Sectional Conflict Intensifies1848 - 1860 Leading up to the Civil War
Characterizing the Times • When the nation gained new territory, the slavery controversy intensified. • Would new states be slave or free? Who would decide? • States that allowed slavery were determined to prevent free states from gaining a majority in the Senate. • Political compromise broke down by 1860, and when Lincoln was elected president, many Southern states decided to secede.
The Impact Today • The political and social debates of this period continue to have influence. • Older sectional loyalties still define some regions of the country. • The modern Republican Party grew in part from opposition to slavery.
Impact of War With Mexico • The Mexican War opened vast new lands to American settlers. • This increase in land once again led to increased debate over whether slavery should be allowed to spread westward.
Impact of War With Mexico2 • As part of this debate, Southerners also wanted new laws to help them capture escaped African Americans • At first, President Polk did not think slavery would be an issue in the newly acquired territory.
Impact of War With Mexico3 • Polk thought the dry climate there would not support the kind of farming that made slavery profitable. • August 1846, Representative David Wilmot, a northern Democrat, proposed the Wilmot Proviso.
Wilmot Proviso • Said that in any territory the United States gained from Mexico, slavery would not exist. • Southerners were outraged by the Wilmot Proviso. • It passed in the House of Representatives, but the Senate refused to vote on it.
Popular Sovereignty • Senator Lewis Cass, Michigan, proposed a solution to the issue of slavery in the territories • The citizens of each new territory would decide whether or not slavery was permitted • Popular sovereignty appealed to many members of Congress
Popular Sovereignty2 • It removed the slavery issue from national politics • It also seemed democratic. • Abolitionists said African Americans still denied their right to be free
Popular Sovereignty3 • Midwesterners liked popular sovereignty; thought mostly Northern settlers would move to the new territory, so the states would be free. • In the end, this wasn’t the answer either.
The Whigs • The Whig Party in the North was split. • Northern Whigs who opposed slavery were known as Conscience Whigs • opposed Zachary Taylor; thought he wanted to expand slavery in west
Cotton Whigs • Northern Whigs who were linked to Northern cloth manufacturers and depended on Southern cotton for their factories were known as Cotton Whigs. • This group, along with the Southern Whigs, nominated Zachary Taylor.
Conscience Whigs • Conscience Whigs quit the Whig party because they did not want Taylor nominated. • They joined with antislavery Democrats from New York and the abolitionist Liberty Party to form the Free-Soil Party.
The Free Soil Party • This party opposed the spread of slavery into the western territories. • Not necessarily opposed to slavery on moral grounds • Slaves took jobs from white men
The Free Soil Party2 • Free-Soil candidate, Martin Van Buren, backed the Wilmot Proviso and took a strong stand against slavery in the territories
Presidential Candidates • There were three candidates in the election of 1848. • Zachary Taylor • Lewis Cass • Martin Van Buren
Presidential Candidates2 • Democrat Lewis Cass supported popular sovereignty. • Free-Soil candidate, Martin Van Buren supported Wilmot Proviso • Whig candidate, Zachary Taylor • avoided slavery issue • won
California • The discovery of gold in California brought thousands of new settlers to the territory • By the end of 1849, nearly 80,000 “Forty-Niners” had arrived in the territory in search of gold.
California2 • Needed a strong government to maintain order. • Applied for statehood as a free state. • Forced the nation to debate the issue of slavery once again.
Here’s the problem! • If California became a free state, the slaveholding states would become a minority in the Senate. • Southerners feared that losing power in national politics would lead to limits on slavery.
Is there an answer? • Some Southern politicians talked about secession–taking their states out of the Union. • Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky tried to find a compromise to the issue of slavery in the territories so that California could join the Union.
Henry Clay to the Rescue • He came up with eight plans to solve the crisis and save the Union. • The “Omnibus Bill” • Included admitting California as a free state • Bill causes lots of debate but no conclusion
Compromise of 1850 • Included concessionsby both the North and the South. • California admitted as free state; the rest of the Mexican Cession would have no restrictions on slavery.
