Presentation on theme: "Slavery and the West. Many Missouri settlers brought enslaved African Americans. By 1819 the Missouri Territory included 50,00 whites and 10,00 slaves."— Presentation transcript:
Many Missouri settlers brought enslaved African Americans. By 1819 the Missouri Territory included 50,00 whites and 10,00 slaves. In 1819, 11 states permitted slavery and 11 did not. The Senate was therefore tied. The admission of a new state would upset the balance. The differences between the North and South grew into sectionalism an exaggerated loyalty to a particular region of the country.
The Senate suggested a way to resolve the crisis by admitting Missouri as a slave state while at the same time admitting Maine as a free state. The Senate also wanted to end the issue of slavery in the territories for good. It proposed prohibiting slavery north of the 36’30’N latitude. Speaker of the House Henry Clay skillfully maneuvered the Senate bill to passage in 1820 by dividing three proposals. The Missouri Compromise preserved the balance between the slave and free states in the Senate and brought a lull in the debate in congress over slavery.
The territories of Texas, who just won their independence from Mexico in 1836, New Mexico and California once again caused dispute over slavery in the Senate. Many Southerners hoped to see Texas join the Union. The annexation of Texas became a main issue in the presidential election of 1844. James Polk won the election and acquired Texas in 1845. Support by the south to annex New Mexico and California also grew in the South. The federal governments actions on these lands led to a war with Mexico.
David Wilmot from Pennsylvania proposed in Congress to not allow any slavery for land acquired from Mexico. This became known as the Wilmot Proviso. Southerners protested furiously. Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina countered with another proposal. It stated neither Congress nor any territorial government had the authority to ban slavery from a territory or regulate it in any way. Neither Wilmot`s nor Calhoun's passed, but both caused bitter debate. By the time of the 1848 presidential election, the United States had gained the territories of New Mexico and California but took no action on the issue of slavery in those areas.
In 1848 the Whigs chose Zachary Taylor, a Southerner and a hero of the Mexican War, as their presidential candidate. The Democrats selected Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan. Neither candidates took a stand on the issue of slavery in the territories. Many antislavery voters angered by this left the Whig and the Democrat parties and joined the members of the old Liberty Party to form the Free-Soil Party. The new party proclaimed “Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Labor, and Free Men,” and endorsed the Wilmot Proviso. The party nominated former president Martin Van Buren as its presidential candidate. Whig candidate Zachary Taylor won the election by successfully appealing to both slave and free states. Several candidates from the Free-Soil party did win seats in Congress.
President Taylor urged the leaders of California and New Mexico to apply for statehood. California did in 1850, but New Mexico did not. At the same time Antislavery forces wanted to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, the nations capital. Southerners wanted a strong national law requiring states to return fugitive, or runaway, slaves to their master. Another dispute involved the New Mexico – Texas border. In 1849 the Nation included 15 slave states and 15 free states. If California, entered as a free state – and New Mexico Oregon, and Utah followed as free states, the South would hopelessly be out voted in the Senate. As tension grew, some Southerners began talking about having their states sucede from, or leave the United States.
In January of 1850, Henry Clay, presented a multi-part plan to settle all the issues dividing Congress. First, California would be a free state. Second, New Mexico would have no restrictions on slavery. Third, the New Mexico-Texas border would favor New Mexico. Fourth the slave trade, but not slavery itsself, would be abolished in D.C. Finally, Clay pushed for a stronger fugitive slave law. Clay`s proposal brought much debate for 7 months. Opening that debate was John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay, and Daniel Webster of Massachusetts. Calhoun opposed Clay`s plan. Calhoun warned Congress if California was admitted as a free state, the Southern States would leave the Union. Webster argued that antislavery forces would lose little in agreeing to Clay`s compromise. What was most important was to preserve the Union.
Clay`s plan could not pass as a complete package. President Taylor threatened to use force against the South is the states tried to sucede. In July Taylor suddenly died. Millard Fillmore became the new president and he supported the compromise. Stephan A Douglas, from Illinois took charge of the efforts to resolve the crisis. Douglas divided Clay`s plan into a series of measures that Congress could vote on seperately. President Fillmore persuaded several Whig representaives to abstain – not cast votes – on measures they opposed. Congress finally passed a series of five separate bills in August and Spetember if 1850. Taken together these laws known as the Compramise of 1850, contained the five main points of Clay`s original plan.