Medicine in America was still primitive by modern standards. In the early 1840s, several American doctors and dentists successfully used laughing gas and ether as anesthetics.
Between 1820 and 1850, a Greek revival in architecture came to America. Most of the ideas of art and painting were taken from Europe.
"Dixie" was the battle hymn of the Confederates and was written in 1859.
The Blossoming of a National Literature
Most of the reading material in America was imported or taken from British sources.
Following the War of Independence and the War of 1812, American literature received a boost from the wave of nationalism.
Washington Irving- the first American to win international recognition as a literary figure.
James Fenimore Cooper- the first American novelist to gain world fame.
Trumpeters of Transcendentalism
The transcendentalist movement of the 1830s resulted from a liberalizing of the Puritan theology. It also owed to foreign influences. The transcendentalists rejected the theory that all knowledge comes to the mind through the senses. Truth, rather, transcends the senses and can't be found just by observation. Associated traits included self-reliance, self-culture, and self-discipline.
Ralph Waldo Emerson- transcendentalist poet and philosopher; urged American writers to forget European traditions and write about American interests.
Henry David Thoreau- transcendentalist who believed that one should reduce his bodily wants so as to gain time for a pursuit of truth through study and meditation.
Glowing Literary Lights
Not all poets and writers of the time were transcendentalists.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow- one of the most famous poets to come from America wrote for the refined class; was adopted by the less-cultured class.
Literary Individuals and Dissenters
Edgar Allan Poe- wrote with a pessimistic tone, not like the literature at the time.
Herman Melville- writer of the novel Moby Dick.
Portrayers of the Past
A distinguished group of American historians was emerging at the same time that other internation
The South and the Slavery Controversy
Slavery was dying out, but the invention of the cotton gin prompted the plantation owners to keep their slaves as they now produced a high profit harvesting cotton.
"Cotton is King!"
The South controlled Britain because 75% of Britain's cotton came from the South.
The Planter "Aristocracy"
The antebellum South was more of an oligarchy-a government ran by a few. The government was heavily affected by the planter aristocracy. The dominance of aristocracy in the South widened the gap between the rich and poor because the aristocrats made all the decisions in their favor in government.
The Southern plantation wife commanded the female slaves.
Slaves of the Slave System
The economic structure in the South became increasingly monopolistic. The plantation system was very financially unstable. The temptation to over-speculate (no profit w/material held) in land and slaves caused many planters to plunge into debt.
The White Majority
The less wealthy slave owners were below the wealthy slaves owners. The smaller slave owners didn't own a majority of the slaves, but they made up a majority of the masters. Next came the large number of whites (3/4 of South white population) who didn't own slaves. These whites were a support of slavery because they wanted to eventually own a slave or two and achieve the "American dream" of moving up socially in society. The less prosperous nonslave-holding whites were known as "poor white trash" and "hillbillies." Next came the mountain whites who lived in the valley of the Appalachian range. Civilization hadn't reached them yet, and they supported Abraham Lincoln's Union party.
Free Blacks: Slaves Without Masters
Many free blacks settled in New Orleans.
In the South, the free blacks were prohibited from having certain jobs and forbidden from testifying against whites in court. They were known as the "3rd Race."
In the North, the free blacks as individuals were hated more than in the South.
White southerners liked the black as an individual, but hated the race. The white northerner professed to like the race, but disliked the individual.
Because the price of "black ivory" (slaves) was so high, slaves were smuggled into the South despite the importation of African slaves into American ended in 1808. Most slaves were the offspring of slaves already in America.
Planters regarded slaves as major investments.
Life Under the Lash
"Black Belt"- region where most slaves were concentrated; stretched from South Carolina and Georgia into Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Blacks managed to sustain family life in slavery.
Blacks molded their own distinctive religious forms from a mixture of Christian and African elements.
The Burdens of Bondage
Slaves were not permitted to read because reading brought ideas and ideas brought discontent.
Slavery in the South was known as the "peculiar institution."
American Colonization Society- founded in 1817; focused on transporting the blacks back to Africa.
Republic of Liberia- founded in 1822 as a place for former slaves.
The Second Great Awakening inflamed the hearts of many abolitionists against the sin of slavery.
Theodore Dwight Weld- abolitionist who spoke against slavery; wrote the pamphlet American Slavery As It Is (1839) which made arguments against slavery; went to Lane Theological Seminary.
William Lloyd Garrison- wrote a militantly anti-slavery newspaper The Liberator; publicly burned a copy of the Constitution.
Sojourner Truth- freed black woman who fought for black emancipation and women's rights.
Frederick Douglass- lectured widely for abolitionism; looked to politics to end slavery.
