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AH History Guide 3 Summary.

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1 AH History Guide 3 Summary

2 Missouri Compromise The compromise was agreed in early 1850 and it admitted Maine as a free state and Missouri as a slave state in order to maintain the balance of power Most importantly though , it meant that all territories purchased in the Louisiana Purchase above the line 36 degrees 30 mins North were to be free and states below this line were to be slave.

3 Texas Texas gained its independence after The Alamo fell in March 1836
Most Southerners supported the inclusion of Texas as a state within the union and most northerners opposed it because many feared it would lead to a war with Mexico. Northerners made an allegation that the Texas issue was part of a ‘slave power conspiracy’ because it was large enough to be split into a number of states which would tip the balance between free states and slave states heavily in the South’s favour. Thus Texas caused sectional tension between North and South.

4 Manifest Destiny “It is our manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole of the continent which province has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federated self-government entrusted to us.” – John O’Sullivan.

5 What was ‘manifest destiny’?
“The belief common in America in the early 1800s that it was the destiny or fate of the US to expand west to the Pacific Ocean.” – David Burns The Democrats (particularly in the South) generally endorsed the idea of ‘manifest destiny’. Northern Whigs, however, were sceptical. According to Alan Farmer, they considered it to be “a smoke screen aimed at concealing the evil intent of expanding slavery”.

6 President James Polk President James K. Polk is mainly known for being the catalyst for the Mexican War ( ). He wanted to gain the New Mexico and California territories.

7 How was he a catalyst? After failing to come to an agreement with the Mexican government over the purchase of New Mexico and California, he sent American troops into the disputed Texas-Mexico area, hoping to provoke an incident which would lead to a war. In May 1846, Mexican troops crossed the Rio Grande and ambushed American troops. Polk jumped at this chance to declare war, claiming that Mexicans had “shed American blood on American soil”.

8 How was he a catalyst? He asked Congress to acknowledge the fact that war “[existed] by the act of Mexico herself” and to vote money to fight it. This was met with some opposition, particularly from Northern Whigs, but was mainly supported. Southerners especially supported the war; Northerners were sceptical, seeing it as a Southern war of aggression.

9 The Result of the War The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in February 1848, ceding California and New Mexico to the USA. Although the US had gained everything it had gone to war for, Polk felt that even more territory might have been gained.

10 Wilmot Proviso David Wilmot was a Democrat
Wanted slavery excluded from the new territories gained from the Mexican War Polarised the debate – North v South Why did he do it? Was he unhappy about his lack of political position? Did he feel southern Democrats too influential? There were various reasons for supporting the Proviso.

11 California The sudden, and unexpected, application of California for statehood further agitated the Sectional Conflict as the issue of Slavery in new territories was again brought to the fore.

12 1848 Election As a result of the Wilmot Proviso this election was dominated by the politics of slavery In order to win the election both the Whigs and Democrats attempted to diffuse the issue of slavery. Whigs were united under a slogan of “No Territory” so that no new territory from the war with Mexico meant that the issue of slavery could not evolve. Uniting the Democrats was more difficult but they eventually united under the policy of “popular sovereignty”. The winner was Zachary Taylor for the Whigs.


14 President Taylor He was the winner of the 1848 Presidential election as a Whig. Although a Southerner he was adamant to act in the best interests of the entire nation. The first major issue which he had to deal with was the territories of New Mexico and California. Surprisingly, he acted decisively and quickly. Although Taylor wished to avoid the spread of slavery he was not an abolitionist and felt that slavery was best defended by it not expanding When it came to the 1850 crisis Taylor was not willing to compromise and the only reason a compromise was reached was due to his death of gastro-enteritis on 9th June 1850.

15 President Taylor

16 Popular Sovereignty Thomas Jefferson described the issue of slavery’s existence in the new territories as a “momentous question”. The idea of popular sovereignty is particularly associated with Senators Lewis Cass and Stephen Douglas, two Mid-Western Democrats. New settlers, not Congress, should decide for themselves whether or not slavery would be allowed in the new territories.

17 What were the responses to popular sovereignty?
NORTH Acceptable, as it was unlikely that new settlers would have interest in slavery – the climate in the new territories was unsuitable for cotton plantations. SOUTH Acceptable – it endorsed non-Federal intervention and meant that slavery could be expanded.

