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1850s: A Decade of Crisis. Chapter 18-19. Objective #1. Assess the extent to which the idea of Manifest Destiny affected politics within the United States as illustrated by the Compromise of 1850. Objective #2. Trace the increasing sectional hostility of the 1850s as a result of Slavery

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1850s: A Decade of Crisis

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1850s a decade of crisis

1850s: A Decade of Crisis

Chapter 18-19

Objective 1

Objective #1

  • Assess the extent to which the idea of Manifest Destiny affected politics within the United States as illustrated by the Compromise of 1850

Objective 2

Objective #2

  • Trace the increasing sectional hostility of the 1850s as a result of

    • Slavery

    • The Fugitive Slave Act

    • Kansas-Nebraska Act

    • “Bleeding Kansas”

    • Dred Scott v. Sanford

    • John Brown’s Raid

Objective 3

Objective #3

  • Trace the increasing sectional hostility of the 1850s, as a result of slavery, and the rise of the Republican Party and the election of 1860.

North south avoids compromises showdown on slavery

North-South Avoids/Compromises Showdown on Slavery

  • 1787: 3/5 and slave trade compromises

  • 1820: Missouri Compromise

  • 1833: Nullification

  • After war with Mexico: what do we do with the new territory?

The mexican cession

The Mexican Cession

Wilmot proviso

Wilmot Proviso

  • “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall ever exist” in the new territories.

    • Attached to an appropriations bill for funding the war with Mexico

  • Passed House, Failed in Senate

  • Debate by section, not party line

Did congress have the right to dictate slavery in states

Did Congress Have the Right to Dictate Slavery in States?

  • Precedent said yes

    • Northwest Ordinance

    • Missouri Compromise

John c calhoun s argument

John C. Calhoun’s Argument

  • Unconstitutional to prohibit slavery

  • Act of Congress cannot keep slaveholders from taking their property into territories (5th Amendment)

Election of 1848

Election of 1848

  • Dems: Lewis Cass

    • Dems official stance on slavery: silence

    • Cass: Popular Sovereignty

  • Whigs: Zachary Taylor

    • Taylor had never voted in an election

    • But was popular war hero

    • Silent on slavery (owned slaves)

  • Free-Soil: Martin Van Buren

Who were the free soilers

Who were the Free-Soilers?

  • Northerners

  • Did not trust Cass or Taylor

  • Supported Wilmot Proviso

  • Abolitionists

    • Keep western land free of blacks (slave and free) so that whites would not have to compete with them

    • “Free soil, free labor, and free men”

  • Nationalists who wanted federal money for internal improvements

  • Advocated free homesteads for farmers

  • Industrialists against Polk’s reduced tariff

  • A few Northern Whigs and Antislavery Democrats

Results of election of 1848

Results of Election of 1848

Issues taylor has to solve

Issues Taylor has to Solve

  • 1. California: Free or slave?

  • 2. Land from Mexico: Free or slave?

  • 3. Existence of slave trade in Washington D.C.

  • 4. Lack of enforcement of Fugitive Slave Act of 1793

    • Southern states meet in Oct., 1849 to discuss secession.

Compromise of 1850

Compromise of 1850

  • Written by Henry Clay

  • 1. California admitted as free state.

  • 2. New Mexico and Utah territories: popular sovereignty

  • 3. Texas given $10 million to pay off debts to Mexico.

  • 4. Fugitive Slave Law of 1850

  • 5. Slave trade ended in D.C. (but not slavery)

Taylor threatens veto

Taylor Threatens Veto

  • But, Taylor dies unexpectedly in 1850.

  • VP Millard Fillmore becomes President

  • Signed into law

  • Political parties continue to split sectionally

Fugitive slave law of 1850

Fugitive Slave Law of 1850

  • Required federal marshals to help slaveholders seize runaway slaves

  • Abolitionists: it encouraged kidnapping

  • Blacks could not testify on own behalf

  • Federal commissioners in charge of cases were paid more if they ruled person was a slave.

  • Many Northern states passed laws forbidding local officials from aiding

1850s a decade of crisis

Compromise of 1850

1850s a decade of crisis

HarrietBeecherStowe(1811 – 1896)

So this is the lady who started the Civil War. -- Abraham Lincoln

1850s a decade of crisis

Uncle Tom’s Cabin


  • Sold 300,000 copies inthe first year.

  • 2 million in a decade!

1852 presidential election

1852 Presidential Election

Franklin Pierce Gen. Winfield Scott John Parker Hale Democrat Whig Free Soil

Major party candidates

Major Party Candidates

  • Democrats (Pierce):

    • Pro-slavery Northerner (accepted by South)

    • Pro-territorial expansion (like Polk)

    • Endorsed the Compromise of 1850

  • Whigs (Scott):

    • War hero (of course)

    • Pro-Compromise of 1850

  • Problem for Whigs: More disorganized

    • Northerners did not like him for endorsing Fugitive Slave Act

    • Southerners did not like the Northerner.

