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Chapter 18 Renewing the Sectional Struggle, 1848–1854.

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1 Chapter 18 Renewing the Sectional Struggle, 1848–1854

2 I. The Popular Sovereignty Panacea Democrats in 1848: – Polk pledged himself to a single term – The Democratic National Convention turned to aging leader General Lewis Cass – Their platform was silent on the burning issue of slavery – Cass’s views were well known because he was the reputed father of popular sovereignty

3 I. The Popular Sovereignty Panacea (cont.) Popular sovereignty— the doctrine that stated the sovereign people of a territory, under the general principle of the Constitution, should themselves determine the status of slavery. – It had a persuasive appeal: Public liked it because it accorded with the democratic tradition of self-determination

4 I. Popular Sovereignty Panacea (cont.) Politicians liked it because it seemed a comfortable compromise between: – The free-soilers’ bid for a ban on slavery in the territories – Southern demands that Congress protect slavery in the territories. Popular sovereignty tossed the slavery problem into the laps of the people in the various territories Advocates of the principle hoped to dissolve it from a national issue to a series of local issues. Yet, popular sovereignty had one fatal defect: – It might serve to spread the blight of slavery.

5 II. Political Triumphs for General Taylor The Whigs – They nominated Zachary Taylor, the “Hero of Buena Vista” – Their platform: They dodged all troublesome issues Extolled the virtues of their candidate He would not commit himself on the issue of slavery extension.

6 II. Political Triumphs for General Taylor (cont.) The Free Soil party: – Organized by ardent antislavery Northerners Came out for the Wilmot Proviso and against slavery in the territories Boarded their appeal by advocating: – federal aid for internal improvement – free government homesteads for settlers They attracted industrialists opposed to Polk’s reduction of protective tariffs

7 II. Political Triumphs for General Taylor (cont.) Appealed to Democrats resentful of Polk’s settling: – Part of Oregon – While insisting on all of Texas Harbored many northerners: – Whose hatred was not directed at slavery as much as at blacks – Who gagged at the prospect of sharing the newly acquired western territories with African Americans Contained an element of “Conscience Whigs”: – Who condemned slavery on moral grounds The free soilers chose Van Buren

8 II. Political Triumphs for General Taylor (cont.) Free-Soilers’ party platform: They condemned slavery not so much for enslaving blacks but for destroying the chances of free white workers to rise up from wage-earning dependence to the esteemed status of self-employment They argued that only with free soil in the West could a traditional American commitment to upward mobility continue to flourish First widely inclusive party organized around the issue of slavery and confined to a single section, they foreshadowed the emergence of the Republicans.

9 II. Political Triumphs for General Taylor (cont.) Taylor’s wartime popularity: – 1,360,967 popular and 163 electoral votes Cass: – 1,222,342 popular and 127 electoral votes Van Buren – 291,263 ballots and apparently diverted enough Democratic strength from Cass in the critical state of New York.

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11 Map 18-1 p380

12 III. “Californy Gold” The discovery of gold on the American River near Sutter’s Mill, California, early in 1848, (see Map 18.1): – The most reliable profits made by those who mined the miners: By charging outrageous rates for laundry And other personal services – The “forty-niners” chasing their dream of gold, most notably Australia in 1851.

13 III. “Californy Gold” (cont.) The California gold rush: – Attracted tens of thousands of people – A high proportion of the newcomers were lawless men, accompanied or followed by virtueless women – An outburst of crime inevitably resulted – Robbery, claim jumping, and murder most commonplace

14 III. “Californy Gold” (cont.) Majority of Californians were decent and law-abiding citizens, needed protection: – Grappled earnestly to erect an adequate state government. Encouraged by President Taylor, they drafted a constitution in 1849 that excluded slavery Then appealed to Congress for admission, bypassing the usual territorial stage – Would California prove to be the golden straw that broke the back of the Union?

