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Renewing the Sectional Struggle. 1848 – 1854 “The South! The South! God knows what will become of her!” --John C. Calhoun. Impact of the Mexican Cession. Why are politicians avoiding the question of slavery? The Wilmot Proviso Supported in the North Opposed in the South

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renewing the sectional struggle

Renewing the Sectional Struggle

1848 – 1854

“The South! The South! God knows what will become of her!”

--John C. Calhoun

impact of the mexican cession
Impact of the Mexican Cession
  • Why are politicians avoiding the question of slavery?
  • The Wilmot Proviso
    • Supported in the North
    • Opposed in the South
  • Southern senators blocked the proviso
  • Threatened to:
    • disrupt the Whigs & the Democrats
    • split national politics along North & South sectional lines
  • Political parties represented national unity
    • Each enjoyed support in both the North & the South
the democratic party
The Democratic Party
  • Polk doesn’t seek reelection in 1848
  • What was his reasons?
  • Select General Lewis Cass
    • Senator & diplomat
    • Party was silent on the issue of slavery
    • Cass favored popular sovereignty – what is PS?
  • Popular sovereignty
    • Favored by politicians & public. Why?
    • However, could cause spread of slavery. How?
the whig party
The Whig Party
  • Selected Zachary Taylor
    • “Hero of Buena Vista”
    • Never held a political office nor voted
    • Owned slaves
  • Dodged all troublesome political issues – does this help or hurt him?
    • Emphasized virtues of candidate
free soil party
Free Soil Party
  • Candidate – Martin Van Buren
  • Started by antislavery men in the North
  • Platform – Supported:
    • Wilmot Proviso
    • Internal improvements
    • Free gov’t homesteads for settlers
  • Makeup
    • Industrialists unhappy with Polk’s tariff reduction
    • Democrats who resented Polk’s decision to settle for Oregon while insisting on all of Texas
    • Those who favored keeping blacks out of the territories
  • Why does the majority of the FSP oppose slavery in the new Western territories?
election of 1848
Election of 1848
  • Attacked personalities of candidates
  • Free Soil Party caused a split in the vote
  • Taylor (W) wins
gold in california
Gold in California
  • 1848 – gold was found // few got rich
  • “Gold fever” - many moved to CA (49ers)
    • Who made the most profits?
  • CA gov’t was not prepared for the number of people
    • Many newcomers were lawless men & virtueless women
    • Crime was a problem
  • Pres. Taylor secretly helped CA draft a constitution in 1849
    • Excluded slavery
    • CA bypassed the territorial stage
    • CALIFORNY SONG! 392
sectional balance
Sectional Balance
  • Balance in Congress
    • 15 free states & 15 slave states
    • CA would upset this balance. Why is this a problem?
  • CA would set a precedent for the other states out of the Mexican Cession
  • Texas – claimed territory east of Rio Grande and up to the 42° parallel (map page 405)
    • Threatened to fight if territory removed to make New Mexico
    • Could this have started the Civil War 10 years earlier?
  • DC – Southerners did not like the idea of banning slavery in the nation’s capitol
  • Fugitive Slave Act 1793
    • North was to return runaway slaves
    • What was wrong with this Act?
  • Underground Railroad
    • Informal chain of “stations” through which “passengers” were led by “conductors” into Canada
    • Harriet Tubman – most famous conductor / ex-slave
  • By 1850, push for a new fugitive slave law
    • 1850 – about 1000 runaway slaves out of 4 million
    • How do most slaves become free?
immortal trio of the south
“Immortal Trio” of the South
  • Problems arise when CA applies for statehood
  • Henry Clay – “Great Pacificator”
    • North & South should compromise
    • More feasible fugitive-slave act
  • John C. Calhoun – “Great Nullifier”
    • Leave slavery alone
    • Return runaway slaves
    • Give South minority rights
    • Restore political balance
      • Elect 2 presidents- one from the North & one from the South; both with veto power
      • Could this work?
Daniel Webster
    • Urged all reasonable concessions to the South
    • Fugitive-slave law
    • Seventh of March speech (1850) – helped turn the tide of the North toward compromise
deadlock on capitol hill
Deadlock on Capitol Hill
  • Northerners in Congress
    • More interested in purging & purifying the Union than patching & preserving it
  • William H. Seward
    • Strong antislaveryite
    • Against any concessions by the North
    • Believed that slavery was morally wrong- “higher law” than the Constitution
  • Pres. Taylor
    • Bent on vetoing any compromise by congress
    • Aroused by the threats of Texas to seize Santa Fe
compromise in the air
Compromise in the Air
  • 1850 – Pres. Taylor dies in office – bad cherries
  • Vice Pres. Millard Fillmore takes office
    • Gladly signed compromises proposed by Congress
  • “Fire-eaters” of the South wanted no compromise
  • the term Fire-Eaters refers to a group of extremist pro-slavery politicians from the South who urged the separation of southern states into a new nation, which became known as the Confederate States of America.
    • Southern extremists met & took strong positions on slavery & opposed compromise
      • Proved to be a dud
  • South does compromise with the North
  • Second Era of Good Feelings
    • Short lived
compromise of 1850
Concessions to North

CA admitted as a free state

Territory disputed by Texas & New Mexico to be given to New Mexico

Abolition of slave trade in DC- NOT SLAVERY

Concessions to South

Remainder of Mexican cession formed into the territories of New Mexico & Utah; slavery decided by popular sovereignty

Texas - $10 million from gov’t as compensation

More stringent Fugitive Slave Law

Which side gets the best deal? Make an argument!

