Compromises Fail and the Coming of War
The conflict between the North and South would eventually spread west. Westward expansion caused problems, and the solutions to these problems only caused more problems.
Compromises only offered temporary solutions. Eventually, compromises would not be enough.
Westward expansion threatened to upset the balance between free and slave states and moved the nation closer to civil war.
Free States Slave States
By 1819, the United States consisted of 11 “free states,” which prohibited slavery, and 11 “slave states,” which permitted slavery.
As the United States grew, it became stronger, but it also caused disagreements over the extension of slavery.
However, in 1817, Missouri, where slavery was allowed, asked to join the Union (United States).
Northerners did not want to add a slave state. They wanted to keep things balanced. But how?
A solution to the problem presented itself when Maine, a state that prohibited slavery, also asked to join the Union.
The Missouri Compromise
It is also revealed how much the sectional rivalry divided the Union.
The Missouri Compromise of 1820 settled the differences between North and South…For a short time.
Soon, the United States would add new territory as a result of its victory in the Mexican-American War.
Slavery became an issue again.
North and South were already clashing over California, which was ready to become a state.
Southerners feared losing power.
They threatened to secede (leave) from the nation if California was made a free state.
Northerners argued that California should be a free state because most of its territory lay north of the Missouri Compromise.
Congress passed the Compromise of 1850, a series of laws meant to solve the controversy over slavery.
The balance of power remained unchanged.
The Compromise of 1850
The Fugitive Slave Act was the most controversial part of the Compromise of 1850.
Suspects had NO rights to a trial.
Northern citizens were REQUIRED to help capture accused runaways.
The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 allowed officials to arrest ANYONE accused of being a runaway slave.
An Indiana man was separated from his wife and children when a slave owner claimed he had escaped 19 years ago.
A wealthy tailor was seized, but his friends in New York
quickly raised money to free him.
All it did was convince more
northerners that slavery was evil.
Northerners began to resist the law.
Stowe’s novel provoked strong reactions from people on both sides of the slavery issue.
Many northerners were shocked and began to view slavery as a serious moral
problem rather than a political issue.
Many white southerners said it was propaganda,misleading information
meant to further a cause.
Harriet Beecher Stowe, the daughter of an abolitionist minister, was deeply affected by the Fugitive Slave Law.
In 1853, she published the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, about an enslaved man who is abused by his cruel owner.
It will become an overnight best-seller, be printed in numerous languages, and outsell any other book, including the Bible.
The debate over slavery continued with the Kansas and Nebraska territories. Southerners refused to admit the territories because they lay above the Missouri Compromise line.
In 1854, Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas proposed letting the people in each state or territory decide whether to allow slavery - “popular sovereignty.”
The violence was so bad that it earned Kansas the name Bleeding Kansas.
Violence broke out.
Bands of fighters began roaming the territory, terrorizing those who did not support their views.
Thousands of proslavery and antislavery settlers immediately poured into Kansas.
A slave named Dred Scott sued for his freedom.
Scott had lived with his owner in the slave state Virginia.
His owner moved to Missouri, a slave state, bringing Scott with him.
In 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court made a landmark decision that increased tensions even more.
Scott argued that this meant he was a free man.
Then he moved to Illinois, then Wisconsin, then Minnesota Territory. ALL PLACES WHERE SLAVERY WAS ILLEGAL.
Chief Justice Roger B. Taney wrote the decision in the Scott case.
Dred Scott Decision
• Living in a free state did not make Scott free.
• Slaves are property protected by the U.S. Constitution, and therefore cannot be taken away from a person without due process
• Scott could not sue because he was a slave and, therefore, not a U.S. citizen.
Southerners rejoiced because slavery was now legal in all territories.
Both northerners and southerners were shocked by the court’s decision.
Northerners had hoped slavery would die out. They now feared it would spread throughout the West.
Justice Taney also ruled that Congress did not have the power to prohibit slavery in any territory. In an instant, slavery could now exist ANYWHERE.
Many leaders spoke out against the ruling.
• Frederick Douglass hoped the outrage against the decision would fuel the abolition movement.
• Abraham Lincoln, an Illinois lawyer, argued against the idea that African Americans could not be citizens.
Now, his opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act drew him back to the world of politics.
He ran for the Senate from Illinois but lost.
However, his defeat helped Lincoln become a national figure.
Two years later, he would run again – for President of the United States.
In 1859, John Brown raised a group of followers to help him free slaves in the South.
The plan failed, Brown was arrested and found guilty of murder and treason, and he was hanged in 1859.
They attacked the town of Harper’s Ferry, Virginia.
They seized guns and planned to start a slave revolt.
Northerners and Southerners reacted differently to Brown’s sentence.
Northerners praised Brown’s attempt. They mourned his death and believed he was a hero and a martyr.
Southerners saw Brown as proof that the North was out to destroy their way of life.
The continuing tensions over slavery drove the North and the South into talks of breaking up the United States.
The crisis over slavery deepened as the country approached the 1860 presidential election.
Could a new president bring the
country back together?
Abraham Lincoln took a stand against slavery but would it be enough to make him President?
Southerners began to feel they no longer had a voice in the national government. Some southern states thought about seceding.
Republicans Abraham Lincoln criticized slavery
Northern Democrats Stephen Douglas favored individual states decide slavery
Southern Democrats John Breckinridge supported slavery in the territories
Constitutional Union Party
John Bell promised to protect slavery & keep nation together
In total, four candidates ran for president in 1860.
The outcome of the election showed just how fragmented the nation had become:
Abraham Lincoln received enough electoral votes to win the election.
South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union. Six other southern states
Feeling they had no other choice, southern states formed the Confederate States of America.
By March, the Confederacy had adopted a constitution. Former Senator Jefferson Davis was named president.
Southerners felt that the President and Congress were now set against their interests—especially slavery.
When President Lincoln was inaugurated on March 4, 1861, the nation faced the greatest crisis in its history.
Lincoln told the seceded states he would not “interfere… with slavery where it exists.”
Lincoln encouraged the Confederacy to return to the union.
The Confederate states responded by taking over federal property within their borders.
The commander at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, had refused to surrender to the Confederates.
On April 12, 1861, Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter.
The U.S. troops surrendered the next day.
Even though many people in the North and South believed that war was unavoidable, no one was prepared for the terrible war that would last for the next four years.
The Confederate attack on Fort Sumter marked the beginning The Civil War
Frustrated southern states formed the Confederate States of America.