The Lure of the West. 10.1. Free Labor Vs. Slave Labor. Westward expansion revived the issue of slavery’s expansion With the exception of a small group of abolitionists most whites held thoroughly ingrained racists beliefs that people of African descent were not their equals
The Lure of the West 10.1
Free Labor Vs. Slave Labor • Westward expansion revived the issue of slavery’s expansion • With the exception of a small group of abolitionists most whites held thoroughly ingrained racists beliefs that people of African descent were not their equals • However, those same people disagreed whether or not slavery should expand to the west
Free vs. Slave labor • Most whites that believed slavery should not expand did so because they feared the competition of slave labor with their own opportunities in the west • They supported free labor- free men and women working to earn a living, rather than slave labor • If slavery spread west it would restrict or even destroy opportunities for poor whites to work there
Free vs. Slave Labor • The Wilmot Proviso was a proposed law that attempted to prohibit slavery in the new lands acquired from Mexico in the Mexican-American War (1846) • The Free-Soil Party was formed that opposed slavery’s expansion on the basis that black people would were unworthy to settle in these new lands • They were hostile to African Americans, yet did oppose slavery’s growth and had abolitionist members among them
California and the Compromise of 1850 • Gold was discovered in California in 1849 which sent thousands of Forty-Niners west to seek wealth • The gold rush attracted African Americans, Asians and Europeans to California this dramatically increased the population there and led to its’ consideration for statehood • California became admitted as a free state but, as a compromise a stronger fugitive slave code was added to federal law
Assignment • 1. What did “free labor” mean to Americans in the 19th century? • 2. Why was the expansion of slavery such a divisive issue? • 3. Why would white southerners oppose the Wilmot Proviso? • 4. What was the Free Soil Party? Why did some abolitionists support this group? • 5. What compromise was reached over the admittance of California to the Union?