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From Compromise to Secession

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1 From Compromise to Secession 1850-1861
Chapter 14 From Compromise to Secession

2 Introduction The decade of the 1850’s opened with a compromise that was supposed to settle sectional differences; but it quickly came undone Instead the 1850’s, lurched from one sectional crisis to the next The most devastating of those occurred on October 16, 1859 WV John Brown article

3 Introduction (cont.) John Brown and 18 followers seized the federal arsenal and armory at Harpers Ferry They intended to arm southern white and black dissidents in a holy war against slavery Brown’s failed raid convinced southerners that they had barely survived a northern plot to get them all murdered in a slave insurrection Northerners, while initially disavowing Brown, came, during his trial, to sympathize with him The whole incident set the stage for civil war

4 Introduction (cont.) 1.) How did the Fugitive Slave Act lead to the undoing of the Compromise of 1850? 2.) Why did the Whig Party collapse after the Kansas-Nebraska Act while the Democratic Party survived? 3.) How did the Republican doctrine of free soil unify northerners against the South? 4.) Why did southerners conclude that the North was bent on extinguishing slavery in the southern states?

5 The Compromise of 1850 Introduction
When the treaty ending the Mexican War was signed in 1848, a delicate balance existed between free and slave states 15 of each All the proposed solutions for handling slavery in the Mexican cession were controversial Whether to prohibit it Open the whole area to slaveholders Extend the Missouri Compromise line to the Pacific Or apply popular sovereignty Other issues also divided the North and South CA and UT asked Congress for admission to the Union as free states

6 Zachary Taylor at the Helm
President Taylor had encouraged CA to make the request for statehood as a free state. Believing that the majority of its residents opposed slavery, he urged Congress to welcome it into the Union as a free state. Southerners were horrified at the prospect of losing the balance of power in the Senate by admitting CA and perhaps next NM as free states In protest, 9 southern states sent delegates to a southern convention at Nashville

7 Henry Clay Proposes a Compromise
Senator Clay proposed a compromise to settle the territorial problem and other sectional controversies 1.) Admit CA as a free state 2.) Divide the rest of the Mexican cession into NM and UT territories, with the future of slavery in each left up to its residents 3.) Settle the border dispute between TX and NM in NM’s favor 4.) Compensate TX by having the federal govt. pay off the state’s past public debt

8 Henry Clay Proposes a Compromise (cont.)
5.) Allow slavery to continue in Washington D.C. but ban slave trading there 6.) Pass and enforce a tough new fugitive slave law After heated debate and much maneuvering, the compromise passed

9 Assessing the Compromise
The Compromise of 1850 did not settle the underlying differences between the sections The one clear advantage that the South gained, the passage of the stringent Fugitive Slave Act, backfired

10 Enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act
The law was blatantly stacked against black people and sent federal marshals all over the country looking for runaways This aroused widespread opposition in the North Northern mobs attacked marshals to rescue arrested fugitives Vigilance committees helped runaways escape to Canada 9 states passed personal liberty laws designed to interfere with enforcement of the Act Whereas the Act embittered northerners against the South, southerners resented the North’s refusal to live up to the terms of the Compromise

11 Uncle Tom’s Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe
By 1853, 1.2 million copies had been sold Aroused many antisouthern feelings and sympathy for slaves

12 The election of 1852 The Whigs=General Winfield Scott
War hero Democrats=Franklin Pierce The Democrats rallied behind the Compromise of 1850 and popular sovereignty in the territories Whigs were torn apart into northern Whigs and southern Whigs over the sectional controversy

13 The election of 1852 (cont.)

14 The Collapse of the Second Party System, 1853-1856
Introduction During Pierce’s administration the 2nd party system (Whigs vs. Democrats) collapsed In the 1850’s, the issues (banking, internal improvements, tariffs, and temperance) that had been the main focus of partisan politics were pushed from center stage New debate was over slavery’s extension The Whig Party was internally divided over the issue Disintegrated when Stephan A. Douglas’s Kansas-Nebraska bill threw the future of slavery in the territories wide open

15 The Kansas-Nebraska Act
Passage of this act in 1854 dealt a shattering blow to the second party system It also renewed the sectional strife that Clay’s compromise had aimed to quiet Stephen A. Douglas was eager to advance the settlement of Kansas and Nebraska and to promote the building of a transcontinental railroad through the area

16 The Kansas-Nebraska Act (cont.)
To accomplish these goals, he needed to organize a territorial govt. for the region But he was running into southern opposition because the area was north of the Missouri Compromise line and would therefore be free To gain southern support, Douglas introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Bill

17 The Kansas-Nebraska Act (cont.)
It repealed the Missouri Compromise Organized the 2 territories Left the question of slavery in both KS and NE up to popular sovereignty That gave the South a chance to gain at least KS for the “peculiar institution

