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COMPROMISE and the Politics of Slavery

COMPROMISE and the Politics of Slavery

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COMPROMISE and the Politics of Slavery

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  1. COMPROMISEand the Politics of Slavery

  2. Need to Know • Theory of Nullification • Missouri Compromise • 36°30' proviso • Wilmot Proviso • The Compromise of 1850 • Fugitive Slave Act • The Kansas-Nebraska Act • Popular sovereignty • Dred Scott, 1857 • John Brown • Harper's Ferry • Lincoln-Douglas Debates • Whigs, Democrats and Republican Party

  3. Review • The northern economy was industrial • The southern economy was agrarian (based on agriculture) • These differences led to constant conflict over control of the government between the 2 regions. • Eventually, the issue would become whether new states should be admitted as free or slave states.

  4. State’s Rights and Nullification • Recall: tariffs were introduced to help the government make money to pay off debt; • Wealthy states, particularly those in the south, opposed the tariffs, as they had been able to pay off their debts and believed them to be a direct attack on their lifestyles (i.e. slavery)

  5. “By creating a national government with the authority to act directly upon individuals, by denying to the state many of the prerogatives that they formerly had, and by leaving open to the central government the possibility of claiming for itself many powers not explicitly assigned to it, the Constitution and Bill of Rights as finally ratified substantially increased the strength of the central government at the expense of the states” Prof. Richard E. Ellis from The Union at Risk. • 1828 tariff, the “Tariff of Abominations” began the schism between President Andrew Jackson and his Vice President John C. Calhoun • Calhoun, who at the beginning of his career in Congress was an ardent nationalist over time became a champion of states’ rights • Had ambitions to become president but needed the support of the South and his home state of South Carolina had been hit hard by the economic decline in the 1820s and the citizens blamed the protective tariffs for driving up prices of manufactured goods.

  6. also blamed the protective tariffs for threatening cotton prices by lowering American demand for British cotton cloth which was spun and woven from southern cotton. • Northerners however, like Daniel Webster from Massachusetts were for the tariff and protectionism (REMEMBER: most northerners were merchants, and industrialists)

  7. Calhoun's Response: Nullification • The theory of nullification was that since the Constitution was an agreement among the states to establish a central government, if an act of government exceeds the powers granted to it by the constitution, a state had the right to refuse to obey. - originally came up in late 1790s with various federal acts where southern states refused to adhere to laws like the Sedition Act deeming it unconstitutional. • The issue becomes if a state could nullify any federal law it considered unconstitutional, the power of the federal government would cease.

  8. Calhoun and others believed that the only constitutional tariff was one that raised money for the common national defence rather than one that favoured a section of society (namely the North) over another (namely the South) • Moreover, they believed that if this was true of tariffs, than what was to stop the government from meddling with slavery. • Jackson’s response to the pressure was: “ Our Federal Union: it must be preserved” • So, he distributed federal surplus revenue (mostly from the tariff duties) to the states; he tried to lower the sky-high tariffs; Congress passed a slight reduction in 1832. • Still, in that same year, a South Carolina convention nullified the tariff of 1828 and 1832 and forbade the collection of customs duties in that state. • By 1833, Jackson offered a Compromise Tariff of 1833, an olive branch peace offering. • He forced Calhoun to abandon the idea of nullification by declaring it treasonous. • This would become an issue once again, as since it was no longer an option, many Southern politicians decided that secession was the only way to preserve their traditional rights.

  9. The Politics of Slavery • The question of slavery dominated American politics throughout the first half of the 19th century – territorial expansion only contributed to this problem. • Between the 1820s and 1850s, federal politicians worked out a succession of political compromises to govern the slave trade and to decide in which new territories slavery would be legal.

  10. Between the 1820s and 1850s, the issue surrounding slavery was whether or not slavery should be permitted to be extended to new territories in the west, since several of these territories would eventually become states and have representation in Congress. • Northern abolitionists • argued that extending slavery would not only spread an evil institution over a wider area, but it would also give slaveholding states eventual control of Congress; • Southern slaveholders • argued that slavery should be allowed to expand westward, as they feared any weakening of their power in Congress and wanted to ensure a balance between free and slave states.

  11. The Missouri Compromise • In 1820, Missouri was going to be admitted to the Union; • At the time, there were 22 states in the Union – 11 were free, 11 were slave; • This meant each side had equal representation in the Senate; • Many settlers in Missouri were from the south, and therefore wanted it to be a slave state. Of course, the north objected. • If Missouri was admitted as a slave or free state, it would upset this balance. A compromise was needed. • At the same time Missouri was to be admitted, Maine was petitioning to become a state as well. • Due to its location, it was expected that Maine would be a free state.