The South Lashes Back
In 1832, states were moving to make the emancipation of any kind illegal. This nullification crisis of 1832 caused the voice of white southern abolitionism to be silenced.
The Southerners argued that slavery was supported by the Bible.
The Gag Resolution required all anti-slavery appeals to be tabled without debate in the House of Representatives.
In 1835, the government ordered the southern postmasters to destroy abolitionist material due to anti-abolitionist mobbing and rioting at a postal office in Charleston, South Carolina.
The Abolitionist Impact in the North
Abolitionists were, for a long time, unpopular in many parts of the North. The southern planters owed much money to the northern bankers-should the Union dissolve, the debts would be lost. New England textile mills were fed with cotton raised by the slaves-if slavery was abolished, then the vital supply would be cut off and there would be unemployment.
"Free soilers" opposed extending slavery to the western territories.
Manifest Destiny and Its Legacy
The Accession of "Tyler Too"
Both Whigs, Daniel Webster, as secretary of state, and Henry Clay, the king of the Whigs and their ablest spokesman in the Senate, were set to control the Presidency. Before Henry Harrison's first term, he contracted pneumonia. Only 4 weeks into the term, he died. This hampered Webster and Clay plan.
John Tyler- Vice President to Henry Harrison; successor as President following Harrison's death; "Tyler too"; a Democrat at heart and contradicted many of the Whig Party ideas; vetoes Banks of United States; lowered tariff.
John Tyler: A President without a Party
When the Whig Party came to power in the presidency, many changes came about. The first one was financial reform. The independent treasury system was ended. A bill for a "Fiscal Bank," which would establish a new Bank of the United States went through Congress, but President Tyler vetoed it. The Whigs presented a "Fiscal Corporation" but the president again vetoed it.
President Tyler was rejected by his former Whig Party.
Tyler signed the Tariff of 1842 which was a protective Whig tariff.
A War of Words with Britain
During the 19th Century, there was much hatred of Britain. This sparked the "Third War with England." This war was only fought with paper broadsides.
In 1837, there was a small rebellion in Canada. It failed because it was supported by few Canadians and it could not enforce unpopular laws in the face of popular opposition.
In 1837, the American ship, the Caroline, was sunk by a British force. Washington officials made ineffective protests against the attack. In 1841, British officials in the Bahamas offered asylum to 130 Virginia slaves who had rebelled and captured the American ship Creole.
Manipulating the Maine Maps
In 1842, the British wanted to build a road westward from the seaport of Halifax to Quebec, running through disputed territory. The London Foreign Office sent Lord Ashburton to Washington to settle the dispute. He and Daniel Webster negotiated and gave the Americans 7,000mi2 of the 12,000mi2 of land in dispute.
The Lone Star of Texas Shines Alone
In the 8 years since 1836, Mexico considered Texas as a province in revolt and refused to recognize Texas's independence. Mexico threatened war if the America protected Texas.
Texas made treaties with France, Holland, and Belgium. Britain wanted to have relations with Texas because Britain could try to make Texas tear America apart. Britain wanted Texas as an independent ally.
The Belated Texas Nuptials
Texas became a leading issue in the presidential campaign of 1844. The Democrats were pro-expansion and were for annexing Texas.
President Tyler signed a resolution in 1845 that invited Texas to become the 28th state in America.
Oregon Fever Populates Oregon
Four nations claimed Oregon Country at one time: Spain, Russia, Britain, and the United States. Spain dropped out of America with the Florida Treaty of 1819 and Russia dropped out with the treaties of 1824 and 1825.
Britain controlled the portion north of the Columbia River. By 1846, about 5,000 Americans settled south of the Columbia River. The British had a lesser population but it did not want to give up its claims to the Columbia River. The disputed territory in Oregon Country became an issue in the election of 1844.
A Mandate for Manifest Destiny
In the election of 1844, the Whig party chose Henry Clay, and the Democrats chose James K. Polk. James K. Polk was the Speaker of the House of Representatives for four years and governor of Tennessee for two terms. He beat Henry Clay to win the election of 1844; "Young Hickory"; said he would protect Texas; he avoided the issue of slavery.
In the 1840s and 1850s, many Americans felt that God had "manifestly" destined the American people to spread their democratic institutions over the entire continent and over South America as well.
Democrats strongly supported the idea of Manifest Destiny.
Henry Clay straddled the issue whether or not to annex Texas.
Polk the Purposeful
Polk had four main goals for his presidency -
1. A lower tariff.
Robert J. Walker- Secretary of Treasury to James Polk; devised the Walker Tariff of 1846, a tariff-for-revenue bill that reduced the rates of the Tariff of 1842 from 32% to 25%.
2. The second goal of Polk was to restore the independent treasury, which the Whigs dropped in 1841 because the Whigs won the presidency.