18 The Kansas-Nebraska Act (cont.)
History U.S. News--actual document

19 The Surge of Free-Soil Douglas was surprised at the angry reaction in the North Many regarded the law as part of an atrocious southern plot to spread slavery into KS, the rest of the LA Territory, and even into the North Free-soil sentiment had grown tremendously in the North Not primarily because of sympathy for black slaves Many free-soilers were racists But because northerners wanted the territories to be the place where upwardly mobile, enterprising, poor Americans could become independent, self-employed farmers and businessmen

20 The Surge of Free-Soil (cont.)
If slavery invaded the territories, it would discourage and drive out free labor

21 The Ebbing of Manifest Destiny
Enthusiasm for expansion waned in the free states northerners saw in each southern move to acquire territory a plot to gain additional slave states This northern attitude became so pronounced that Pres. Pierce had to repudiated southern-backed plans to buy or seize Cuba

22 The Whigs Disintegrate 1854-1855
Southern Whigs had joined Democrats in voting for the KS-NE Act Northern “conscience” Whigs, led by Senator William Seward, and free-soil Democrats reacted angrily against both of the major parties In the elections of 1854 and 1855, many of the disaffected Whigs turned first to the Know-Nothing (American) Party Later they voted increasingly to the new Republican Party As a result of these moves, the Whig Party fell apart

23 The Rise and Fall of the Know-Nothings, 1853-1856
Know-Nothings was also called the American Party It evolved out of a secret nativist society called the Order of the Star-Spangled Banner In the North, the party combined hatred of Catholics, immigrants, and slavery-extension It took a conspiratorial view of the world in which the Pope and Slave Power were both plotting to extinguish the American democratic republic In 1854 and 1855, the Know-Nothings scored major victories in northern states such as MA

24 The Rise and Fall of the Know-Nothings, 1853-1856 (cont.)
However, the Party declined rapidly after 1855 It was pulled apart by the slavery-expansion issue Its southern adherents supported the KS-NE Act a position unacceptable to northern nativists, who deserted to the emerging Republicans

25 The Republican Party and the Crisis in Kansas, 1855-1856
The Republican Party first appeared in several northern states in protest against the KS-NE Act As the Know-Nothings waned by 1856, the Republicans became the main opposition party to the Democrats The Republicans were basically a coalition of former northern Whigs and Democrats who wanted to restore the MO Compromise, Liberty Party abolitionists, and free-soilers

26 The Republican Party and the Crisis in KS, 1855-1856 (cont.)
Little united them at first except their opposition to the KS-NE Act However, the subsequent fighting in KS between proslavery and antislavery forces greatly strengthened the party and its free-soil stand

27 The Republican Party and the Crisis in KS, 1855-1856 (cont.)
Both proslavery and antislavery settlers rushed to KS In 1855, when the first election for a territorial legislature took place, thousands of proslavery Missourians invaded KS for the day and voted illegally This fraud produced a rabidly proslavery legislature Which from its capital in Lecompton, KS, passed repressive laws aimed at squelching the free-soilers

28 The Republican Party and the Crisis in KS, 1855-1856 (cont.)
The free-soilers, considering the Lecompton legislature a shame They organized a rival govt. in Topeka After the sack of Lawrence and John Brown’s Pottawatomie massacre A civil war broke out in KS Between the 2 govts. and their followers Popular sovereignty had not worked

29 The Republican Party and the Crisis in KS, 1855-1856 (cont.)
Popular sovereignty caused angry debate between Pierce and Northern Democrats and Republicans Pierce and Northern Democrats=recognized the fraudulent Lecompton govt. Republicans=decried the outcome as a shame It also spread violence to Congress with Preston Brook’s attack on Senator Charles Sumner

30 The Election of 1856 Republicans nominated John C. Fremont
Platform called on Congress to exclude slavery from all remaining territories Democrats nominated James Buchanan Backed popular sovereignty Know-Nothings nominated Millard Fillmore Buchanan won but the Republicans did remarkably well in the North Had Fremont carried PA and either IL or IN, he would have been elected Despite receiving almost no southern votes

31 The Election of 1856 (cont.)

32 The Crisis of the Union 1857-1860
The Dred Scott Case, 1857 Decision was made 2 days after Buchanan’s inauguration the Supreme Court entered the controversy over slavery in the territories The Supreme Court was composed mostly of southerners Ruled that blacks (slave or free) were not citizens of the United States Also ruled that the Missouri Compromise had always been unconstitutional because Congress had no right to exclude slavery from any territory To do so violated the 5th Amendment protection of property and property holders

33 The Crisis of the Union 1857-1860 (cont.)
The Republicans denounced the decision and prepared to ignore it PBS link National Archives--audio link

34 The Lecompton Constitution 1857
In KS, the proslavery legislature proposed a state constitution that protected slaveholders and gave the settlers the right to vote only on whether to allow more slaves into KS President Buchanan backed the Lecompton constitution and called on Congress to grant KS statehood under it

