Presentation on theme: "Drifting Toward Disunion. Introduction The issue of slavery continued to be controversial in the 1850’s. When in 1860, the newly formed Republican Party."— Presentation transcript:
Drifting Toward Disunion
Introduction The issue of slavery continued to be controversial in the 1850’s. When in 1860, the newly formed Republican Party nominated for President Abraham Lincoln, an outspoken opponent of the further expansion of slavery, the stage was set for all-out civil war.
Stowe: Literary Incendiaries Sectional tensions were further strained in 1852, and later, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, who published her heartrending novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Stowe was determined to awakening the North to the wickedness of slavery and mostly the fugitive slave law. She would later explain that God told her to write it. The success of her novel at home and abroad was sensational. Several hundred thousand copies were published in the first year, and the totals soon ran into the millions as the tale was translated into more than a score of languages.
Stowe: Literacy Incendiaries When Mrs. Stowe was introduced to President Lincoln in 1862, he reportedly remarked with twinkling eyes, “So you are the little woman who wrote the book that made this Great War.” The truth is that Uncle Tom’s Cabin did help start the war- and win it. Mrs. Stowe had never witness’s slavery at first hand in the Deep South, but she had seen it briefly during a visit to Kentucky, and she had lived for many years in Ohio, a center of Underground Railroad activity.
The North-South Contest for Kansas The rolling plains of Kansas had meanwhile been providing an example of the worst possible workings of popular sovereignty, but it was under abnormal conditions. Northerners who mostly were in this area were just ordinary westward moving pioneers, but small part of the inflow was financed by groups of northern abolitionists or Free-Soilers. Southerners who felt betrayed, and who supported this scheme by Douglas had the unspoken understanding that Kansas would become slave and Nebraska free.
The North-South Contest for Kansas Crisis conditions in Kansas rapidly worsened. When the day came in 1855 to elect members of the first territorial legislature, proslavery poured in from Missouri to vote early and often. The slavery supporters triumphed and then set up their own puppet government. Tension mounted as settlers also feuded over conflicting land claims. The breaking point came in 1856 when a gang of proslavery raiders, alleging provocation, shot up and burned part of the free-soil town. This outrage was but the prelude to a bloodier tragedy.
Kansas in Convulsion John Brown was a fanatical figure. He was spare, gray- bearded, and iron willed, he was obsessively dedicated to the abolition cause. Civil War in Kansas thus erupted in 1856 and continued until it merged with the largest scale Civil War 1861-1865. Altogether, the Kansas conflict destroyed millions of dollars’ worth of property. By 1857 Kansas had enough people, mostly Free- Soilers to apply for statehood on popular sovereignty basis. The vote went like this: You vote for the constitution on both sides, but either could say with slavery or with no slavery.
Kansas in Convulsion If they voted against slavery, one of the remaining provisions of the constitution would protect the owners of slaves already in Kansas. So there would still be bondage. Tons of people boycotted the polls. The scene next went to Washington: Pierce had been succeeded by James Buchanan. He was under the southern influence. Douglas was tossing away strong support from the south he fought for fair play. The outcome was a compromise submitted was that it would come to popular vote. Buchanan by antagonizing Douglas, and the Democrats, they were now dividing the Democratic Party. The Whig party is dead and now the only political party is divided.
Bully Brooks and his Bludgeon Bleeding Kansas also spattered blood on the floor of the Senate in 1856, Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, a tall and imposing figure, was a leading abolitionist- one of the few prominent in political life. He was highly educated, but cold, humorless, intolerant and egotistical; he had made himself one of the most disliked men in the Senate. He delivered a speech in the Senate in which he condemned the proslavery men as hirelings picked from the drunken spew and vomit of an uneasy civilization. He also referred to South Carolina and to its white-haired senator Andrew Butler, one of the best-liked members of the Senate. ..
