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 1848-1861.  Polk did not run for reelection – ailing  Democrats nominated General Lewis Cass o “Father of popular sovereignty” Slavery: Turn the national.

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Presentation on theme: " 1848-1861.  Polk did not run for reelection – ailing  Democrats nominated General Lewis Cass o “Father of popular sovereignty” Slavery: Turn the national."— Presentation transcript:

1  1848-1861

2  Polk did not run for reelection – ailing  Democrats nominated General Lewis Cass o “Father of popular sovereignty” Slavery: Turn the national issue into a local one Flaw: Might spread slavery

3  Whigs nominated Zachary Taylor – “Hero of Buena Vista” o Whigs didn’t choose Clay – too many enemies o Dodged most significant issues, no formal stance on extension of slavery – shove it under the rug

4  Free Soil Party nominated Martin Van Buren o Supported the Wilmot Proviso o Advocated for internal improvements & free homesteads for settlers  Taylor wins

5  The discovery of gold ignited issue of slavery in spite of Taylor who had hoped to ignore it o Tens of thousands flooded California – no stable government established – rampant crime and mayhem ensued o 1849 – Drafted a Constitution (excluding slavery) and applied for admission

6  A free California worried many slave-holding Southerners o In 1850, Southern states could veto any amendment aimed at abolishing slavery o The admission of a free would change that o They were also upset over the call for abolition in D.C. & the loss of runaways through Underground Railroad They wanted a more stringent fugitive slave law

7  Key Players: Clay, Calhoun, and Webster o Clay defended compromising o Calhoun rejected concessions – leave slavery alone, return runaway slaves, restore balance o Webster defended Clay’s calls for compromise – famous “Seventh of March Speech”  Congress deadlocked on the issue  Taylor (influenced by William H. Seward) was likely to veto any compromise o Then Taylor died unexpectedly -> Millard Fillmore o Compromise

8  Who got a better deal? o The North… California’s admission as a free state tipped the balance of power in Congress The disputed “Texas” territory was surrendered to New Mexico Almost certain to be a free state The slave trade was abolished in DC The most controversial provision was the Fugitive Slave Law Enraged Northerners, some of whom refused to enforce it (like SC in 1832)

9  Democrats – couldn’t decide who to run o Franklin Pierce (who’s he?) Dark-horse, enemy-less – (pro-Southern Northerner – accepted by the pro- slaveryites of the Democratic party) Platform – territorial expansion, support of Compromise of 1850 (including Fugitive Slave Law)

10  Whigs – should have run someone associated with the Compromise of 1850 (Fillmore or Webster) o Instead, they went with tradition (military leader) – Winfield Scott o As a result, the party was split Antislavery (North) did not agree with Scott’s endorsement of the Fugitive Slave Law Southern Whigs agreed with platform, but weren’t convinced of Scott’s commitment to the Compromise of 1850  Pierce wins in a landslide

11  In 1854, Stephen Douglas proposed a way to restore the balance of power in Congress o He suggested that Nebraska be divided into two territories with the slavery question determined by popular sovereignty o Most assumed that Nebraska would be free, while Kansas would be slave

12  Douglas’s proposal contradicted the Missouri Compromise o Required that the 1820 be formally repealed, the very idea of which enflamed Northerners  Southerners saw a chance to gain one more slave state  Northerners reacted with opposition to the Fugitive Slave Law

13  Northerners settlers into Kansas were mostly pioneers o A small number, however, were financed by New England Emigrant Aid Company Antislavery organization that the movement of northerners into Kansas  Southerners were outraged o They had supported Kansas- Nebraska Act with the understanding that Kansas = slave & Nebraska = free

14  1855 – Election of the first territorial legislature o “Border Ruffians” – Slavery supporters from Missouri who crossed the border to vote in the Kansas election o The scheme worked & slavery supporters soon set up a government at Shawnee Mission o In response, free-soilers set up their own government in Topeka  1856 – Proslavery raiders destroyed the free-soil town of Lawrence

15  1857 – Kansas has enough people to apply for “popular sovereignty” statehood o Proslavery forces devise the Lecompton Constitution Required voters to vote for constitution either with or without slavery If they voted against slavery, an additional clause in the Constitution protected the owners of slaves already in Kansas Free-soilers were enraged as there was no chance of a free Kansas They boycotted the polls allowing proslavery forces to adopt constitution with slavery


17  “Bleeding Kansas” spilled over to the floor of the Senate o May 1856 – Abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner delivered an enraged speech titled “The Crime Against Kansas” o South Carolina Senator Preston Brooks took matters into his own hands o He struck Sumner with an 11 oz. cane until it broke, leaving him bleeding and unconscious Brooks resigned his seat, but was reelected Sumner forced to leave his seat & seek medical treatment


19  March1857 – The Supreme Court handed down the Dred Scott Decision o Dred Scott had lived with his master for 5 years in the Illinois & Wisconsin territories o Upon his master’s death, he sued for his freedom The Court ruled that since Dred Scott was a slave & not a citizen, he could not sue in federal courts Further, because a slave was private property, he or she could be taken into any territory and held legally as a slave Also, the Missouri Compromise (repealed by Kansas- Nebraska Act) had been unconstitutional because Congress didn’t have power to ban slavery from territories

20  John Brown schemed to secretly invade the South, create a slave uprising, provide them with arms, and establish a free black state o October 1859 – Brown & 20 others seized the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry Killed 7 people & injured about 10 more Captured by U.S. Marines Convicted of murder and treason

21  Most fateful election in American history  The Democrats were split o The North supported Stephen Douglas Southerners viewed him as traitor because of the Lecompton Constitution and his so-called “Freeport Doctrine” o The South supported John C. Breckenridge They had walked out of the National Convention in both Charleston & Baltimore Eventually, they held their own Convention

22  The Republican Party nominated Abraham Lincoln o The party’s platform appealed to many groups: Free-soilers – non-extension of slavery Northern manufacturers – protective tariff Immigrants – protection of rights Northwest – Pacific railroad West – internal improvements at federal expense Farmers – free homesteads from public lands


24  South Carolina now had excuse to secede o Within 6 weeks AL, MS, FL, GA, LA, & TX followed o They were eventually joined by AR, TN, VA, & NC  Feb 1861 – They declared themselves the Confederate States of America o Jefferson Davis was chosen as their president  “Lame Duck” period o Buchanan did not believe the South could legally secede, but he any constitutional authority to stop them

25  There were final attempts at compromise  The Crittenden Amendments were designed to appease the South o Prohibited slavery north of the 36°30’ parallel o Protected slavery south of the line o All future states would decide the issue through popular sovereignty  Lincoln rejected the plan o He had been elected on opposition to the extension of slavery

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