Sectionalism The Comes Apart at the Seams Sectional Issues Missouri Compromise



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Sectionalism

The Comes Apart at the Seams
Sectional Issues
Missouri Compromise: 1820

  • Missouri admitted as a slave state & Maine admitted as a free state to maintain the political balance in the Senate.

  • Any states created out of Louisiana Purchase north of 36-30 to be free states


Moderate Abolitionism 1820-1850

  • Promoted gradual, voluntary manumission

  • American Colonization Society

  • James Madison & Henry Clay were former presidents of society

  • Local branches in every state

  • Churches & state legislatures provided money to buy and transport slaves [approximately 6,000 from 1821-67] to Liberia which had been purchased by ACS in 1820’s


Radical Abolitionism : 1820-1850


Issue of Slavery In Mexican Cession

  • The Wilmot Proviso, introduced by Representative David Wilmot, proposed to ban slavery from any territory acquired from Mexico as a result of the Mexican-American War

  • Passed by the House twice, it was rejected by the Senate

  • Expressed Northern Abolitionist position against extending slavery into any new territories


Compromise of 1850

  • Discovery of gold in California 9 days before the signing of the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo led to the formation of a state government in November, 1849 and a demand for immediate admission to the Union as a free state

  • This action precipitated a heated and sometimes bitter debate between Northern and Southern forces in Congress

  • Settlement of the debate was referred to as the Compromise of 1850

  • Was a package of 5 bills that provided:

  • California was admitted as a free state [California Admission Act – Sept. 9,1850]

  • The principle of popular sovereignty was applied to remainder of Mexican Cession

  • Northern boundary of Texas fixed at 36-30’ and Texas compensated $10 million for territory ceded to U.S. Government

  • The slave trade was abolished in D.C.

  • A new and stronger fugitive slave law.


Fugitive Slave Act -1850

  • Required that all persons charged with executing the law must enforce the act and cooperate with slave catchers

  • Abolished the previous “safe” harbor of the northern states

  • Forced many escaped slaves to flee to Canada

  • Intensified the abolitionist movement by forcing many in the North to take a stand in opposition to slavery

  • Led Harriet Beecher Stowe to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin


Uncle Tom’s Cabin: 1852

  • Originally serialized in the National Era

  • 300,000 copies sold first year – more than 1 million by 1860

  • Convinced thousands in north that slavery was an evil


Kansas-Nebraska Act: 1854

  • Introduced by Sen. Stephen A. Douglas

  • To promote western migration & building railroad to the west coast

  • The Louisiana Territory between 37N & 49N was to be organized into two territories, Kansas and Nebraska

  • The Missouri Compromise ban on slavery was repealed and replaced with the concept of “popular sovereignty”

  • Bitter and protracted sectional debate in Congress

  • Bill finally passed by Senate 37-14 and the House on May 22, 1854, 113-100

  • President Pierce signed the bill into law

  • Rancor over the act caused a split in and eventual dissolution of the Whig Party

  • Led to the formation of the Republican Party

  • Led to civil strife in Kansas


New Political Parties

  • The issue of Slavery and Abolition led to the formation of new political parties in the West:

  • Liberty Party [1840 & 1844] wanted immediate abolition of slavery

  • Free Soil Party [1848] was opposed to extending slavery into new territories

  • The Know-Nothing Party [1849] opposed to Catholics and immigrants

  • Republican Party [1854] opposed to extending slavery into new territories

Bleeding Kansas,” 1856



  • Northerners wanting to win Kansas as a free state created aid societies such as the New England Emigrant Aid Society to offset efforts from Missouri

  • Border Ruffians” from Missouri were bent on securing Kansas for slave block

  • The situation spawned rival governments and constitutions

  • Lecompton Constitution = pro-slavery

  • Topeka Constitution = free state

  • Brutality occurred on the floor of Congress when Preston Brooks (SC) beat Charles Sumner (Mass) with a

brass-headed cane
War in Kansas

  • Free state settlers armed themselves with “Beecher’s Bibles”

  • Border Ruffians sacked Lawrence, Kansas

  • John Brown retaliated by attacking and killing 5 proslavery men at Pottawatomie Creek

  • The four month civil war killed 200 people


Election of 1856

  • The new Republican Party ran John C. Fremont of California fame for President

  • He ran on a platform of excluding slavery from new territories

  • Many Northerners could not bring themselves to vote for him

  • Democrats won 174-114 electoral votes

The Impending Crisis”



  • A book by Hinton R. Helper, a non-slave owning southerner

  • Argued that slavery had ruined the South economically

  • Further inflamed sectional feelings

  • Abolitionists used book to bolster their cause

  • Was almost as influential as Uncle Tom’s Cabin


Dred Scott v Sanford (1857)

  • The Case = Scott a slave from Missouri had lived for a time in Illinois. On his master’s death, abolitionists, on his behalf, sued for his freedom on grounds that his living in Illinois had made him a free man

  • Missouri court ruled against him

  • Sold to J.F.A. Sanford of New York to get the case into Supreme Court

  • The Chief Justice Roger B. Taney (Md) and 4 of the 7 members of the Court had been appointed by Jackson and were from the South.

