The Civil War Essay Research Paper CIVIL — страница 7

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slavery, ?slavery as a cause of the civil war? tutorial. One can conclude that though slavery was not the sole cause of the civil war, the issue of slavery was both an important factor in the sectionalism, which was one of the reasons for the war, and it symbolized and disguised many other differences between the north and the south. Political Causes Ever since the federal convention in 1787, there had been a tacit political balance between the 2 great sections along the old Mason-Dixon line and the Ohio River, which divided the slave holding states and territories from which slavery was abolished and in the process of extension. Ever since the birth of the nation, a series of compromises had held the 2 sections together. At the time of framing of the constitution, the conflict

was settled by deciding the percent of representation to the House of Representatives and accordingly only three-fifths of the black population would be taken into account and the senate would have equal representation from all the states irrespective of size of population. This system worked well so long as the number of free and slave states remained equal but at the close of 1819, when the territories of Missouri and Maine applied for statehood, tension between the 2 sections mounted again on the grounds of whether they should be admitted as free or slave states which was resolved by the Missouri compromise of 1820. By the late 1840s, the sectional conflict was beginning to affect national political parties. The Whig party was split into those who opposed slavery openly and

those who supported it because of their trade with the southern planters and the latter had powerful backing from the south. The democrat party was becoming more and more an instrument of the south. The northern democrats became resentful of the pro-south leaning of the party and this led too their joining with the abolitionist Whigs to form the Republican Party in 1854. The problem of slavery in the new territories was reopened in 1848 when Oregon, California, new Mexico and Utah needed to be admitted to the union. The Missouri compromise was unacceptable to the both the northern and southern extremists. This issue was avoided in the election of 1848 when the Whig party?s Zachary Taylor was elected as president. The emergence of the free soiler party, which polled enough votes

to ruin the chances of the Democratic Party, is important in this election. The question of admitting California and New Mexico had to be resolved but the situation became more difficult when California adopted a constitution in 1849 by which it became a free state and in 1850, the people of New Mexico did the same. Henry clay tried to introduce a compromise which would solve the above problem as well as the problem of slavery in Washington D.C., the boundary between Texas and new Mexico, the war expenditure of Texas which was not being assumed by the government and the personal liberty law and how it was to be applied to the fugitive slaves. Clays compromise was greatly discussed and debated and finally accepted in 1850 with many concessions to the south. California was admitted

as a free stat, New Mexico was organized as a territory when Texas relinquished control over it in return for $3 million as the war debt. Utah was organized as a territory. Slave trade in Washington D.C. was abolished and in return the north had to enact a stringent fugitive slave act by which a Negro accused of being a fugitive was denied his day in court and his status was to be determined by a united states judge or a circuit court commissioner who would usually be bribed. Federal marshals had to do their best to catch fugitive slaves and any citizen who helped a fugitive would be heavily penalized. Though this compromise solved the immediate problems of the nation, it did not stem the crisis of secession of 1860. The transcontinental railroad problem was another issue, which

showed the sectionalism rife in the United States. There was a widespread desire for sectional harmony after the Missouri compromise of 1820 and this was evident in the election of 1852. The democrats reaffirmed the compromise and nominated a dark horse, Franklin pierce of New Hampshire to break a deadlock over the selection of leaders. The Whigs were weaker in the defense of the compromise in comparison and lost when they nominated Winfield Scott. The decline in the anti-slavery feeling was obvious when the free soil party?s votes dropped dramatically from their maiden election of 1848. Nicaragua and Honduras- the pierce administration of 1853-1857 pursued an aggressive and expansionist foreign policy, which was mainly for the benefit of the south. Southerners were very