Lead: The Democratic Party split at its meeting in 1860 and for a time the Southern port city of Charleston played host to two Conventions.

Tag: "A Moment In Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: The immediate cause of the division was the insistence of deep South states that the Party Platform must contain a slave code, guaranteeing that neither the Federal government nor territories that had not become states could interfere with slavery. If the code was missing, they were authorized to walk out of the Convention. The Platform Committee brought in two reports. The majority report included the slave code. The committee minority, allied with the front-runner, Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, produced a platform stating that the decision about slavery in the territories had to be made by the people who lived there. There was no slave code. Douglas knew that he could not be elected with the slave code. Northern states would have nothing to do with it.

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