Breaking with other Democrats on December 9th 1857, Stephen Douglas come out against the Lecompton Constitution.
The Lecompton Constitution was the second of four proposed Kansas state constitutions. It was written as a reaction to the 1855 Topeka Constitution’s anti-slavery position. The Kansas territorial legislature, which was mostly made up of slave owners made Lecompton Kansas the capital in September 1857 with the intent to write a rival constitution. Free State’res who made up the majority of settlers boycotted the vote. President James Buchanan appointed Robert J Walker the territorial Governor, and although her was pro-slavery he refused implement the Lecompton Constitution and resigned.
The Lecompton Constitution upheld slavery in the future state of Kansas and protected at rights of slave owners. It went even further by adding a referendum to allow more slave to be brought into the territory, while barring free backs from living in Kansas. Both the Lecompton and Topeka Constitution were placed for a vote before the people of the Kansas Territory. The vote came down to the issue of a Constitution with Slavery or without. Both sides boycotted the vote for differing reasons, and there were quite a few irregularities in the vote with over 3,000 ballets being thrown out. So both constitutions were sent to the United States Congress for approval.
The President supported the Lecompton Constitution before Congress. The Southern Democrats supported President Buchanan, but the Northern Democrats; who were led by Stephen A Douglas sided with the Republicans in Congress. The defeat of the Lecompton Constitution split the Democratic party which lead to Abraham Lincoln being elected President in 1860.