3./4. The third and fourth goals of Polk were the acquisition of California and the settlement of the Oregon dispute without violence. Britain presented Polk with the Oregon Country up to 490. The offer was approved and a reasonable compromise was reached without a shot fired.
Misunderstandings with Mexico
The population of California in 1845 consisted of Spanish-Mexicans and Indians.
Polk wanted to buy California (The Bear Flag Republic) from Mexico but relations with Mexico were poor due to the annexation of Texas.
John Slidell- due to rumors of Britain preparing to buy California, was sent to Mexico City in 1845 by Polk to buy California for $25 million-the offer was rejected.
American Blood on American Soil
On January 13, 1846, Polk ordered 4,000 men under General Zachary Taylor to the Rio Grande. On May 9, 1846, Polk asked Congress to declare war on Mexico of the basis of unpaid claims and Slidell's rejection of the purchasing of California. Rather, Mexican troops attacked American troops that night and war was declared.
The Mastering of Mexico
Polk wanted California, not war. But when the war came, he hoped that America could pull out with California.
Generals in Mexican-American War:
General Stephen W. Kearny- led 1,700 troops to Santa Fe.
General Zachary Taylor- won many victories including a great victory over a large Mexican force at Buena Vista ; future President
General Winfield Scott- succeeded in battling his way up to Mexico City by September 1847; 1st choice of President Abraham Lincoln to lead the Union army in the Civil War.
Fighting Mexico for Peace
Nicholas P. Trist- chief clerk of the State Department; signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on February 2, 1848.
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo gave Texas to America and yielded the area stretching westward to Oregon and the ocean, including California, for a cost of $15 million. Southerners realized that the South would do well not to want all of Mexico because Mexico was anti-slavery. The treaty was opposed by those who wanted all of Mexico and those who wanted none of it.
Profit and Loss in Mexico
The Mexican War provided field experience for the officers destined to become generals in the Civil War, including Captain Robert E. Lee and Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant.
The Mexican War brought about the conflict of slavery between the states.
David Wilmot- proposed the amendment that stated that the territory from Mexico should remain slave-free. This Wilmot Amendment never passed the Senate because the Southern members did not want to be robbed of possible slave states to arise in the future from the land gain in the Treaty of Guadalupe.
Renewing the Sectional Struggle
The Popular Sovereignty Panacea
Popular sovereignty meant that the sovereign people of a territory should determine the statues of slavery. It was popular with politicians because it was a comfortable compromise between the abolitionists and the slaver-holders.
At the Democratic National Convention at Baltimore, the Democrats chose General Lewis Cass, a veteran of the war of 1812, as their candidate for presidency. Cass supported slavery.
Political Triumphs for General Taylor
The Whigs, who met in Philadelphia, chose Zachary Taylor as their candidate for presidency. Taylor did not have an official stance on slavery, but he did own many slaves. Henry Clay had not been chosen because he had too many enemies.
The Free Soil Party emerged. It was formed by antislavery men of the North, who didn't trust Cass or Taylor. They supported federal aid for internal improvements. They argued that with slavery, wage labor would wither away and with it, the chance for the American worker to own property.
Zachary Taylor won the election of 1848 (sworn into office in 1849).
In 1848, gold was discovered in California. The rush of people in search of gold in California brought much violence and disease that the small government in California couldn't handle. Needing protection, the Californians bypassed the territorial stage of a state, drafted their own Constitution (excluding slavery) in 1849, and applied to Congress for admission into the Union.
The southerners objected to California's admission as a free state because it would be upset the balance of free and slave states in the Senate.
Sectional Balance and the Underground Railroad
Harriet Tubman- conductor of the Underground Railroad who rescued hundreds of slaves.
In 1850, southerners were demanding a new and strict fugitive-slave law. (The old fugitive-slave law passed by Congress in 1793 was very weak.) The slave owners rested their argument on the Constitution, which protected slavery.
Twilight of the Senatorial Giants
The congressional debate of 1850 was called to address the possible admission of California to the Union and threats of secession by southerners. Known as the "immortal trio," Henry Clay, John Calhoun, and Daniel Webster spoke at the forum.
Henry Clay, the "Great Pacificator," proposed a series of compromises. He suggested that the North enact a stricter fugitive-slave law.
John Calhoun, the "Great Nullifier," proposed to leave slavery alone, return runaway slaves, give the South its rights as a minority, and restore the political balance. His view was that two presidents would be elected, one from the South and one from the North, each yielding one veto.
Daniel Webster proposed that all reasonable compromises should be made with the South and that a new fugitive-slave law be formed. Although, he was against slavery and he supported Wilmot Proviso, because he felt that cotton could not grow in the territories gained from the Mexican-American War.