More Compromise-1850 • The Texas/New Mexico border question was solved in favor of New Mexico, but the federal government took on Texas’s debts. • The slave trade was abolished in the District of Columbia, but not slavery.
More Compromise-18502 • Congress could not interfere with the domestic slave trade. • The federal government passed a new fugitive slave law.
Lots of Debate • The main Senate debaters • John Calhoun - defended the South’s rights • Daniel Webster - responded to Calhoun with a plea for compromise to save the Union.
Douglas Saves the Day • Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois divided the large compromise into several smaller bills. • Members of Congress had ability to vote for the parts they liked or vote against the parts they disliked.
But does it work? • The Compromise of 1850 was passed, but it did not contain a permanent solution to the slavery issue. • Doesn’t work, but it buys the US about 10 more years before Civil War breaks out.
The Fugitive Slave Act • New act part of Compromise of 1850 • An African American accused of being a runaway would be arrested and brought to a federal commissioner.
The Fugitive Slave Act2 • A sworn statement saying the captive was an escaped slave, or testimony by a white witness, was all a court needed to send the person south.
The Fugitive Slave Act3 • If accused of being fugitive • no rights to a trial • not allowed to testify • Anyone refusing to help capture a fugitive slave could be jailed • Judge got $10 if decided against slave; $5 if for slave
The Fugitive Slave Act4 • Newspaper accounts of seizure of African Americans and the law’s injustices made Northerners even more angry • It hurt the Southern cause by creating hostility among Northerners who previously were indifferent to slavery.
The Fugitive Slave Act5 • Frederick Douglass spoke out against the Fugitive Slave Act • because ordinary citizens forced to capture runaways • Activists encouraged people to disobey the Fugitive Slave Law on moral grounds.
The Fugitive Slave Act6 • Resistance to the act by Northerners got frequent, public, and often violent. • Whites and free African Americans helped runaway slaves through the Underground Railroad.
Underground Railroad • Members called “conductors” secretly transported runaways to freedom in the Northern states or Canada. • Gave the runaways food and shelter along the way • Harriet Tubman most famous conductor • a runaway slave herself
Uncle Tom’s Cabin • Harriet Beecher Stowe • Anti-Slavery novel • Published serially in a newspaper in 1851 • Published as a book 1852 • Increased partisan feeling over slavery & sectionalism
Uncle Tom’s Cabin2 • “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war.” • Abraham Lincoln • 1861
Transcontinental Railroad • The opening of Oregon and the admission of California to the Union convinced many Americans that a transcontinental railroad was needed to connect the West Coast to the rest of the country.
Transcontinental Railroad • Southerners wanted southern route, but the route would have to go through northern Mexico. • James Gadsden was sent by the U.S. government to buy the land from Mexico.
Gadsden Purchase • In 1853 Mexico agreed to accept $10 million for the territory known as the Gadsden Purchase. • This strip of land is today the southern part of Arizona and New Mexico
More on the Railroad • Democratic Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois wanted a northern route that began in Chicago for the transcontinental railroad. • Congress would need to organize the territory west of Missouri and Iowa
More on the Railroad2 • 1853: Senator Douglas prepared a bill to organize the Nebraska territory • Southern Senators refused to pass this bill unless: • Missouri Compromise repealed • slavery allowed in new territory
The Kansas-Nebraska Act • 1854 Illinois Senator Douglas • Bill organizing territories of Kansas and Nebraska • Repealing Missouri Compromise • Popular Sovereignty: Settlers could decide issue of slavery
Reaction • “The repeal of the Missouri Compromise aroused him as he had never been before.” • Abraham Lincoln • Republican Party • New anti-slavery party • 1856 ran John Frémont as president; narrowly lost
Lecompton Constitution • Fall 1857 • Kansas pro-slavery govt’s constitution • Applied for statehood • Rejected by “Free-Soilers” • Legislature called for referendum
Free Soil Alternative • Angry antislavery settlers held their own convention in Topeka, Kansas, and wrote their own constitution, excluding slavery.