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The Sectional Struggle

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Presentation on theme: "The Sectional Struggle"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Sectional Struggle

2 A. Mexican American War Fallout
13,000 lives lost – mostly from disease Training ground for most Civil War Generals Ugly turning point in Latin/US relations National territory increased by 1/3rd Surge in Manifest Destiny belief Slavery issue aroused with a vengeance North feared a southern “slavocracy” with new land acquisition Rep. David Wilmot introduced amendment in 1846 to prohibit slavery in ANY territory wrested from Mexico. South rejected “Wilmot Proviso” in Senate

3 B. Election of 1848 Polk done after one term –
Democrats nominate Lewis Cass – advocate of popular sovereignty. Whigs choose military hero Zachary Taylor. Never held civil office nor voted Large slave owner in LA. Free Soil Party forms because they do not trust either. Pro Wilmot Proviso Federal aid for internal improvements “Conscious Whigs” who opposed slavery on moral grounds People upset that Polk did not push for all of Oregon. Trotted out Martin Van Buren Taylor ( ) with Free Soilers spoiling election for Cass. Zach Taylor Lewis Cass

4 C. Gold Rush! Gold discovered at Sutter’s Mill, CA in 1848
“Gold fever” encouraged massive settlement Some “struck it rich, most didn’t) Many lawless men followed gold trail – crime and vigilante justice increase. Burst in industries supporting miners (launderers) California population grew so fast that they applied for statehood in 1849 with slavery EXCLUDED.

5 D. Southern Reaction CA admitted as free would upset state balance in the Senate. Potential slave territory running short Rumblings from NM and UT to be admitted as free CA admitted as free would set a precedent for the rest of the Mexican Cession Worried about northern demands to end slavery in Washington D.C. Most alarming was rate of runaway slaves Assisted by Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad Demanded a new, more stringent fugitive slave law.

6 E. “Great Triumvirate” Takes Stage
“Fire eaters” of South threatened to secede in 1849 if CA admitted as free. Debates rage in Congress on how to prevent this Calhoun (South) – called for two Presidents, one from North and South – died in 1850 from TB before debate settled, Clay (West) – urged North to make concessions (like Fugitive Slave Law) to appease South. Webster (North/East) – gave famed “Seventh of March Speech” – helped turn North towards tide of compromise and strengthened Union sentiment. Free Soilers and abolitionists assailed Webster as a traitor Unfair assessment Calhoun Clay Webster

7 F. Changing of the Guard William Seward (NY) – strong anti-slaveryite who argued that God’s “higher law” trumped man-made Constitution. Taylor also not willing to give concessions to South Dies suddenly of intestinal ailment Millard Fillmore becomes President Impressed with arguments for conciliation signs compromise after 7 months of debate Seward Fillmore

8 G. Compromise of 1850 CA admitted to Union as free state
Territories of NM and UT open to “popular sovereignty” – ppl would decide for themselves by vote whether to be slave or free. Texas $10 million debt assumed by US to give up part of territory to NM. Slave trade (but not slavery itself) abolished in D.C. New Fugitive Slave Law (see next slide)

9 H. Fugitive Slave Law Runaway slaves denied ability to testify or get jury trial. Judges given $5 is runaways were freed; $10 if they were not. People aiding the escape of a slave liable to heavy fines and jail sentences. Northern Reaction Many moderates driven to anti-slavery camp Underground Railroad stepped up its activity Some states refused to enforce it or lend jail space to federal officials South further angered by North’s unwillingness to enforce it

10 I. War in 1850? South would have been ready and willing.
Luckily for the North, it did not Extra 10 yrs added population and wealth to the North Delay also added moral strength to Union cause Could be argued that time bought from Compromise of 1850 helped win war for the North.

11 J. Election of 1852 Democrats chose unknown, enemy-less war general Franklin Pierce. Pro-southern northerner Endorsed Compromise of 1850 Whigs chose General Winfield Scott Only won with military heroes in the past (1840, 1848) – why not try again Pompous, devisive character Whig party split over Fugitive Slave Law Pierce wins easily in E.C. Whig Party irreparably split – Webster and Clay die in 1852 and Whig Party goes with them.

12 K. The South Looks South Attempt by slave owner William Walker to seize Baja California and Nicaragua to create new slave states failed. Ostend Manifesto Secret deal devised to offer $120 million for sugar-rich Cuba; if Spain refused, may be grounds for war. Northern anti-slavery forces got wind of plan and went bananas – Pierce dropped plan.

13 L. Connecting East and West
Newly acquired CA 8,000 away from DC. Transcontinental travel dangerous and tine-consuming – Railroad became the answer Rockies a road block and Northern Plains unorganized territory. Southern route would be easiest James Gadsden, minister to Mexico offered $10 million for southern NM and AZ in 1854 Santa Anna, in need of $ as always, accepted Northerners outraged with Gadsden Purchase, as they thought RR should run further North. Southern Pacific Railroad finished in 1882

14 M. Kansas- Nebraska Act Stephen A. Douglas
Senator from Illinois who owned real estate in Chicago and would greatly benefit from Transcontinental RR terminus there Pushed for northern RR to rival southern RR through Gadsden Purchase. Needed to organize Nebraska Territory before this could happen.

15 Popular Sovereignty Doctrine
Douglas proposed carving TWO states out of NE Territory and opening up slavery issue to popular sovereignty Kansas – just west of slave state MO so presumably would be slave. Nebraska – just west of free IA and would presumably be free. Directly violated Missouri Compromise that mandated all states north of 36’30” be free. Southern states all for it – President Pierce threw his support behind it too. North held MO Compromise as sacred and again, went nuts Douglas rammed bill through Congress in 1854


17 Impact of Kansas-Nebraska Act
Greased slippery slope to Civil War. North unwilling to compromise any further with “Nebrascals” Fugitive Slave Law, which had been weakly enforced in North, now a dead letter. Democratic Party shattered – won Presidency in 1856 (Buchanan) who would be the last Dem for 28 years. Gave birth to new Republican Party rose up in opposition to the gains of slavery Disgruntled Whigs, Dems, Free Soilers and other opponents to KN Act. Became a major second party almost overnight and would win Presidency in 6 short years.

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