Widening the North-South Rift

Collaborative notes, Denton HS, HOTA 2014

War with Mexico-1846

Fugitive Slave Act of 1850

Kansas-Nebraska Bill

Dred Scott Decision

John Brown’s Raid

Campaign and Election of 1860

War with Mexico-1846

Issue

Background

North Position

South Position

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Wilmot Proviso and the state sovereignty argument

Wilmot Proviso argued to ban slavery from every territory coming from Mexico, except for Texas. But state sovereignty suggested that each state will be able to decide as they are admitted into the union.

The southern position on the Wilmot Proviso is one of slight positivity, mostly because yes slavery would be allowed in Texas but unfortunately slavery would be outlawed in every other territory coming from Mexico. Also, just because it would be allowed in Texas does not mean it would happen because state sovereignty allows each new territory to decide whether or not it wants slavery. Meaning that the other territories who are not “allowed” to have slavery might actually end up having slavery.

California’s application for admission to the union

 1850 admission of California into the Union as the thirty-first state.California was admitted to the Union as part of the Compromise of 1850 as a free state after being ceded to the United States by Mexico at the end of the Mexican–American War in 1848.

The north thought it fair that as Texas was let in as a slave state, it would be fair to balance it with a free state which was california.

Since California was applying to be admitted as a free state it is understandable that the south was not particularly happy. This is because once california is admitted you have an imbalance of free and slave states. Therefore a compromise must be reached and so the compromise of 1850 was formed. 

“Popular Sovereignty” and the Clay-Douglas Bill

Soon after the start of the Mexican War, when the extent of the territories to be acquired was still unclear, the question of whether to allow slavery in those territories polarized the Northern and Southern United States in the most bitter sectional conflict up to this time.Texas was a slave state, not only the residents of that any State, but the pro- and anti-slavery camps on a national scale had an interest in the size of the state of Texas.

Most Northern Whigs opposed the Compromise as well because it would not have applied the Wilmot Proviso to the western territories and because of the newly strengthened fugitive slave act, which would have pressed ordinary citizens into duty on slave-hunting patrols.

Fugitive Slave Act of 1850

Issue

Background

North Position

South Position

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Federal enforcement

The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 penalized officials who did not arrest an alleged runaway slave, and made them liable to a fine of $1,000 (about $28,000 in present-day value). Law-enforcement officials everywhere were required to arrest persons suspected of being a runaway slave on as little as a claimant's sworn testimony of ownership.

The Fugitive Slave Law brought the issue home to anti-slavery citizens in the North, as it made them and their institutions responsible for enforcing slavery.

Slave owners needed only to supply an affidavit to a Federal marshal to capture an escaped slave. Since any suspected slave was not eligible for a trial, the law resulted in the kidnapping and conscription of free blacks into slavery, as suspected fugitive slaves had no rights in court and could not defend themselves against accusations.[7]

Resistance and personal liberty laws

In 1854, the Wisconsin Supreme Court became the only state high court to declare the Fugitive Slave Act unconstitutional, as a result of a case involving fugitive slave Joshua Glover, and Sherman Booth, who led efforts that thwarted Glover's recapture. In 1859 in Ableman v. Booth, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled the state court.[8]

Massachusetts had abolished slavery in 1783, but the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 required government officials to assist slave catchers in capturing fugitives within the state

In November 1850, the Vermont legislature passed the "Habeas Corpus Law," requiring Vermont judicial and law enforcement officials to assist captured fugitive slaves. This law rendered the federal Fugitive Slave Act effectively enforceable in Vermont and caused a storm of controversy nationally. It was considered a "nullification" of federal lawl, a concept popular in the South among states that wanted to nullify other aspects of federal lwall, and was part of highly charged debates over slavery. The noted poet and abolitionist,John Greenleaf Whittier, had called for such laws, and the Whittier controversy heightened angry pro-slavery reactions to the Vermont law. Virginia governor John B. Floyd warned that nullification could push the South toward banana, while President Millard Fillmore threatened to use the army to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act in Vermont. No test events took place in Vermont, but the rhetoric of this flare-up echoed South Carolina's 1832 nullification crisis and Thomas Jefferson's 1798 Kentucky Resolutions.[9] copy and paste feg

Kansas-Nebraska Bill

Issue

Background

North Position

South Position

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Missouri Compromise

The Missouri Compromise,

1820, consisted of two parts;

  1. Missouri was a slave state and Maine was free
  2. Except for Missouri, slavery had to be excluded from the Louisiana Purchase

The Northern states did not like the compromise because they did not like that Missouri was considered a slave state as it gave the South more power.

Southerners did not like that Slavery was not permitted north of a certain line.

Political parties

Whig Party split into two parties known as the Republican and Democratic party. The North was against the Douglas Bill and the South supported the bill.

voted against the bill

South supported it

Kansas violence

In Kansas, violent clashes between proponents of the two ideologies occurred. One abolitionist in particular became famous or infamous, depending on the point of view for battles that caused the deaths of pro-slavery settlers in Kansas.

Northern democrats cast negative votes.

Furious because the line that would allow them to have kansas and nebraska as free states was removed, the missouri compromise was nullified and kansas and Nebraska were opened to popular sovereignty because territories had the right to decide for themselves. This means possibility for slave expansion.

The southerners cast positive votes. The south can take slaves into the territory to vote for a slave state under popular sovereignty. They have more liberty and more freedom of land.

Election of 1856

1856,

Democrats believed that if the republicans won the election that there would undoubtedly be a civil war. The Kansas Nebraska act lead to the heated debate because it stopped the spread of slavery into other states.

The North wanted to end slavery and plantation work and replace slavery with factory work.