Deadlock and Danger on Capital Hill
William H. Seward- senator of New York; antislavery and argued that God's moral law was higher than the Constitution.
President Zachary Taylor seemed bent on vetoing any compromise between the North and South that went through Congress.
Breaking the Congressional Logjam
In 1850, President Taylor died suddenly and Vice President Millard Fillmore took the presidency. President Fillmore signed a series of compromises.
During this time period, a second Era of Good Feelings came about. Talk of succession subsided and the Northerners and Southerners were determined that the compromises would end the issue of slavery.
Balancing the Compromise Scales
Within the Compromise of 1850, California was admitted as a free state and the territories of New Mexico and Utah were open to slavery on the basis of popular sovereignty. Thus, the Senate was unbalanced in favor of the North.
The Fugitive-Slave Law of 1850, the Bloodhound Bill, said that fleeing slaves could not testify on their own behalf and they were denied a jury trial. Northerners who aided slaves trying to escape were subject to fines and jail time. This was the one Southern gain from the Compromise of 1850.
The events in the 1850s caused the Northerners to resist succession.
Defeat and Doom for the Whigs
In the Democratic Convention of 1852 in Baltimore, the Democrats chose Franklin Pierce as their candidate for presidency. He supported the finality of everything, including the Compromise of 1850 and the Fugitive Slave Law.
Meeting in Baltimore, the Whigs chose Winfield Scott as their candidate for presidency. He also praised the Compromise of 1850 and the Fugitive Slave Law.
The votes for the Whig party were split between Northern Whigs, who hated the party's platform but accepted the candidate, and Southern Whigs, who supported the platform but not the candidate.
Franklin Pierce won the election of 1852. The election of 1852 marked the end of the Whig party. It died on the issue of the Fugitive-Slave Law. The Whig party had upheld the ideal of the Union through their electoral strength in the South.
President Pierce the Expansionist
The victory of the Mexican War stimulated the spirit of Manifest Destiny. Americans were looking ahead to possible canal routes and to the islands near them, notably Spain's Cuba.
Americans lusted for territory after the Compromise of 1850.
William Walker installed himself as the President of Nicaragua in July 1856. He legalized slavery, but was overthrown by surrounding Central American countries and killed in 1860.
Nicaragua was the world's leading marine and commercial power. The British, fearing the Americans would monopolize the trade arteries there, secured a foothold in Greytown.
The Clayton-Bulwer Treaty said that neither America nor Britain would fortify or secure exclusive control over any isthmian waterway (waterway between two bodies of land).
In 1854, Japan was persuaded to sign a treaty that started the trade of America with Japan.
Coveted Cuba: Pearl of the Antilles
Cuba was prized by Southerners who saw it as the most desirable slave territory available. They felt future states arising from it would eventually restore the balance in the Senate.
President Polk had offered $100 million to buy from Spain, but Spain refused. In 1850-1851, two expeditions full of Southern men descended upon Cuba, with the hopes of taking it over.
Spanish officials in Cuba seized an American ship, the Black Warrior, in 1854. It was now time for President Pierce to provoke a war with Spain and take Cuba.
The secretary of state instructed the American ministers in Spain, England, and France to prepare confidential recommendations for the acquisition of Cuba. This document was known as the Ostend Manifesto. It stated that if Spain didn't allow America to buy Cuba for $120 million, then America would attack Cuba on grounds that Spain's continued ownership of Cuba endangered American interests. The document eventually leaked out and the Northerners foiled the President's slave-driven plan.
Pacific Railroad Promoters and the Gadsden Purchase
With the acquisition of California and Oregon, the transcontinental railroad was proposed. The question was where to have the railroad begin-the North or the South.
Secretary of War Jefferson Davis had James Gadsden buy an area of Mexico from Santa Anna for which the railroad would pass. Gadsden negotiated a treaty in 1853 and the Gadsden Purchase area was ceded to the United States for $10 million.
The railroad ran from California to Houston, Texas.
Douglas's Kansas-Nebraska Scheme
Stephen A. Douglas- longed to break the North-South deadlock over westward expansion; proposed the Territory of Nebraska be sliced into two territories, Kansas and Nebraska. Their status on slavery would be decided by popular sovereignty. Kansas would be presumed to be a slave state, while Nebraska would be a free state.
This Kansas-Nebraska Act ran into the problem of the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which forbade slavery in the proposed Nebraska Territory. Douglas was forced to propose the repealing of the Missouri Compromise. President Pierce fully supported the Kansas-Nebraska Bill.
Congress Legislates a Civil War
The Kansas-Nebraska act wrecked two compromises: the Compromise of 1820 which the act repealed; and the Compromise of 1850, which northern opinion repealed indirectly.