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16 IV. Sectional Balance and the Underground Railroad The South of 1850 was relatively well-off: Nation’s leadership: Zachary Taylor in the White House Boasted a majority in the cabinet and on the Supreme Court Its cotton fields were expanding, cotton prices were profitably high Few believed that slavery was seriously threatened

17 IV. Sectional Balance and the Underground Railroad (cont.) The South was deeply worried by the ever- tipping political balance: 15 slave states and 15 free states Admission of California would destroy the delicate equilibrium in the Senate Potential slave territory under the American flag was running short Agitation in the territories of New Mexico and Utah for admission as nonslave states California might establish a precedent.

18 IV. Sectional Balance and the Underground Railroad (cont.) Texas had additional grievances: – Huge area east of the Rio Grande and north of forty-second parallel – Embracing half the territory of present-day New Mexico (see Map 18.2) – The federal government was proposing to detach Texas – Hot-blooded Texans threatening Santa Fe taking what they regarded as rightfully theirs.

19 IV. Sectional Balance and the Underground Railroad (cont.) Southerners: Angered by the nagging agitation in the North for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia Looked with alarm on the prospect of a ten-mile oasis of free soil between slaveholding Maryland and slaveholding Virginia More disagreeable to the South was the loss of runaway slaves: – Assisted by the Underground Railroad—freedom train – Amazing conductor: Harriet Tubman.

20 IV. Sectional Balance and the Underground Railroad (cont.) 1850 southerners demanded new and more stringent fugitive-slave law: – Old one proved inadequate to cope with runaways – The abolitionists who ran the Underground Railroad did not gain personally from their lawlessness – Slave owners were the losers. – Estimates of losing 1000 runaways a year out of some 4 million slaves.

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23 Map 18-2 p382

24 V. Twilight of the Senatorial Giants Congressional catastrophe in 1850: – Free-soil California wanted admission – “Fire-eaters” in the South threatened secession – Planed to meet in Nashville, Tenn. to withdraw from the Union – The “immortal trio”—Clay, Calhoun, and Webster—met in Congress for the last time

25 V. Twilight of the Senatorial Giants (cont.) Henry Clay-73 years old: – Played a critical role – The “Great Compromiser”—to reprise the role he played in Missouri and nullification – He urged that the North and South both make concessions – And that the North partially yield by enacting a more feasible fugitive-slave law.

26 V. Twilight of the Senatorial Giants (cont.) Senator John C. Calhoun-88 years old and dying of tuberculosis – The “Great Nullifier”— Approved Clay’s proposed concessions But rejected them as not providing adequate safe- guards for southern rights – His impassioned plea was to leave slavery alone, return runaway slaves, give the South its rights as a minority, and restore the political balance. – He wanted to elect two presidents; one from the North and one from the South, each wielding a veto.

27 V. Twilight of the Senatorial Giants (cont.) Daniel Webster-86 years old: – Upheld Clay’s compromise measures – He urged all reasonable concessions to the South, including a new fugitive-slave law with teeth – As for slavery in the territories, he asked, why legislate on the Subject? His conclusion: that compromise, concession, and sweet reasonableness would provide the only solutions.

28 V. Twilight of the Senatorial Giants (cont.) Webster’s famed Seventh of March speech (1850) was his final: – His tremendous effort visibly strengthened Union sentiment – Pleasing to the banking and commercial centers of the North—stood to lose millions by secession The Free-Soilers and abolitionists upbraided him as a traitor, worthy of bracketing with Benedict Arnold. – These reproaches were most unfair. Webster had long regarded slavery as evil but disunion as worse.

29 VI. Deadlock and Danger on Capitol Hill The stormy congressional debate (1850) was not finished: – The Young Guard from the North was coming William H. Seward: – A strong antislaveryite, came out unequivocally against concession – Argued that Christian legislators must obey God’s moral law as well as man’s mundane law

30 Deadlock and Danger on Capitol Hill (cont.) – He appealed to exclude slavery in the territories with reference to an even “higher law” than the Constitution – This term may have cost him the presidential nomination and the presidency in President Taylor seemed bent on vetoing any compromise passed by Congress His military ire was aroused by the threats of Texas to seize Santa Fe.