Bully Brooks and his Bludgeon Hot-tempered Preston Brooks of South Carolina resented the insults to his state and to his senator, a distant cousin. On May, 22, 1856, he approached Sumner, then sitting at his Senate desk, and pounded the orator with an 11 ounce cane until it broke. The victim fell bleeding and unconscious to the floor, while several nearby senators refrained from interfering. Brooks resigned and was then re-elected. Southern admirers Brooks with canes, some of them gold-headed, to replace the one that had been broken. The injuries to Sumner’s head and nervous system were serious. He was forced to leave his seat for 3 years and he went to Europe for treatment that was painful and costly. The Senate left his seat empty and re-elected him. Bleeding Sumner was thus joined with bleeding Kansas as a political issue. Copies of Sumner speech were sold by the tens of thousands. Every blow that struck the senator doubtless made thousands of Republican votes. The Sumner-Brooks clash and ensuing reactions revealed how dangerously inflamed passions were becoming. The blows rained on Sumner’s head were broadly speaking, among the first blows of the Civil War.
Old Buck versus the Pathfinder This is about the election of 1856. It was between Buchanan and Fremont. Mudslinging hit both candidates. Buchanan was assailed because he was a bachelor: the fiancée of his youth had died after a lovers quarrel. Fremont was reviled because of his illegitimate birth, for his young mother had left her elderly husband, a Virginia planter, to run away with a French adventurer. Nine months later she was pregnant with John. More harmful to Fremont was the allegation, which alienated many bigoted Know-Nothings and other nativists, that he was a Roman Catholic. A bland Buchanan won handily. His tally in the Electoral College was 174 and 114 for Fremont, with Fillmore getting 8. The popular vote was 1,832,955 for Buchanan, to 1,339,932 for Fremont, and 871,731 for Fillmore.
The Dred Scott Bombshell The Dred Scott v. Stanford decision was handed down by the Supreme Court on March 6, 1857, which ended a 2 day honeymoon for Buchanan. The case was simple. Dred Scott, a black slave, had lived with his master for 5 years in Illinois and Wisconsin Territory. Backed by interested abolitionists, he sued for freedom and on the basis of his long residence on free soil. The Supreme Court proceeded to twist a simple legal case into a complex political issue. They ruled that Dred Scott was a slave and not a citizen, and could not sue the federal courts.
The Dred Scott Bombshell Reasoning: The reasoning was that the 5 th amendment clearly forbade Congress to deprive people of their property without due process of law. The Court, to be consistent, went further, The Missouri compromise, banning slavery north of the 36 30 had been repealed 3 years earlier by the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The court ruled that the Compromise of 1820 had been unconstitutional from all of the territories. Southerners were delighted with this victory. Another lethal wedge was driven between the northern and southern Whigs of the once united Democratic Party. Northerners were angry at the Dred Scott setback. They now insisted that this was an opinion and not a decision. Southerners would now question how much longer they had to remain to a union that didn’t honor the Supreme Court.
An Illinois Rail Splitter The Illinois senator race of 1858 was now under the national spotlight. Douglas’s term was about to expire and Abraham Lincoln would run against him. Lincoln was a lawyer, 6 feet 4 inches tall, and 180 pounds, presented an awkward but arresting figure. Lincoln’s legs and arms and neck were long and his head was crowned by coarse, black and unruly hair: and his face was sad, sunken and weather- beaten. Lincoln attended a frontier school, and he was an avid reader, and mainly self-educated. He was a wrestler, and weight lifter, and spent some time, among other pioneering pursuits, as a splinter of logs for fence rails. He married above himself socially. In fact Mary Todd and Lincoln broke up because her family didn’t believe that Lincoln would be good enough for her. Lincoln made a mark in the Illinois Legislature as a Whig politician. He served one term in Congress. The passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in that year lighted within him unexpected fires. After this he emerged as one of the foremost politicians and orators of the Northwest.
The Great Debate: Lincoln versus Douglas The Lincoln and Douglas debates were arranged from August to October 1858. At first glance the 2 of the contestants seemed ill-matched. The well-groomed and polished Douglas presented a striking contrast to the lanky Lincoln, with baggy clothes and un-shined shoes. Old Abe had both affection and had a piercing, high pitched voice and was often ill at ease when he began to speak. But as he threw himself into an argument, he seemed to grow in height, while his glowing eyes lighted up a rugged face. Lincoln and Douglas went head to head on the issue of slavery. Douglas did not hesitate to meet the issue head on. Douglas believed that no matter how the Supreme Court ruled, slavery would stay down if the people voted it down. Law to protect slavery would have to be passed in the territorial legislatures. Lincoln believed that the territories should vote slavery down.
