Wilmot Proviso Antislavery groups wanted to make sure that slavery would not expand in the case of an American victory. Added to the appropriation bill meant to end the Mexican- American War. Banned all African-Americans, slave or free, from whatever land the United States took from Mexico. Preserved the area for white small farmers. Wilmot introduced the amendment defuse the charge by Northern Whigs that Polk intended the appropriations being considered for a down payment to the Mexicans for territory – especially California. By denying slavery in the newly acquired territory Northern Democrats could go to voters without the necessity of explaining the expansion of slavery. Wilmot introduced the amendment defuse the charge by Northern Whigs that Polk intended the appropriations being considered for a down payment to the Mexicans for territory – especially California. By denying slavery in the newly acquired territory Northern Democrats could go to voters without the necessity of explaining the expansion of slavery. Wilmot introduced the amendment to defuse the charge by Northern Whigs that Polk intended the appropriations being considered for a down payment to the Mexicans for territory – especially California. By denying slavery in the newly acquired territory Northern Democrats could go to voters without the necessity of explaining the expansion of slavery. (The Political Crisis of the 1850s)
Wilmot Proviso Northern hostility toward slavery sprang from several sources. A minority of northerners viewed slavery as an intolerable moral evil that could not be allowed to expand and perpetuate itself. Preventing the expansion of slavery would lead to its demise. Many hated it as an economic system in competition with and inimical (injurious) to the northern system of free labor. Many – if not most – northerners begrudged southerners the overweening (conceited, egotistical or arrogant) political power in both the national parties and national government. Most northerners were racist and many simply wanted to remove the threat of blacks – free or slave – from the territories.
Wilmot Proviso Southerners hated the proviso because of its potential danger to slavery. Seventy-five percent of southerners did not own slaves. Many southerners felt that the new territories could not support slavery. The RIGHT to expand slavery – even into areas in which the south really had no ambition (see above) – was critical to the southerner: it represented his equality in government Inequality meant slavery to the southerner.
Wilmot Proviso Passed the House (Aug. 1846 & early 1847) but failed in the Senate. John C. Calhoun argued that Congress had no right to bar slavery from any territory. Polk suggested extending the 36-30 line of the Missouri Compromise to the Pacific coast. In 1848 Lewis Cass proposed to settle the issue by “popular sovereignty.” Popular Sovereignty seemed a democratic way to solve the problem and it got Congress off the hook. Blend of racism and antislavery won great support in the North, but although it was debated frequently, it never passed. Foreshadowed an even more urgent controversy once the peace treaty with Mexico was signed.
Reactions in the “North” “… we will establish a cordon of free States that shall surround you; and then we will light up the fires of liberty on every side, until they melt your present chains, and render all your people free. This is no idle boost. Columbus Delano Whig future Republican Ohio
“Southern” Response If the “aggressive measures” of the nonslaveholding states continued and if the sectional balance in the Senate was destroyed, then “political revolution, anarchy, civil war, and widespread disaster” would follow. John C. Calhoun Democrat, South Carolina
The Silent Majority? “… out of the state of South Carolina … Mr. Calhoun was not sustained in any State of this Union by five per cent. Of the population. In fact, his strength at the South was about as great as that of the abolitionists at the North. His violence or denunciation was food for the abolitionsists, just as their fanaticism gave him materials to work with. Thomas L. Clingman Democrat, North Carolina
Wilmot Proviso The Wilmot Proviso polarized the nation not just the politicians. It was not just a question of extending or not extending slavery into the new territories, it was that north and south alike saw a threat to republican values in the position of the other. HOWEVER – the north was not welded to the absolute prohibition of slavery in the new territories and the south did not insist on the expansion. The north did not want southern political power to grow. The south wanted to ensure their equal rights. They would not be forced to submit to Northern diktat. Suppression would result in inferiority, subjugation and – worst of all - slavery.