31 VII. Breaking the Congressional Logjam President Taylor unknowingly helped the cause of concession by dying suddenly: – Vice-President Millard Fillmore took the reins As presiding officer of the Senate—was impressed with the arguments for conciliation He gladly signed the series of compromise measures The balancing of interests in the Compromise of 1850 was delicate in the extreme (see Table 18.1).

32 VII. Breaking the Congressional Logjam (cont.) Heat in the Congress: – Northern states, “Union savers”—Clay, Webster, Douglas—orated on behalf of the compromise – Southern “fire-eaters” were violently opposed to concession – In June 1850, southern extremists met in Nashville: Took a strong position in favor of slavery but condemned the compromise measure

33 VII. Breaking the Congressional Logjam (cont.) – The second Era of Good Feelings dawned: Disquieting talk of secession subsided Peace-loving people, both North and South, were determined that compromises should be a “finality” And the explosive issue of slavery should be buried.

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36 VIII. Balancing the Compromise Scales Who got the better deal of the 1850 Compromise? North (see Map 18.3): – California, a free state, tipped the balance permanently against the South – Territories of New Mexico and Utah were open to slavery—basis of popular sovereignty – The iron law of nature—the “highest law”—in favor of the free soil.

37 VIII. Balancing the Compromise Scales (cont.) South: – Urgently needed more slave territory to restore the “sacred balance” – If not from the recent conquests from Mexico, then the Caribbean was one answer – The South had halted the drive toward abolition in the District of Columbia – Most alarming of all, the new Fugitive Slave Law (1850)—”the Bloodhound Bill.”

38 VIII. Balancing the Compromise Scales (cont.) Fugitive Slave Law (1850): – Stirred up a storm of opposition in the North – Fleeing slaves: Could not testify on their own Were denied a jury trial Federal commissioner who handled the case of a fugitive: – If the runaway were freed, five dollars – And ten if not

39 VIII. Balancing the Compromise Scales (cont.) – Freedom-loving northerners who aided a slave to escape were liable to heavy fines and jail sentences – This “Man-Stealing” Law was abhorrent It touched off an explosive chain reaction in the North The Underground Railroad stepped up its timetable Mass. made it a penal offense for any state official to enforce the new federal statute Other states passed “personal liberty laws”

40 VIII. Balancing the Compromise Scales (cont.) Abolitionists protested against the man-stealing laws Beyond question, the Fugitive Slave Law was a blunder on the part of the South Slave catchers redoubled their efforts With delay of enforcement: – The South was forging ahead in population and wealth—in crops, factories, foundries, ships, and railroads – Delay added immensely to the moral strength of the North – 1850s did much to bolster the Yankee will to resist secession, whatever the cost Thus the Compromise of 1850 won the Civil War for the Union (see Map 18.4)

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43 IX. Defeat and Doom for the Whigs 1852 Democratic nominating convention met in Baltimore: – It nominated the second “dark horse”—Franklin Pierce, from New Hampshire Weak and indecisive figure War injuries caused him to be known as “Fainting General” Enemyless because he was inconspicuous Prosouthern northerner, he was acceptable to the slavery wing of the Democratic Party.

44 IX. Defeat and Doom for the Whigs (cont.) His platform revived the Democrats’ commitment to territorial expansion as pursued by President Polk He emphatically endorsed the Compromise of 1850, the Fugitive Slave Law and all. – The Whigs convened in Baltimore; missed a splendid opportunity to capitalize on their record in statecraft: Having won in the past with war heroes, they turned to “Old Fuss and Feathers” Winfield Scott – The ablest American general of his generation.

45 IX. Defeat and Doom for the Whigs (cont.) – The Whig platform praised the Compromise of 1850 as a lasting arrangement. – The political campaign degenerated into a dull attack on personalities. – The Whig party was hopelessly split: – Antislavery Whigs of the North took Scott as their nominee but deplored his platform—which endorsed the hated Fugitive Slave Law – Southern Whigs doubted Scott’s loyalty to the Compromise of 1850 and the Fugitive Slave Law, accepted his platform but spat on the candidate

46 IX. Defeat and Doom for the Whigs (cont.) – General Scott, victorious on the battlefield, met defeat at the ballot box. – John P. Hale took northern Whigs vote from Scott – Hale took 5% of the popular vote Pierce won in a landslide 254 electoral vote to 42; the popular count was closer: 1,601,117 to 1,385,453. The election of 1852’s frightening significance: – It marked the effective end of the disorganized Whig party.

