Sectionalism The Comes Apart at the Seams Sectional Issues Missouri Compromise
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Comes Apart at the Seams
Sectional Issues Missouri Compromise:
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.
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
Originally serialized in the
300,000 copies sold first year – more than 1 million by 1860
Convinced thousands in north that slavery was an evil
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
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  was opposed to extending
slavery into new territories
The Know-Nothing Party  opposed to Catholics and immigrants
Republican Party  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 =
Topeka Constitution = free state
Brutality occurred on the floor of Congress when Preston Brooks (SC) beat Charles Sumner (Mass) with a
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
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 5 th 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 talked about slavery being regarded as an evil that had to be dealt with
Freeport Debate and the Freeport Doctrine
Lincoln lost the election
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
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”
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)
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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