Compromise of 1850
fugitive slave law 1850
Fugitive Slave Law 1850
  • “The Bloodhound Bill”
    • Strong opposition in the North
  • Fleeing slaves could not testify in their own behalf & were denied a jury trial
  • Commissioners who handled cases were paid double if slave was returned
  • Several states passed “personal liberty laws” that hampered enforcement
  • Angered the South that the North would not enforce the law
  • Will this new law make Northerners more or less appreciative of the South and slavery altogether? Why?
election of 1852
Election of 1852
  • Democrat – Franklin Pierce (dark-horse candidate)
    • Prosouthern northerner – accepted by the slave wing
    • Platform – finality of the Compromise of 1850 including Fugitive Slave Act
  • Whigs – Winfield Scott (war hero)
    • Endorsed the Fugitive Slave Act
    • Whigs were split
      • Antislavery Whigs of the North – liked Scott but deplored his platform
      • Southern Whigs – liked the platform but not the candidate
      • Georgia Whigs – voted in vain for Webster who died 2 weeks earlier
  • Pierce won the election in a landslide
defeat doom for the whigs
Defeat & Doom for the Whigs
  • Scott was stabbed in the back by this party
    • particularly the South
  • Election of 1852
    • Marked the end of the Whig Party within a few years
    • Won only 2 presidential elections (1840 & 1848)
    • End of national parties
    • Marked the rise of purely sectional political alignments
    • Choked to death trying to swallow the distasteful Fugitive Slave Law
    • Clay & Webster both died during election
president pierce
President Pierce
  • Cabinet contained aggressive Southerners
    • Jefferson Davis – Sec of War
    • Why is he known as the “fainting general”?
  • Ready to acquire more slave territory
    • Manifest Destiny - stimulated by Mexican War
    • Interest in Central America
      • Especially Panama & Nicaragua
      • Possible canal route
    • Compromise of 1850 seemed to have closed off the Mexican Cession to slavery
      • Forced to look for slave land elsewhere
  • William Walker – “gray-eyed man of destiny”
    • Supported by the South
    • Took control of Nicaragua with his buddies & installed himself as president in 1856
    • Promptly legalized slavery
  • Overthrown by a coalition of Central American countries
    • Pres. Pierce withdrew diplomatic recognition
    • Walker was killed in by a Honduran firing squad1860
clayton bulwer treaty
Clayton – Bulwer Treaty
  • British were also interested in Nicaragua
    • Possible canal
    • Challenge to the Monroe Doctrine
      • Raised the possibility of armed conflict
  • Clayton – Bulwer Treaty – 1850
    • Neither American nor Britain would fortify or secure exclusive control over any future isthmian waterway
    • Necessary to halt the British – will hinder the US in the future
asian trade
Asian Trade
  • America had become a Pacific Power
  • Wanted trade with Far East
    • Already had contacts with China
  • Japan
    • Had been isolated for over 200 years
    • 1853 - ready to open -mainly because of the Russian menace
  • Commander Matthew C. Perry
    • Persuaded the Japanese to sign treaty in 1854
    • Commercial foot in the door
cuba the pearl of the antilles
Cuba: The Pearl of the Antilles
  • Sugar-rich island
    • prime objective of Manifest Destiny
    • 1850s – coveted by the South - most desirable slave territory available
    • Would restore political balance
  • Polk had offered $100 million
    • Offer refused by Spain
  • 1850 –1851- Two filibustering expeditions
    • Both efforts were repelled
problems with cuba
Problems with Cuba
  • 1854 – Spanish seized American streamer Black Warrior
  • European powers were entering the Crimean War
  • US plots to take Cuba
    • American ministers from Spain, England, & France met in Ostend, Belgium to make secret plans
    • Ostend Manifesto - 1854
      • Offer $120 million
      • If refused, US would be justified in taking the island
    • Word got out – Pres Pierce was forced to drop plans
  • North wanted Canada/ South wanted Cuba
    • Neither was accomplished
pacific railroad promoters
Pacific Railroad Promoters
  • Transportation problems
    • Oregon & CA were separated from the remainder of the states
  • Solution: transcontinental railroad
  • North & South wanted railroad for economic reasons
gadsden purchase map p 415
Gadsden Purchase map p. 415
  • 1853 – Sec of War – J. Davis had James Gadsden (SC) appointed minister to Mexico
    • Gadsden offered Mexico $10 million for land
      • Size of SC
  • Purchase allowed South the claim the railroad
    • Smaller mountains & track completely through organized territory
  • North – Nebraska should be organized
kansas nebraska act
Kansas-Nebraska Act
  • 1854 – Stephen A. Douglas
    • Supportive of the West
    • Proposed the K-N Act
  • Nebraska Territory would be split
    • Nebraska territory & Kansas territory
    • Slavery decided based on popular sovereignty
      • Kansas – probably slave/ Nebraska – probably free
  • Violation of the Compromise of 1820
    • No slavery above 36°30’ line excluding Missouri
results of the kansas nebraska act
Results of the Kansas-Nebraska Act
  • One of the most momentous measures ever passed by Congress
  • Repeal of the compromises of 1820 & 1850
    • Made future compromises impossible
    • North refused to enforce Fugitive Slave Act
  • Shattered the Democratic Party
  • Birth of the Republican Party as a purely sectional party
    • Middle West/ antislavery
    • Disgruntled Whigs, Democrats, Free-Soilers, Know-Nothings, & other foes of the Kansas-Nebraska Act