1850s a decade of crisis

1852Election Results

Federal government in 1853

Federal Government in 1853

  • Executive Branch:

    • Pro-slavery Northern President (Democrat)

    • Majority of cabinet was from South (Democrat)

    • Veto Power

  • Legislative Branch:

    • North controls House (Democratic controlled)

    • North controls Senate (Democratic controlled)

  • Judicial Branch:

    • Majority of the justices were Southerners

  • Democrats in control

    Democrats in Control

    • Mandate for Manifest Destiny

    • 1853: Gadsden Purchase for southern railroad link to west coast for $10 million

    • South also interested in extending further south into Latin American lands

    Ostend manifesto 1854

    Ostend Manifesto (1854)

    • Pierce approved a secret meeting of American diplomats in Ostend, Belgium

      • Discussed buying Cuba for $120 million

      • South could potentially pass North in size and power

    • Northern free-soilers outraged

      • At same time Uncle Tom’s Cabin peaking

      • Pierce was forced to drop issue

    1850s a decade of crisis

    Commodore Matthew Perry Opens Up Japan: 1853

    • Followed Cushing’s treaty with China in 1844

      • First formal agreement between US and China

    • Perry arrives in Japan with warships

      • Gives Japanese gifts and asks for free trade

      • Returned in 1854 and received positive response

    Stephen douglas

    Stephen Douglas

    • Congressman from Illinois

    • Pro expansion

    • Pro popular sovereignty

    • Invested in railroads

    • Wanted to capture leadership of Democratic party

    Nebraska question

    Nebraska Question

    • Had to keep southern Democrats happy over slavery

    • Nebraska territory requests statehood

    • It is totally above 36 30 line

    • South wants Nebraska to be a slave state

    • He risks alienating South and ruining his chance to one day be President.

    Kansas nebraska act 1854

    Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854)

    • Split Nebraska into two territories (Kansas and Nebraska)

    • Both could decide by popular sovereignty

    • Assumption: One would be free, one would be slave

    • Endorsed by President Pierce

    1850s a decade of crisis

    Kansas-Nebraska Act, 1854

    Results of kansas nebraska act

    Results of Kansas-Nebraska Act

    • Re-opened question of slavery in territories

    • Split parties further

      • Killed Whig Party (sectional differences within party)

    • Split the Union

      • Most Northerners were against the destruction of Missouri Compromise

      • Will resist all future southern demands for slave territory

      • Refused to enforce Fugitive Slave Law

    • Bleeding Kansas (and later contributed to Civil War)

    Growing cities

    Growing Cities

    • Increased nativism: job competition, language differences, religion, lowering wages

    • Immigrants usually supported Democratic Party

    • Growing belief that immigrants were corrupting politics

    • American (Know-Nothing) saw little success as third party.

    • Birth of Republican Party

    1850s a decade of crisis

    Birth of the Republican Party, 1854

    • Northern Whigs.

    • Northern Democrats.

    • Free-Soilers.

    • Know-Nothings.

    • Other miscellaneous opponents of the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

    Republican platform

    Republican Platform

    • Would not interfere with slavery where it already existed

    • Did not support equal rights for blacks

    • Anti-Catholic

    • Pro-temperance

    • Pro-public school

    • End fugitive slave laws

    • Support middle class, small business, laborers, Northern farmers

    • Anti-Kansas Nebraska Act

    Problems with kansas

    Problems with Kansas

    • New England Emigrant Aid Society sent free-soilers to Kansas to vote

    • Missouri sent citizens to Kansas to vote in the election (more of them)

    • Election results: twice as many people voted than number of registered voters

    • Pro-slavery government was elected (Shawnee Mission)

    • Free-Soilers set up government in Topeka

    • Federal government did nothing to solve problem.

    1850s a decade of crisis

    “Bleeding Kansas”

    Border “Ruffians”(pro-slavery Missourians)

    Violence in kansas 1856

    Violence in Kansas (1856)

    • Pro-slavery supporters march on free-soil supported Lawrence (Sack of Lawrence)

    • John Brown and group of abolitionists hack five pro-slavery men in revenge two days later (Massacre of Pottawatomie Creek)

    1850s a decade of crisis

    “The Crime Against Kansas”

    Sen. Charles Sumner(R-MA)

    Congr. Preston Brooks(D-SC)

    1856 presidential election

    1856 Presidential Election

    √ James Buchanan John C. Frémont Millard Fillmore Democrat Republican Know-Nothing

    1850s a decade of crisis

    1856Election Results

    1857 call for new election in kansas

    1857: Call for New Election in Kansas

    • LeCompton Constitution offered by the pro-slavery government as a “compromise”