47 IX. Defeat and Doom for the Whigs (cont.) Whigs’ complete death: They augured the eclipse of national party and the rise of purely sectional political alignments Governed at times by the crassest opportunism Won two presidential elections (1840, 1848) in their colorful career, war heroes – Greatest contribution was to help uphold the ideal of the Union through their electoral strength in the South and through the eloquence of their leaders: Henry Clay and Daniel Webster.

48 Map 18-4 p388

49 X. Expansionist Stirrings South of the Border The spirit of Manifest Destiny was revived: A continuous Atlantic-to-Pacific transportation route that would effectively sever the two Americas (see Map 18.5) British encroachment in this area drove the governments of both the United States and New Granada to conclude treaty in 1848 – It guaranteed the American right of transit across the isthmus in return for Washington’s pledge to maintain “perfect neutrality” on the route—the “free transit of traffic might not be interrupted.”

50 X. Expansionist Stirrings South of the Border (cont.) The agreement led to: Theodore Roosevelt’s assertion of American control of the Panama Canal in 1903 Led to the construction of the first “transcontinental” railroad – Clayton-Bulwer Treaty (1850) stipulated that neither America nor Britain would fortify or seek executive control over any future isthmian waterway (later rescinded by the Hay- Pauncefote Treaty of 1910; see p. 628).

51 X. Expansionist Stirrings South of the Border (cont.) Southern “slavocrats” looked southward: – Because of boundary limits the South looked toward Nicaragua American adventurer, William Walker, tried repeatedly to grab control of this Central American country Installed himself president in July 1856 and promptly legalized slavery – A coalition of Central American nations formed an alliance to overthrow him. – President Pierce withdrew diplomatic recognition and he died before a Honduran firing squad in 1860.

52 X. Expansionist Stirrings South of the Border (cont.) Sugar-rich Cuba: Enticing prospect for annexation They already had a large population of enslaved blacks It might be carved into several states, restoring the political balance in the Senate President Polk offered $100 million to Spain for Cuba They refused Adventurers undertook to shake the tree of Manifest Destiny

53 X. Expansionist Stirrings South of the Border (cont.) The secret Ostend Manifesto quickly leaked out Northern free-soilers rose up in wrath against the “manifesto of brigands” The red-faced Pierce administration hurriedly dropped its reckless schemes for Cuba. – The slavery issue thus checked territorial expansion in the 1850s.

54 X. Expansionist Stirrings South of the Border (cont.) Spanish officials in Cuba seized the American steamer Black Warrior Now was the time for the President to provoke a war with Spain and seize Cuba The secretary of state instructed the American ministers in Spain, England, and France to prepare recommendations for the acquisition of Cuba The three, meeting in Ostend, Belgium, drew up a top-secret dispatch: Ostend Manifesto—it urged the administration to offer $120 million for Cuba.

55 Map 18-5 p389

56 XI. The Allure of Asia How could Americans tap more deeply the supposedly rich markets of Asia? – Opium War—fought by Britain to have the right to peddle opium in the Celestial Kingdom: Britain gained free access to five so-called treaty ports Control of the island of Hong Kong President Tyler dispatched Caleb Cushing to secure comparable concession for the United States Cushing arrived at Macao in early 1844.

57 XI. The Allure of Asia (cont.) Treaty of Wanghia: the first formal diplomatic agreement between U.S. and China on July 3, 1844: – Cushing secured some vital commercial rights and privileges from the Chinese – “Most favorable rights” were granted to the U.S. – “Extraterritoriality”—provided trying Americans accused of crimes in China before American officials, not in Chinese courts.

58 XI. The Allure of Asia (cont.) – American trade flourished in China – The treaty opened American missionaries; thousands came – China success prompted American goals for Japan: Japan had earlier withdrawn into an airtight cocoon of isolationism for over 200 years The warrior dynasty of Tokugawa Shogunate was very protective of Japan’s insularity By 1853 Japan was ready to emerge from its self- imposed quarantine.