Wilmot Proviso Democrats Finding a Solution: Popular Sovereignty Move the crisis away from absolute prohibition by congress, allowing each side to embrace a common resolution. Popular Sovereignty: left the decision of accepting or prohibiting slavery to the settlers of each territory removed from Congress the entire question that had disrupted party lines assured Southerners an equal opportunity to expand their institutions allowed Northern Democrats to argue climate would prohibit the expansion of slavery
Wilmot Proviso Whigs Finding a Solution: Anti-Expansion Move the crisis away from absolute prohibition by congress, allowing each side to embrace a common resolution. Anti-Expansion: Allowed Whigs their traditional opposition toward any territorial expansion Southern Whigs were protecting Southerners from the Proviso’s insults by preventing expansion into any territory to which it could be applied Northern Whigs were stopping the expansion of slavery by rejecting the expansion into any area into which slavery might go
The Compromise of 1850 Main provisions: Admitted California as a free state New Mexico & Utah territories established Slavery issue sidestepped by establishing concept of “popular sovereignty” More powerful Fugitive Slave Act (stacked in favor of slave-catchers) Slave trade abolished in District of Columbia Additional provision: Texas boundaries established at their present limits TX paid $10 million to give up extreme boundary claims
The Fugitive Slave Issue Allowed federal agents to seize any black suspected of being a fugitive Status of accused determined without trial or testimony Many blacks fled to Canada
Stephen A. Douglas Democrat Senator from Illinois Saw himself as the leader of the Senate Saw himself as a moderate Hoped to run for the presidency in 1856
Divided the remaining unorganized territory of the Louisiana Purchase into the territories of Kansas and Nebraska Repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820 Extended Popular Sovereignty to the new territories Douglas’s attempt to win Southern support Considered the land unsuitable for plantation agriculture Considered the slavery issue a moot point The Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854)
Depicted the North as the home of: Progress Opportunity Freedom Demonized Southern Society as the home of: Degraded slaves Poor whites Idle aristocrats Saw the struggle over the territories as a contest Which labor system would dominate the West Outcome in the West would dictate the nation’s future Saw the national division into free and slave states as an “irrepressible conflict” The Republican Worldview
John Brown and the Pottawatomie Massacre Radical abolitionists & free soiler Wanted to avenge the “sack” of Lawrence With seven others, attacked pro- slavery camp at Pottawatamie creek Hacked five men to death in front of their families Ignited a guerilla war between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions that lasted for nearly two years
Violence in the Senate Preston Brooks (SC) assaults Charles Sumner (MA) Have the North and the South become different civilizations?
Election of 1856 Presidential CandidatePartyHome State Popular Vote (a) Electoral Vote CountPercentage James BuchananDemocraticPennsylvania1,836,07245.3%174 John Charles FrémontRepublicanCalifornia1,342,34533.1%114 Millard FillmoreAmericanAmerican/WhigWhigNew York873,05321.6%8 Other3,1770.1%0 Total4,054,647100.0%296 Needed to win149 Buchanan Fremont Fillmore
Dred Scott Dred Scott v. Sandford People of African descent, whether or not they were slaves, could never be citizens of the United States Congress had no authority to prohibit slavery in federal territories Scott was not a "citizen of a state" within the meaning of the United States Constitution Since Scott was not a citizen, and no state could confer citizenship to him, the Court had not jurisdiction in the case Despite the lack of jurisdiction: Scott was not a free man despite his residence for a time in a free state and territory The Missouri Compromise was beyond Congressional authority A slaveowner had a right to his property guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment
Lecompton Constitution One of four proposed Kansas state constitutions Supported the existence of slavery in the proposed state Protected the rights of slaveholders Proposed a referendum to vote concerning the introduction of “new” slaves An attempt by Buchanan to get the proposed constitution through Congress causes a split in the Democratic Party – Douglas & Breckinridge Voters could vote for the proposed constitution or against it in its entirity If rejected, statehood would be delayed Kansans rejected the proposed constitution
Fire-Eaters Nathaniel Beverly Tucker John A. Quitman Thomas C. Hindman William Porcher Miles Laurence M. Keitt James Dunwoody Brownson DeBow 1850 Democratic Convention proposed secession because of the vast, incompatible differences between North and South. In the 1850’s they cited recent events such as “Bleeding Kansas,” and the Sumner- Brooks Affair to accuse the North of attempting to abolish slavery. Accused Lincoln of abolishing slavery during the election of 1860.
Election of 1860 I’ll do what I can to help you Beck, but my strength is failing and I’m afraid you’ll pull me out before I can pull you in. I’m too weak to get up - - and we shall be compelled to (gravely) dissolve the Union. Hurry up Douglas! And get the door open, so that I can get in, for the watchman is coming. Confound it! None of these keys will unlock the door so I’d better be off, for old Abe is after me with a sharp stick. Ah! Ha! Gentlemen! You need’nt think to catch me napping for I am a regular Wide awake.
Election of 1860 Presidential CandidatePartyHome State Popular Vote(a) Electoral Vote CountPercentage Abraham LincolnRepublicanIllinois1,865,90839.8%180 John Cabell BreckinridgeSouthern DemocraticKentucky848,01918.1%72 John BellConstitutional UnionConstitutional Union/WhigWhigTennessee590,90112.6%39 Stephen Arnold DouglasNorthern DemocraticIllinois1,380,20229.5%12 Needed to win152 Lincoln Breckinridge Bell Douglas