An Age of Compromise and Crises, 1820-60


Letter from Seth Webb, Jr. (1823-1862) Autograph letter, signed, to Charles Sumner, 14 July 1854.

Disagreement around slavery resulted in political splits and the formation of new parties. In 1840, a dispute within the abolitionist movement over participation in the political process led to the establishment of the Liberty Party by one of the factions. The Free Soil Party won a number of congressional seats in 1848 and contested state elections as well. In this letter to Sumner, antislavery activist Seth Webb, Jr. reports on the growing political crisis in Massachusetts and the rise of the nativist Know-Nothings, who swept state elections in 1854.

MS Am 1 (6684) - Gift of Edward L. Pierce, 1874.