Politics and the Causes of the Civil War. Introduction. Begin to see political division before the United States is formed as a nation
Begin to see political division before the United States is formed as a nation
From the Declaration of Independence through the firing on Fort Sumter, North and South struggled to make compromises that would strengthen the bond between the regions.
North looked at slavery as a “peculiar institution” that did not jive with founding documents. South viewed slavery as a significant part of their heritage and culture
Declaration of Independence
Northwest Ordinance of 1787
The United States Constitution
1. Free Soilers
2. Know Nothings – American Party
Expansion of the borders further than the Louisiana Purchase caused sectional issues because the question of slavery in the territories
Independent nation in 1836
Wanted to be annexed by US
They were a slaveholding nation (mostly Americans)
North didn’t want them
Andrew Jackson did not want to upset the Mexican government
The 1844 election of James Polk
John Tyler annexed Texas in 1845
Texas was the 28th state and 15th slave state – upset balance of power
Polk wanted to acquire the California and Oregon territories
He negotiated with the British to get the Pacific Northwest
He went to war with Mexico to get California and the Southwest
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ceded California territory (modern day SW United States)
Will the new territory acquired from the treaty be slave or free?
Why doesn’t Missouri Compromise apply?
Slavery would not be permitted in any territory acquired from the Mexican-American War.
Southerners were not happy about this
1849 - Gold Rush
California reached its population quota to apply for statehood
California applied as a free state
Southerners did not support
Henry Clay and Daniel Webster came up with a solution
Admit California as a free state
Texas/New Mexico border dispute
Federal government forgave $10 million of Texas debt
New Mexico gets territory in question
New Mexico and Utah formed into federal territories - popular sovereignty
Slave Trade would be abolished in the District of Columbia
Strengthen the Fugitive Slave Act
Placed burden of proof on the African-American to prove his/her freedom
Provided federal funds for the effort
Created harsh punishments for whites who aided escaped slaves
$1000 fine, 6 months in jail
It is debated in Congress
Salmon Chase and William Seward
Congress voted it down
Stephan Douglas tried to push it through as five separate pieces of legislation and all five pass
Taylor had died, Fillmore supported the bill
Civil War is averted for now
Fugitive Slave law breaks down
South’s big win from Compromise
Interfered with slave catchers
Tried to nullify the Fugitive Slave Act
Sympathy for African Americans in courtrooms
North was out to get them in their eyes
Stephan Douglas (Illinois) proposed
wanted to be President – win southern votes
owned great deal of Chicago real estate
His idea: divide Nebraska territory into two territories and let Popular Sovereignty determine free/slave issue
Douglas has influence in the Senate and is able to win support for this.
It functionally shuts down the Missouri Compromise.
Leads to Bleeding Kansas
Pro-slave and free-soilers immigrate to Kansas
New England Aid Society
Missouri border ruffians
Fierce struggle between the Lecompton Government (pro-slavery) and the Topeka Free Government
Tremendous amount of vigilantism and bloodshed
Sack of Lawrence
Bleeding Kansas proved that popular sovereignty is not working in Kansas
Spring 1856: Senator Charles Sumner (Mass)
Incendiary remarks against Southerners; targeted Andrew Butler (SC)
Preston Brooks – Southern Rep in the House
Comes to Senate and beats Sumner unconscious with a cane on the Senate floor.
Traumatic event and engages the national press
Northerners argued that this is the type of violence that is produced from slavery
This attitude makes it difficult to come to an agreement on sectional issues.
Slave of a military physician (John Emerson) - Missouri.
In 1834 - moved to Illinois and territory of Wisconsin.
In 1838, Scott returns to Missouri, resides with is owner until the owner dies
Since slavery was illegal in territories north of the 36/30 parallel, sues in Missouri courts
Missouri lower court (St. Louis County) ruled in his favor - 1850
Missouri State Supreme Court overturned the decision - 1852
Elevated to the Federal Supreme Court in 1856
Southern Justices dominated the Supreme Court (5-4). Ruled 6-3 against Scott.
Roger Taney (pronounced Tawney) Chief Justice said,
Slaves don’t have a right to sue in a federal court
Applied the full faith and credit clause
Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional because only states had the right to determine whether they want to be free or slave.
Slave holders could in theory go anywhere they want in territories with their property (slaves)
The decision makes the slavery issue worse
This is a blow to northern democratic supporters of popular sovereignty
Southerners supported this decision but are upset with Northern reaction
Religious fundamentalist and Abolitionist
Believed that he had to do the work of God
His mission was to eliminate slavery.
He separated God’s law and the United States law
Spoke in New England
He raised money from Abolitionists
Developed plan to raid the South
Would cause a general uprising of slaves.
Eventually that would lead to a war that would eliminate slavery
Oct 16th-18th at Harpers Ferry ,Va (now West Va)
He recruited a 21 armed men and captured the federal arsenal hoping to incite a slave rebellion
Virginia militia with some United States Marines (under Col. R.E. Lee) retake the armory wounding & killing several of Brown’s men. Brown is captured
The slave uprising he had hoped for never happened
Most northerners saw this as the act of a madman
The south feared that this was the first of many attacks
What happened to Brown?
Tried for treason and murder under Virginia State laws, not federal laws
He was treated as a sane, deadly serious threat to the south and a murderer.
Convicted and scheduled to be hung on Dec. 2nd 1859.
It was widely covered by the press
He rejected all attempts to free him, commute his sentence, or pardon him.
Brown was martyred by abolitionists in the north
Ralph Waldo Emerson said “John Brown will make the gallows as glorious as Jesus made the Cross.”
On the day of his execution, church bells tolled, cannons fired, sermons were preached
Sees his actions as treasonist
One Southern Journal said “The North has sanctioned and applauded theft, murder and treason in the body of John Brown
South felt they were under siege from the North
It further separated the two sections of the country
This split the democratic party along sectional lines