidence is true as against each other.


Was this national Government formed for the sole object of protecting slave property? Are there not other national interests? Where is that old conservative Democratic party which held that this Government was established to protect the rights and interests of all, under the direction of, and in accordance with, the will of the greatest number?

If I understand aright, I hear this Administration party claiming that the majority shall not control. Yet they call themselves the only nationial, the only conservative party in the nation. Is it true that, in this nineteenth century, and in free America, the only national and conservative party is a pro-slavery party, bound by no other interests than that of enslaving human beings, and protecting them only as chattels, as property? saying the Government shall not be administered, unless the people acknowledge it to be a slave Government, extending and protecting the traffic in human beings throughout the length and breadth of the land. Do they call themselves the Democratic party, the only national party, whilst they claim that the spirit and intent of this Government is, that it is the inherent right of the strong to enslave the weak, and hold them as property, to be bought and sold as horses? They have, undoubtedly, the sovereign right to make such claim, and to tell us how they can reconcile it with any true Democratic principle of this nation. But they have no right to charge us with being disorganizers, because we do not so understand the democratic principle of the Government.

I have listened with great attention to the speeches made by the Administration party in this House, to learn, if possible, where I could find the Democratic party, according to any true definition of the term found in the English language; but I have sought in vain; for there are not, seemingly, any two who agree upon any essential points, except in the words "slave property." These words seem to be the talisman of the party. Instead, therefore, of perverting the English language by calling themselves the Democratic party, they should use it in its true sense, and call their party by its right name - "the slave-property party;" or, the Abolition-Administration party. We could understand either of these terms, and plainly see the connection of the name with the object; but to call themselves the great Democratic party, whilst they do not hold one essential principle pertaining to Democracy, is an insult to the common sense of mankind.


The Congressional Globe, The Official Proceedings of Congress, Published by John C. Rives, Washington, D. C.
Thirty-Sixth Congress, 1st Session,
New Series...No. 32, Thursday, January 19, 1860, pages 506, 507.