The Great Debate: Lincoln versus Douglas The upshot was that Douglas defeated Lincoln for the Senate seat. Douglas believed in popular sovereignty which was still very powerful in Illinois. Senators were then chosen by state legislatures: and in the general election that followed the debates. There were more Pro-Douglas supporters. Lincoln even though he lost he was still a very prominent political figure. The Lincoln-Douglas debate platform thus proved to be one of the preliminary battlefields of the Civil War.
John Brown: Murderer or Martyr? John Brown with a handful of followers calls upon the slaves to rise, furnish them with arms, and establish a kind of black Free State as a sanctuary. Brown secured several thousand dollars for firearms and arrived at Harpers Ferry. He seized that arsenal in October 1859, killing seven innocent people, including a free black, and injuring ten or more. The slaves failed to rise and the wounded Brown and his followers were captured by Robert E Lee. John Brown was convicted of murder and treason after a legal trial. He presumed insanity and even had some of his closest friends testify of him being insane. Those attempts did not work, and he was sentenced to death.
John Brown: Murderer of Martyr? As he was walking up to the scaffolding, his demeanor during the trial was dignified and courageous, his last words “This is a beautiful country”, were to become legendary, and he marched up without flinching. The lasting effects were inflammatory in the eyes of the South. Many southerners asked how they could remain in the Union. Abolitionists and other ardent Free-Soilers were angry at his execution. Many of them were ignorant of his past. But the ghost of John Brown would not be laid to rest.
The Election Upheaval of 1860 Lincoln had run a curious race. He was the minority president, which means that 60 % of the voters preferred some other candidate. He was also a sectional president, for in ten other southern states, where he was not on the ballot, and he polled in no popular votes. The election of 1860 was virtually 2 elections. In winning the election in the North, it had split off the South. Douglas did surprising well and ranked second in the election.
The Secessionist Exodus The tragic train reaction of secession now began to erupt. South Carolina left first, and they left 4 days after Lincoln was elected. Most of the southern states held a convention and mostly voted to secede from the Union. During the next 6 weeks, 6 other states left the Union. The States the left next were: Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. Four more were to join them later, bringing the total to 11. Those states met in Montgomery Alabama and created a government known as the Confederate States of America and they chose Jefferson Davis as their president.
The Secessionist Exodus Jefferson Davis was a West Point graduate, former cabinet member with wide military and administrative experience: but he suffered from chronic ill health. Lincoln, even though he was elected, he did not take office until 4 months later. President Buchanan did nothing to keep them in the Union, and he rid his hand of them. At this time he was 70 and just washed his hands of it. One important reason why he did not resort to force was that the tiny standing army of some 15 thousand men, which were widely scattered, and were in the West. When Lincoln came into the presidency, he did the same thing that Buchanan, which was called the wait and see policy.
The Collapse of Compromise John Crittenden proposed an amendment to appease the South. It stated that slavery in the territories was to be prohibited north of 36 30 but south of that line it was to be given federal protection in all territories existing or hereafter to be acquired. Further states, north or south of 36 30 could come into the Union with or without slavery, as they should chose. Slavery supporters were to be guaranteed full rights in the southern territories, as long as they were territories, regardless of the wishes of the majority under popular sovereignty. Lincoln refused this compromise and knew that he would have to bear the responsibility.
Farewell to Union Secessionists who parted company with their sister states left for a number of avowed reasons, mostly relating in some way to slavery. They were alarmed by the tipping of the political balance against them. The crime of the North was the census returns, and they were also dismayed by the renewal of the Republican Party, which seemed to threaten their rights as a slaveholding minority. Jefferson Davis was known to have said: All we ask if to be left alone. With the burden of the North gone, the South was confident that its own peculiar destiny more quietly, happily, and prosperously.