18 However: Congress had previously had the power to decide what should happen in the territories – did popular sovereignty undermine this power? When should the decision be made? - North: as early as possible - South: delayed, so that slaves would initially be allowed in the territories.

19 Opposition to Popular Sovereignty:
NORTH Slavery should never have a chance to expand. SOUTH Slave-owners should be allowed to take their ‘property’ anywhere they wished.

20 Stephen Douglas Caused political upheaval when he proposed the Kansas Nebraska act in compromise had guaranteed that slavery would not exist there. Douglas argued that the people of the territory should decide them slavery question by themselves, but that because of the unsuitability of the soil and climate for plantations, it would remain free. He was committed to popular sovereignty He was depicted as a Northern doughface- A traitor to his section Stephen Douglas was an American politician and was Democratic nominee for President in 1860. He took part in a series of famous debates with Lincoln but lost to him in the 1860 election. He was largely responsible for the compromise of 1850 that apparently settled slavery issues.

21 Henry Clay Clay was a slave owner and sympathised with the south however he hated slavery. ‘With a foot in each camp’ he had a reputation as a conciliator. He gave a four hour long speech on the compromise He warned the South about the evils of secession and assured the North that nature would check the spread of slavery more effectively than a thousand Wilmot Provisos He was opposed to admitting Texas as a state because he felt that it would reawaken the slavery issue and provoke Mexico.

22 John Calhoun Calhoun led the pro-slavery faction in the Senate, opposing both abolitionism and attempts to limit the expansion of slavery into the western territories. Calhoun was a major advocate of the Fugitive slave law, which enforced the co-operation of Free States in returning escaping slaves. When he first entered Congress he had been an American nationalist, supporting increasing Federal power. This changed in the late 1820s and developed the Doctrine of Nullification. This proclaimed the right of any state to overrule or modify any federal law deemed unconstitutional. He claimed that citizens from every state had the right to migrate and take their property(slaves) with them. He felt that the North had no right to ‘ride rough-shod’ over the rights of the South and if it continued then the South would have no choice but to secede

23 1850 Compromise All of the issues in the 1850 compromise had sectional roots: What to do about California and other territory gained from Mexico What to do about slavery in such new territory What to do about the boundaries of Texas and debts owed to its citizens What to do about the slave trade in Washington DC What to do about the Fugitive slave law versus Personal Liberty Laws

24 1850 Compromise contd. The leader of those politicians who sought to appease the South was Henry Clay and he proposed an Omnibus Bill The compromise made little headway until the death of President Taylor on 9th July 1850 As a result of this a President willing to appease came into power and eventually the Omnibus Bill was passed when it was split into smaller pieces by Stephen Douglas.

25 Results of the 1850 Compromise
California was to be a free state New Mexico and Utah were to be territories with no reference to slavery restrictions The slave trade was banned in Washington DC $10m was set aside to pay the debt owed to Texans The New Mexico-Texas boundary dispute was settled A stronger Fugitive Slave law was to be put in place.

26 The Fugitive Slave Act Denied fugitives the right of a trial by jury
Denied fugitives the right to testify on their own behalf Authorised the organizations of posses to pursue fugitives on Northern ground Also targeted those who had fled years, even decades, before, not just recent runaways Fugitives were now only safe if they made it to Canada

27 Reactions to the Act NORTH SOUTH Generally appalled
Frederick Douglass urged defiance Some saw it as a price to pay to save the Union But most were disgusted by it. SOUTH Saw it as a test of Northern goodwill Resented the Northern response to the law (see next slide).

28 Was it effective? Northern states passed laws which made it almost impossible to put Federal law into practise Most Southerners did not consider the financial cost of bringing back slaves worthwhile Only 332 slaves were ever returned to their owners Few slaves tried to escape anyway

29 1852 Election This was the last election before the war in which the parties managed to restrict debate about slavery The candidates were Franklin Pierce for Democrats and General Winfield Scott for the Whigs Pierce won a landslide victory and Scott only managed to take 4 states.


31 President Pierce Franklin Pierce was the winner of the 1852 Presidential election as a Democrat. Pierce strongly hoped that the 1850 Compromise had settled the issue of slavery Pierce had a strong expansionist policy and his failed attempts to purchase new territory for the South only created commotion to stir up the Slave Power Conspiracy.

32 President Pierce

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