# The Pony Express Chapter I At A Nation's Crisis The fall of Fort Sumter in April, 1861, did not produce the Civil War crisis. For many months, the gigantic struggle then imminent had been painfully discernible to far-seeing men. In 1858, Lincoln had forewarned the country in his "House Divided" speech. As early as the beginning of the year 1860 the Union had been plainly in jeopardy. Early in February of that momentous year, Jefferson Davis, on behalf of the South, had introduced his famous reso

###### Question:

The Pony Express
Chapter I
At A Nation's Crisis
The fall of Fort Sumter in April, 1861, did not produce the Civil War crisis. For many months, the gigantic struggle then imminent had been painfully discernible to far-seeing men. In 1858, Lincoln had forewarned the country in his "House Divided" speech. As early as the beginning of the year 1860 the Union had been plainly in jeopardy. Early in February of that momentous year, Jefferson Davis, on behalf of the South, had introduced his famous resolutions in the Senate of the United States. This document was the ultimatum of the dissatisfied slave-holding commonwealths. It demanded that Congress should protect slavery throughout the domain of the United States. The territories, it declared, were the common property of the states of the Union and hence open to the citizens of all states with all their personal possessions. The Northern states, furthermore, were no longer to interfere with the working of the Fugitive Slave Act. They must repeal their Personal Liberty laws and respect the Dred Scott Decision of the Federal Supreme Court. Neither in their own legislatures nor in Congress should they trespass upon the right of the South to regulate slavery as it best saw fit.
These resolutions, demanding in effect that slavery be thus safeguarded—almost to the extent of introducing it into the free states—really foreshadowed the Democratic platform of 1860 which led to the great split in that party, the victory of the Republicans under Lincoln, the subsequent secession of the more radical southern states, and finally the Civil War, for it was inevitable that the North, when once aroused, would bitterly resent such pro-slavery demands.
And this great crisis was only the bursting into flame of many smaller fires that had long been smoldering. For generations the two sections had been drifting apart. Since the middle of the seventeenth century, Mason and Dixon's line had been a line of real division separating two inherently distinct portions of the country.
Read this line from the Pony Express excerpt:
For many months, the gigantic struggle then imminent, had been painfully discernible to far-seeing men.
In this context, what does the phrase "painfully discernible" mean?
Both inevitable and awful
Both foreseeable and accurate
Both aching and regrettable
Both negative and sad

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