59 XI. The Allure of Asia (cont.) President Fillmore dispatched Commodore Matthew C. Perry in 1852 for Japan His four smoke-belching “black ships” steamed into Edo (later Tokyo Bay) on July 8, 1853 Once on shore, Perry requested free trade and friendly relations then left promising to return the next year to receive the Japanese reply Perry returned in February 1854 and persuaded the Japanese to sign the landmark Treaty of Kanagawa on March 31, 1854

60 XI. The Allure of Asia (cont.) – Perry had cracked Japan’s two-century shell of isolation wide-open – Less than a decade later the “Meiji Restoration” would end the Shogunate and propel the Land of the Rising Sun: Headlong into the modern world Eventually into epochal military crash with the United States.

61 XII. Pacific Railroad Promoters and the Gadsden Purchase Acute transportation problems was another legacy of the Mexican War – California and Oregon were 8000 miles west of the nation’s capital – The sea routes were too long – Covered wagon travel was slow and dangerous – Feasible land transportation was imperative – A transcontinental railroad was the only real solution.

62 XII. Pacific Railroad Promoters and the Gadsden Purchase (cont.) Where to build the railroad? James Gadsden, minister to Mexico Santa Anna was still in power and needed money Gadsden negotiated a treaty in 1853: – Which ceded to the United States the Gadsden Purchase for $10 million. – Best route for the southern railroad – Northerners wanted Nebraska to be organized

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64 Map 18-6 p392

65 XIII. Douglas’s Kansas-Nebraska Scheme – In 1854 Senator Stephen A. Douglas delivered a counterstroke to offset the Gadsden southern expansion westward He longed to break the deadlock of North-South westward expansion He had invested heavily in Chicago real estate and railway stock He desired for the Windy City to be the eastern terminus for the proposed Pacific railroad He was trying to get the South to support his scheme.

66 XIII. Douglas’s Kansas-Nebraska Scheme (cont.) The proposed Territory of Nebraska would be sliced into two territories, Kansas and Nebraska (see Map 18.7) – Slavery would be decided by popular sovereignty – Kansas, west of slaveholding Missouri, presumably would choose to become a slave state – Nebraska, west of free-soil Iowa, presumably would become a free state. – Douglas’s Kansas-Nebraska scheme flatly contradicted the Missouri Compromise of 1820: » Which forbid slavery in the proposed Nebraska Territory north of the sacred 36-30’ line.

67 XIII. Douglas’s Kansas-Nebraska Scheme (cont.) – The only way to open the region to popular sovereignty was to repeal the ancient compact outright – To southerners here was the chance for another slave state – President Pierce threw his weight behind the Kansas- Nebraska Bill – But the Missouri Compromise could not be brushed aside – Douglas rammed the bill through Congress, with strong support from many southerners – The truth is that Douglas acted somewhat impulsively and recklessly – He predicted a storm, but grossly underestimated it – In the end, he enjoyed a high degree of popularity.

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69 Map 18-7 p393

70 XIV. Congress Legislates a Civil War The Kansas-Nebraska Act: – Was one of the most momentous measures to pass Congress – It greased the slippery slope to Civil War: Antislavery northerners were angered and future compromise with the South would be immeasurably more difficult The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 was a dead letter The Act wrecked two compromises—those of 1820 and 1850

71 XIV. Congress Legislates a Civil War (cont.) Northern abolitionists and southern “fire-eaters” saw less and less they could live with The growing legion of antislaveryites gained numerous recruits The proud Democratic Party was shattered by the Kansas-Nebraska Act Undoubtedly the most durable offspring of the Kansas-Nebraska blunder was the new Republican Party. – The Republican Party: Sprang up in the Middle West-Wisconsin and Michigan

72 XIV. Congress Legislates a Civil War (cont.) It gathered dissatisfied elements, including Whigs, Democrats, Free-Soilers, Know-Nothings, and other foes of the Kansas-Nebraska Act It also included Abraham Lincoln It never was a third party but: – It would not be allowed South of the Mason-Dixon line. The Union was in dire peril.

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