35 The Lecompton Constitution 1857 (cont.)
Stephen Douglas (author of the KS-NE Act) broke with Buchanan and denounced the actions of the Lecompton legislature Claimed it undermined the original intent of popular sovereignty Northern Democrats and Republicans applauded Douglas Southern Democrats applauded Buchanan

36 The Lincoln-Douglas Debates
In 1858, Douglas ran for reelection to the Senate Abraham Lincoln was the Republican nominee Not well-know or political successful at the time Lincoln challenged Douglas to a series of debates

37 The Lincoln-Douglas Debates (cont.)
In the debates, Lincoln attacked slavery as morally evil but denied that Congress had the right to abolish it in the South or that he favored equality for blacks Rather, he stuck to his position that barring slavery from the territories Lincoln also forced Douglas into making his Freeport Doctrine statement Which pleased northern Democrats but made Douglas and his views unacceptable to the South

38 The Lincoln-Douglas Debates (cont.)
Although Douglas won the IL Senate seat, the election further split the Democratic Party It also made Lincoln “famous in the North and infamous in the South” Debate summaries

39 The Legacy of Harpers Ferry
John Brown’s raid touched off a wave of fear and hysteria in the South Southerners believed Brown had the backing of abolitionists and Republicans who were plotting to incite more slave rebellions These fears played into the hands of southern extremists

40 The South Contemplates Secession
Southerners began to speak of secession as the only way to protect themselves They regarded northern opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act and to slavery in KS as unconstitutional They also saw it as an offense to the South Which wounded southern pride Some argued that separation from the Union would also permit the South to seize more territory in the Caribbean and the West for slavery

41 The Collapse of the Union 1860-1861
The Election of 1860 The Republicans broadened their appeal in the free states in 1860 by supporting a protective tariff, federal aid for internal improvements, and a homestead act Lincoln was there nominee for President The northern and southern Democrats were unable to agree on a platform so they split

42 The Election of 1860 (cont.) Northern Democrats=Douglas
Still advocated popular sovereignty Southern Democrats=John C. Breckenridge Insisted that Congress must pass laws protecting slavery in all territories Constitutional Union Party=John Bell Appealed mostly in the border states and Upper South Lincoln won His name did not appear on southern ballots Won a majority of electoral college Only 39% of popular vote

43 The Election of 1860

44 The Movement for Secession
Believing that a Republican president would unleash more John Browns on them The states of the Deep South began to secede even before Lincoln took office SC led the way on Dec. 1860 AL, MS, FL, GA, LA, TX On Feb. 4, 1861, delegates from those 7 states met in Montgomery, AL to form the Confederate States of America

45 The Search for Compromise
KY senator John Crittenden proposed a compromise to bring the Deep South back into the Union It included constitutional amendments that guaranteed the federal govt. would never interfere with slavery in the South That drew the MO Compromise line across the remaining territories with slavery permitted south of the line in all present and future U.S. territory

46 The Search for Compromise (cont.)
Lincoln rejected the Crittenden plan because he would not abandon the free-soil promise on which he had been elected He regarded the plan as an invitation to the South to seize territory in the Caribbean for slavery He also felt that he had won an honest election That giving in to a losing minority would damage the American tradition of majority rule

47 The Coming of War The Confederacy began to take over federal forts within it region Soon after Lincoln’s inauguration, the Confederacy bombarded Fort Sumter in Charleston’s harbor thus firing the 1st shot in the rebellion that became the Civil War Lincoln responded by proclaiming that a rebellion existed in the Lower South Called for 75,000 militia volunteers from the loyal states to subdue it

48 The Coming of War (cont.)
Rather than send their troops to fight against sister southern states, VA, NC, AR, and TN seceded and joined the Confederacy The North was now aroused and ready to fight to save the Union though not yet ready to abolish slavery


50 Conclusion At no time prior to the Civil War, did the majority of Americans call for the end of slavery in the South Rather, in the 1850’s, the gulf between the North and South widened over the spread of slavery into the territories Northerners believed their freedom to pursue economic opportunity would be denied if they had to compete against slave labor in the West

51 Conclusion (cont.) Southerners claimed that to curtail slavery in the territories violated their constitutional right to use their property (slaves) as they saw fit Attempts to enforce the Fugitive Slave Law, the KS-NE Act’s repeal of the MO Compromise, the subsequent fighting in KS, the Dred Scott decision, and John Brown’s raid all further embittered intersectional conflict

52 Conclusion (cont.) National political parties collapsed under the strain: the Whigs disintegrated The Democrats divided into northern and southern wings A new strictly northern party, the Republicans, emerged

53 Conclusion (cont.) By the end of the 1850’s, northerners were convinced the South meant to impose slavery throughout the nation Southern states were ready for secession as the only way to protect their “peculiar institution” from a North that they saw as intent on destroying slavery even in the South

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