    • Only allowed people to vote on existing constitution with or without slavery

    • Constitution protected slavery where it already existed

    1857 election results

    1857 Election results

    • Only 2000 of 24,000 voters participated

    • Proslavery government elected

    • Free blacks barred from state

    • President James Buchanan endorsed it

    • Stephen Douglas opposed it: not true popular sovereignty

      • Persuaded Senate to reject constitution

      • Hurt his support in the South

    • Kept Kansas from becoming a state until 1861

      • Would become a free state when secessionists left Congress

    1850s a decade of crisis

    Dred Scott v. Sanford, 1857

    Dred scott case 1857

    Dred Scott Case (1857)

    • Slaves are property and cannot be taken without due process (5th Amendment)

      • Compromise of 1820 had been unconstitutional all along

      • Congress did not have power to ban slavery in the territories

    • Could not sue because he is not a citizen

    Panic of 1857

    Panic of 1857

    • Caused by:

      • Over-speculation of land

      • Flood of gold from California caused inflation

      • Problems in grain market

    • North hit worst

    • North favored higher tariff (industrialists) and cheaper land (farmers)

      • Homestead Act (1860): public land given to farmers for $.25 an acre (vetoed by Buchanan)

      • Republican party planks in 1860

    • King Cotton not impacted

      • South saw this as proof of economic superiority of cotton production

    1850s a decade of crisis

    The Lincoln-Douglas (Illinois Senate) Debates, 1858

    A House divided against itself, cannot stand.

    Lincoln douglas debates 1858

    Lincoln-Douglas Debates (1858)

    • S. Douglas (D)

      • Dodged slavery issue

      • Popular sovereignty

    • Believed to be the front-runner for presidential nomination in 1860.

    Lincoln douglas debates

    Lincoln-Douglas Debates

    • Abraham Lincoln (Re)

      • Anti-slavery but pro-Union first

      • Believed in political equality of blacks

    • Challenged Douglas to a series of debates

    Freeport doctrine

    Freeport Doctrine

    • Douglas stated that people in a territory could vote slavery down despite the Dred Scott decision

    • Upset South

    • Further splits Democratic party

    • Douglas wins election but damages his chances for being President

    1850s a decade of crisis

    John Brown’s Raidon Harper’s Ferry, 1859

    John brown s raid 1859

    John Brown’s Raid (1859)

    • Brown and 22 men raid the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry

    • Hoped to provoke slave uprising

    • Arrested and executed for treason

    • Madman or martyr?

    • Gap between North and South grows

    1860 presidential election


    √ Abraham LincolnRepublican

    John BellConstitutional Union

    Stephen A. DouglasNorthern Democrat

    John C. BreckinridgeSouthern Democrat

    Election of 1860

    Election of 1860

    • Democrats cannot decide on a candidate

      • North supports S. Douglas

      • South supports John Breckenridge (upset with Douglas over Freeport Doctrine)

    • Democrats split into Northern and Southern Democrats with two candidates

    • Constitutional Union Party: fourth party made up of some Democrats, Know-Northings and former Whigs

      • John Bell was their nominee

    Election of 18601

    Election of 1860

    • Republicans want to take advantage of the split

    • Run “moderate” Abraham Lincoln

    • Reduced attacks on slavery (except to come out against extension of slavery), avoided expansion and equal rights

    1850s a decade of crisis

    Republican Party Platform in 1860

    • Non-extension of slavery [for the Free-Soilers.

    • Protective tariff [for the No. Industrialists].

    • No abridgment of rights for immigrants [a disappointment for the “Know-Nothings”].

    • Government aid to build a Pacific RR [for the Northwest].

    • Internal improvements [for the West] at federal expense.

    • Free homesteads for the public domain [for farmers].

    1850s a decade of crisis

    1860 Election: 3 “Outs” & 1 ”Run!”

    1850s a decade of crisis

    1860 Election: A Nation Coming Apart?!

    1850s a decade of crisis




    Note: Lincoln did not appear on the ballot in 10 southern states

    Crittenden compromise

    Crittenden Compromise

    • Amendment to Constitution trying to save Union

      • Slavery prohibited North of 36 30 line

      • Future states could come into the Union with or without slavery

    • Not enough to save the Union

    1850s a decade of crisis

    Secession!: SC Dec. 20, 1860

    Confederate states of america

    Confederate States of America

    • Created in February, 1861

    • Jefferson Davis was elected President

      • President Buchanan did nothing

        • Needed his military (15,000 troops) to patrol Native Americans out west

        • Believed an attack would ruin any chance of reconciliation

    • Border states stay in the Union

    Ft sumter april 1861

    Ft. Sumter: April, 1861

    • Symbol of Union power in CSA

    • U.S. Major Robert Anderson requested supplies

      • Lincoln wants to avoid war--that means no troops or weapons

      • Lincoln also afraid borders states would leave

    • Lincoln sends supplies

    • CSA, led by PGT Beauregard attacks

    • USA surrenders at battle of Ft. Sumter

    1850s a decade of crisis

    Fort Sumter: April 12, 1861

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