Before the Civil War Stanton was a Democrat, opposed to slavery, but a firm defender of the constitutional rights of the slaveholders, and was a bitter opponent of Lincoln, whose party he then hated and distrusted.
He was lukewarm toward recognizing the independence of Texas, lest it should aid the increase of slave territory, and generally favoured the freedom of speech and press as regards the question of slavery; yet his various concessions and compromises resulted, as he himself declared, in the abolitionists denouncing him as a slaveholder, and the slaveholders as an abolitionist.
Feudal masters could not afford to act with the ruthless cruelty of slaveholders relying on government and civilization to back their claims to a complete sway over their human chattels.
Slaveholders were not footloose; they had all to lose if they should carry their blacks into Kansas and should nevertheless fail to make it a slave-state.
Thus the South had to establish slavery by other than actual slaveholders, unless Missouri should act for her to establish it.