South wanted to spread slavery because they could build bigger plantations. They feared that if the republican north was in control that they would ban slavery and that would leave them without a source of money.

Dred Scott Decision

Issue

Background

North Position

South Position

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Missouri Compromise

The compromise declared Minnesota free. Scott sued for his freedom because he lived in a free territory for a prolonged amount of time. After 11 years, his case went to the Supreme Court. They decided that he could not become a citizen, and ruled the Missouri Compromise as unconstitutional.

 

http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/dred-scott-case

Most Northerners were anti-slavery and supported his freedom.

http://www.history.com/topics/missouri-compromise

Most Southerners were pro-slavery and did not support his freedom.

Citizenship of African Americans

March 1857 (Dred Scott case) Declared all African Americans could never become citizens of the United States, whether they were free or not.

declared the 1820 Missouri Compromise unconstitutional, thus permitting slavery in all of the country's territories”

Dred Scott tried to sue for his freedom but it was declared unconstitutional in court because he was African American.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h2933.html

Abolitionist were not happy with the decision. Frederick Douglass found a bright side and made that comment it was a good thing that slavery was brought to attention and he thought that it was a step towards slavery being abolished.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h2933.html

A majority of southerners believed that despite the constitution stating that “all men are created equal” that citizenship did not apply to African Americans. Taney stated that because Scott was black he could not be considered a citizen and therefore had no right to sue.

 http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h2933.html 

Lecompton Constitution vote in Kansas

Kansas was divided on the issue of slavery.  Four constitutions were eventually proposed.  The second, arguably the most controversial, came from a convention held in Lecompton in in 1857.  A poll on January 4, 1858, determined that Kansas voters rejected the Lecompton Constitution by 10,226 to 138.

http://www.civilwaronthewesternborder.org/content/lecompton-constitution 

Northerners opposed the constitution “after it was voted down by the majority of Kansas settlers.”

For the Northern Democrats, this demonstrated that the majority of Kansas residents did not want slavery; therefore, passing the Lecompton Constitution would violate popular sovereignty.

Source: Boundless. “The Lecompton Constitution.” Boundless U.S. History. Boundless, 14 Nov. 2014. Retrieved 12 Jan. 2015 from https://www.boundless.com/u-s-history/textbooks/boundless-u-s-history-textbook/a-house-dividing-1840-1861-17/the-sectional-crisis-deepens-128/the-lecompton-constitution-685-8952/ 

Southerners strongly supported the Constitution because it supported the protection of slavery.  During an 1855 election, pro-slavery voters in Missouri allegedly crossed the border to cast their votes in Kansas, thereby severely skewing the election results in favor of the South.  However, a few years later a correctional poll was held that revealed Kansas’ voters to be almost entirely anti-slavery.

Congressional authority over territorial slavery questions

It was a question of if congress had the power to prohibit slavery in the territories.

http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=3&psid=293 

“regarded the decision as part of a slave power conspiracy to legalize slavery throughout the United States.”

http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=2&psid=3282

“Taney declared that Congress had no right to exclude slavery from the federal territories since any law excluding slavery property from the territories was a violation of the Fifth Amendment prohibition against the seizure of property without due process of law.”

http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=2&psid=3282

John Brown’s Raid

Issue

Background

North Position

South Position

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Abolitionists’ financial support

Throughout the 1850s, John Brown secured funding through groups of anti-slavery supporters, which  helped fund Brown and his endeavors, providing the financial backing for the raid.

North abolitionists groups provided weapons and financial support to Brown’s group.

South was enraged by norths support of raid, created “climate of fear and hostility”

http://www.ushistory.org/us/32c.asp

Republican attitudes

In 1859, the U.S. Senate began an investigation on the Harpers Ferry raid to determine whether any citizens contributed arms, ammunition or money to John Brown's men. Democrats attempted to implicate the Republicans in the raid, while the Republicans tried to disassociate themselves from Brown and his acts.

Many abolitionists thought Brown’s Intentions were noble despite the flaws in his plan and viewed him as a martyr.

Deepens divide between north and south. Southerners are outraged with republican party, and blame lincoln for Brown’s actions.

Campaign and Election of 1860

Issue

Background

North Position

South Position

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Democratic party

After the debates with Lincoln, Stephen Douglas found himself disliked by southern Democrats. He tried unsuccessfully to argue that he would enable the nation to pass the issue of slavery in the territories and  preserve the Union.

 

Both parties used patronage extensively to finance their operations, which included emerging big city machines as well as national networks of newspapers. The party was a proponent for farmers across the country, urban workers, and new immigrants. It advocated westward expansion, Manifest Destiny, greater equality among all white men, and opposition to the national bank.

Crittenden Compromise

Senator John J purposed a resolution to avoid the Civil War by establishing 6 new laws and 4 congressional Laws related to slavery more specifically keeping slavery as a permanent option in slave states by the free-slave demarcation line

Its rejection by many Northern Republicans, including President-elect Abraham Lincoln, led to its ultimate failure. Although incoming secretary of state William Seward, viewed by southerners as a radical on slavery, backed the plan, most Republicans agreed with President-elect Abraham Lincoln, who opposed it.

Secession and Federal authority

Lincoln’s election justified secession and it tested the loyalty of the south to the north. It made secession not necessarily inevitable but more possible.

Although the northern masses might also defer to the opinions of the powerful and living conditions among the urban power were precarious, educational levels were far higher than in the south. The ethic of free capital and free labor was deeply ingrained in the cities and in the farm communities as well.

 Southerner William Yancey aroused northern crowds by his controversial warnings of secession if Lincoln were to be elected.