  12. Missouri Territory carved from Louisiana Purchase • by 1819, 16% of the territories inhabitants were slaves • Three states born out of Louisiana Purchase already slave states which helped to balance out representation in Congress, 13 free states to 12 slave • Bill in HOR, February 1819 to admit Missouri as slave state but NY representative offered amendment prohibiting further introduction of slavers into the state and provided for emancipation after 25 years and of all slaves offspring born after Missouri joined the Union. • House accepted it, the Senate rejected it. • So, the MC became a series of congressional agreements to resolve the crisis

  13. The Missouri Compromise was proposed by Henry Clay, which admitted Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state; • Additionally, the 36°30' proviso was introduced, which meant that no more slave states would be permitted north of the Southern Missouri boundary; • The compromise was only a temporary solution; • It was difficult to enforce, since settlers – some with slaves – kept moving west.

  14. Slavery in the West • In 1846, some anti-slavery politicians looked to take the debate over slavery one step further by seeking to outlaw slavery in all the territory acquired from Mexico. • This was called the WILMOT PROVISO, and was passed by the House of Representatives but defeated by the Senate. • Southerners saw it as a direct attack on the future of slavery, causing serious political divisions between the North and South.

  15. The Compromise of 1850 • The Missouri Compromise was put to the test by the Texan War of Independence and the Californian gold rush; • These events introduced an influx of eastern settlers to the west and created several new territories; • Questions about where slavery would be allowed to expand and the influence of political leaders in the west led Daniel Webster (Mass.), John Calhoun (S.C.), and Henry Clay (Ken.) to create a new compromise to reflect the needs caused by expansion.

  16. Clay Webster Calhoun

  17. Components of the Compromise: • California was admitted as a free state; • Local populations in the other former Mexican territories of New Mexico and Utah would decide on whether or not to accept slavery – a concept called “popular sovereignty” • Both these provisions violated the Missouri Compromise • Texas lost the New Mexico territory, but received $10 million from the federal government for its loss – this was important as they had accumulated a huge debt fighting Mexico. • The slave trade in the District of Columbia was abolished (although slavery remained legal). • A new Fugitive Slave Actwas passed. • Made it the responsibility of the federal government to capture fugitive slaves and return them to their owners; • Imposed penalties on anyone who assisted slaves.

  18. Abolitionists were outraged with the Fugitive Slave Act • There was no statute of limitations, so even those who had been free for years were returned to their former masters. • Made the rift between the North and South even wider.

  19. 36º30

  20. Bleeding Kansas: the Kansas-Nebraska Act • In 1854, westward expansion once again created a new crisis. • Senator Stephen Douglas (Northern Democrat who opposed slavery and favoured popular sovereignty – let the people who settle there decide), proposed the organization of two new territories, Kansas and Nebraska. • These territories would stretch from the northern border of Texas, to the 49th parallel; • The reason for creating these new territories was for a midwestern transcontinental railroad; • Not a problem, until Douglas recommended the territories be allowed popular sovereignty (letting the people decide by vote) when deciding on the issue of slavery.

  21. Effectively, this act repealed the Missouri Compromise; • Douglas was criticized for conceding to the slave power of the South; • Inevitably, conflict ensued between supporters and opponents of slavery; • Pro-slavery settlers from Missouri (a slave state) conflicted with “free-soil” settlers from New England, who were determined not to accept slavery. • Weapons were sent to both sides; dozens of settlers were slaughtered • “Bleeding Kansas” foreshadowed what was to come.

  22. Lincoln and the Republican Party • At the time of the Kansas-Nebraska issue, there was a two party political system in existence – the Whigs and the Democrats; • These parties did not survive the slavery debate – members of the parties were divided over the issue. • Between 1854 and 1856, Northern Whigs and other abolitionists formed the Republican Party, dedicated to stopping the spread of slavery • Abraham Lincoln was a member of this party, although he was not an abolitionist himself. • Regarded slavery as a “monstrous injustice” and opposed the Fugitive Slave Act.

  23. Lincoln vs. Douglas • Lincoln challenged Stephen Douglas, for election as a senator for Illinois in 1858; • Douglas opposed slavery, but he did not advocate abolishing it in the South. • During a series of debates (the Lincoln-Douglas Debates), Lincoln argued that in order to preserve the Union, slavery had to be destroyed. • Though he lost the election, the debates established Lincoln as leader of the Republican Party and a determined opponent of slavery.

  24. Assignment • Read Ch. 14 Sections 1, 2 and 3 (pages 388 – 405) • Complete Reviewing Facts q. 1 – 8 on page 408. • Complete Understanding Concepts q. 1 – 4 on p. 408 • How did the cotton gin stimulate the South's economy and indirectly contribute to the institution of slavery? • Why would accepting the idea of popular sovereignty have been unacceptable to abolitionists? • What important consequence did the passage of the Kansas – Nebraska Act, 1854, have on the history of American political parties? • In 1790, there were 698000 slaves in the entire United States. By 1860, there were 3954000 slaves in the South alone. What reasons can you come up with to explain why political compromise over the slavery question would have been easier immediately following the American Revolution than during the 1850s?