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Slavery and the Civil War Mexican War (1846) Wilmot Proviso (1846) Fugitive Slave Law (1850) Personal Liberty Laws (1850s) 3/5 Clause (1787) “Slave Seats”

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Presentation on theme: "Slavery and the Civil War Mexican War (1846) Wilmot Proviso (1846) Fugitive Slave Law (1850) Personal Liberty Laws (1850s) 3/5 Clause (1787) “Slave Seats”"— Presentation transcript:

1 Slavery and the Civil War Mexican War (1846) Wilmot Proviso (1846) Fugitive Slave Law (1850) Personal Liberty Laws (1850s) 3/5 Clause (1787) “Slave Seats” I. Southern Society II. Mexico Will Poison Us III. The Compromise of 1850 IV. The Slave Power Conspiracy Terms

2 I. Southern Society

3 Slaves Poor Whites Yeomen Planters Southern Social Structure

4 Planter Family

5 A Small Elite

6 Breakdown of the Planter Class

7 Power of the Planters Owned more than half of the slaves. Produced most of the cotton and tobacco. Produced all of the sugar and rice. Dominated politics.

8 All Slave Owners The total number of slaveholders in the South was 383,637, out of a total white population of 8 million.

9 Influence of Slave Owners With the average house hold numbering between 5 and 6 people, whites with some proprietary interest in slavery came to 2.2 million, or over a quarter of the white population

10 The Plantation Mistress Mary Boykin Chesnut: “There is no slave like a wife.”

11 Sex on the Plantation “God for give us, but ours is a monstrous system. Like the patriarchs of old, our men live all in one house with their wives and their concubines; and the mulattos one sees in every family partly resemble the white children. Any lady is ready to tell you who is the father of all the mulatto children in everybody’s plantation but her own. Those, she seems to think, drop from the clouds.”

12 An Example of Paternalism Chesnut said that her father in law lorded over his plantation household “as absolute a tyrant as the Czar of Russia... or the Sultan of Turkey.” Mary and James Chesnut

13 Map of the Cotton Belt


15 Slaves Poor Whites Yeomen Planters Southern Social Structure

16 Why Most White Southerners Supported Slavery Racial ideas. Aspirations to become planters. Kin ties with planters. Fear of insurrection. Economic support. Patrernalism

17 II. Mexico Will Poison Us




21 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo—the United States obtained California, New Mexico, and the Rio Grande boundary for $15 million

22 Opposition to Mr. Polk’s War In 1847, the Massachusetts legislature resolved that the war was “unconstitutionally commenced by the order of the president.” The legislature argued that it was being waged for “the triple object of extending slavery, of strengthening the slave power, and of obtaining the control of the free states.”

23 Wilmot Proviso An amendment making it “an express an fundamental condition to the acquisition of territory” that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall ever exist in any part of said territory.” David Wilmot


25 Wilmot’s Free Soil Motives My purpose is to defend “the rights of white freemen. I would preserve for free white labor a fair country, a rich inheritance, where the sons of toil, of my own race and color, can live without the disgrace which association with negro slavery brings upon free labor.”


27 III. The Compromise of 1850


29 Clay proposing the Compromise of 1850 before Congress

30 Compromise Proposals 1) California admitted as a free state. 2) Popular sovereignty for rest. 3) Resolve boundary dispute between Texas and Mexico. 4) Abolish the slave trade in the District of Columbia. 5) A new Fugitive Slave Act.

31 Provisions of the Fugitive Slave Law Federal commissioners heard cases. Slave owners could testify and bring witnesses, while slaves could not. Judges got $10 if they found the person a slave and $5 if the found them free. Citizens could be fined $1,000 or jailed for six months if they disrupted the hunt or would not cooperate with posse.

32 The Northern Response “Whatever ideas of liberty I may have, have been received from reading the lives of your revolutionary fathers. I have therein learned that a man has a right to defend his castle with his life, even unto the taking of life. Sir, my house is my castle... If any man approaches that house in search of a slave, I care not who he may be, whether constable, or sheriff, magistrate or even judge of the Supreme Court,... if he crosses the threshold of my door, and I do not lay him a lifeless corpse at my feet, I hope the grave may refuse my body a resting place, and righteous Heaven my spirit a home. O, no! He cannot enter that house and we both live.”

33 Such sentiments led to Personal Liberty Laws

34 III. The Slave Power Conspiracy

35 The Southern Perspective White Southerners insisted that Slavery could only survive if the national government supported slavery and allowed it to expand

36 The Northern Perspective The Slave Power had long ruled the nation. It was trying to extend its power by conspiring to add slave states to the Union. Slaveholders were like any aristocracy in history, constantly expanding their power at the expense of others. It was undemocratic and threatened the liberty of white northerners

37 The Presidency Slaveholders were president for 50 of the nation’s first 62 years

38 Congress Slaveholders were Speaker of the House for 41 of the first 62 years. The three longest severing Speakers were slaveholders. The South always had at least a veto in the Senate.

39 The Supreme Court Slaveholders served as the Chief Justice for 50 of the first 62 years. John Marshall, the most powerful Chief Justice who served 34 years was a slaveholder. 18 out of 31 Justices were slaveholders.

40 3/5 Clause “Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within the Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of years, and excluding Indians not Taxed, three fifths of all other persons.”

41 3/5 Clause Leads to Slave Seats In 1800 the Slave Seats accounted for 13% of the House of Representatives. In the 1840s Slave Seats still accounted for 9% of the House of Representatives. This meant that a southern white man’s vote counted more than a northern white man's vote.

42 The Power of Slave Seats— Adams would have beaten Jefferson in 1800.

43 Examples of the Slave Power Southern mobs broke into post offices to destroy packages of antislavery pamphlets starting in the 1830s. In 1836, Southerners forced through the House of Representatives a so-called gag rule, which provided that petitions relating to slavery were to be laid on the table without being printed, referred to committee, or debated. Fugitive Slave Law of 1850.

44 Congressman Russell Sage in 1856: “The fifteen free states have 13,000,000 of free white inhabitants; the fifteen slave states have 5,000,000, yet each have thirty Senators... In Senators the slave States have, by this system, kept up representation, in the proportion of two to one against the free States.” “South Carolina has six representatives, with a free white population of 274,563. New Hampshire has three Representatives, with a free white population of 317,456.”


46 “Has it come to this, that we must speak with bated breath in the presence of our Southern masters? If we venture to laugh at them, or to question their logic, or dispute their facts, are we to be chastised as they chastise their slaves?” - New York Evening Post

47 “If the white population of the Slave States see fit to submit like bondmen to the political chains imposed upon them by this handful of Aristocrats, so be it—that’s their business. It is our business—we of the Free States—to see that we are not brought down to the same humiliating condition.” - Ohio State Journal, June 12, 1856

48 “We, the Republican Party, are a white man’s party. We are for the free white man, and for making white labor acceptable and honorable, which it can never be when negro slave labor is brought into competition with it.” - Illinois State Senator

49 South Carolina Rationale for Secession “We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assumed the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to [remove] the property of the citizens of other States.”

50 “For my own part, I consider the central idea pervading this struggle is the necessity that is upon us of proving that popular government is not an absurdity. We must settle this question now, whether, in a free government, the minority have the right to break up the government whenever they choose. If we fail, it will go far to prove the incapability of the people to govern themselves.” – Lincoln, May 1861

51 “The Convention... unanimously adopted an amendment to the constitution forever abolishing slavery in this State and denying the power of the Legislature passing any law creating property in man. Thank God that the tyrants rod has been broken.” - Andrew Johnson to Abraham Lincoln, January 13, 1865

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