  • The Court ruled that:

  • Scott had no case as he was not a citizen – the Constitution did not consider Negroes citizens.

  • Scott was still a slave – living in Illinois had not made him free because his stay did not affect Missouri law.



Taney’s Obiter Dictum

Taney, in a lengthy opinion (obiter dictum), went further, stating that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional as it violated the 5th Amendment.

  • The Court, in effect, stated that Congress could not bar slavery from the territories.

  • The South was jubilant over the ruling – they had won the slavery argument.

  • The Northern Abolitionists were forced to rethink their position.


Illinois Senate Election, 1858


  • Abraham Lincoln opposed Senator Stephen A. Douglas for the senate seat

  • Lincoln-Douglas Debates

  • Lincoln talked about slavery being regarded as an evil that had to be dealt with

  • Freeport Debate and the Freeport Doctrine

  • Lincoln lost the election


The “Freeport Doctrine”

  • At Freeport, Lincoln asked Douglas if popular sovereignty was possible after the Dred Scott decision

  • Douglas answered, “The people of a territory could keep slavery out by refusing to enact black codes or other laws necessary for its survival”

  • Northern abolitionists and Democrats were pleased with this position and they reelected him

  • Southern Democrats denounced it as it promised them less than Dred Scott

  • Doomed Douglas’s chances of winning the Presidency


John Brown’s Raid- October, 1859

  • Brown led an assault on the Federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry to get arms to arm the southern slaves

  • Lacking support the “revolt” was quickly ended and Brown & his 22 followers were captured (17 were killed) by U.S. Marines under Robert E. Lee

  • Brown was tried for treason and hanged on Dec. 2, 1859

  • Brown became a martyr to the Northern Abolitionists

  • Southerners viewed the raid as proof that the Republicans were bent on freeing the slaves

  • Sidelight: Brown’s widow and family moved to Red Bluff, California. Citizens built her a house that still stands on Main Street.


Edmund Ruffin, Radical Secessionist

  • Skilled agriculturist

  • Believed increasing northern industrialism threatened the South. Began to advocate secession in 1840’s.

  • 1855, turned over his plantations to his sons and daughters, in order to devote himself full-time to the cause of secession. Became “fire eater”

  • Became an “honorary cadet” at VMI so he could attend John Brown’s hanging.

  • Sent 15 of Brown’s spears to Southern legislators saying "Sample of the favors designed for us by our Northern brethren."

  • Manipulated split in Democratic party to ensure Republican victory and Southern Secession

  • Wrote anti-northern novel to counter Uncle Tom’s Cabin and advocate secession


Presidential Election of 1860

  • The older party cohesion had broken down

The Democrats were divide

  • Pro-Douglas Democrats forced a “Freeport Doctrine” Plank into party platform and nominated Douglas

  • Southern Democrats left the convention and later nominated John C. Breckinridge (Kentucky) on a platform endorsing the “Dred Scott Doctrine”

Republicans, sensing victory, nominated Abraham Lincoln, who they viewed as a moderate.

  • Republican Party platform crafted for broad appeal:

  • Restrict slavery to those states where it currently existed

  • Pass a homestead act

  • Provide government support for a Pacific railroad

  • The Constitutional Union Party was formed from old Whigs and Know-Nothings to attempt to preserve the Union by compromise.

  • Nominated John Bell (Tennessee)



  • Two separate contests

  • Republicans = northern enforcement against slavery

  • Northern Democrats = continuing compromise on slavery

  • Breckinridge versus Bell in the South

  • Southern Democrats = states rights even at cost of secession

  • Constitutional Union the “Bell Ringers” = preserve the Union

  • Lincoln won 180 electoral votes (only 47% of popular vote

  • Douglas won 12 electoral votes

  • Breckinridge won 72 electoral votes

  • Bell won 39 electoral votes


Post November, 1860

  • Northern vote =192 electoral votes

  • Southern vote = 111 electoral votes

  • The South believed that the North was going to control the future of the country and, therefore, their destiny


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