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A Nation Divided Political Divisions Chapter 15, Section 3 Pages 488 - 492.

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Presentation on theme: "A Nation Divided Political Divisions Chapter 15, Section 3 Pages 488 - 492."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Nation Divided Political Divisions Chapter 15, Section 3 Pages 488 - 492

2 Building Background The slavery question continued to divide the country and lead to violence. The issue not only dominated American politics in the mid-1800s, but also brought changes in the makeup of American political parties.

3 Political Parties Undergo Change As a result of the Kansas-Nebraska Act the slavery issue was brought back into the national spotlight. Some Whigs, Democrats, Free-Soilers, and abolitionists joined in 1854 to form the Republican Party – a political party united against the spread of slavery in the West. Democrats were in trouble. Those who supported the Kansas-Nebraska Act were not re-elected.

4 Political Parties Undergo Change The Whig Party fell apart when northern and southern Whigs refused to work together. Some Whigs and Democrats joined the American Party, also known as the Know-Nothing Party. At the American Party’s convention, delegates argued over slavery and then chose former president Millard Fillmore as their candidate for the election of 1856.

5 Political Parties Undergo Change The Democrats knew they could not choose a strong supporter of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and they nominated James Buchanan of Pennsylvania as their candidate. At their first nominating convention, the Republicans chose John C. Frémont as their candidate. On election day, Buchanan won 14 of the 15 slave states and became the new president.

6 Dred Scott Decision Just two days after Buchanan became president, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a historic ruling about slavery. The case, involving an enslaved man named Dred Scott, and the court’s ruling resulted in creating a crisis situation over the issue of slavery.

7 Dred Scott Decision Dred Scott was the slave of Dr. John Emerson, a surgeon who lived in St. Louis, Missouri. In the 1830s, Emerson had taken Scott when him when he traveled to Illinois and the Wisconsin Territory. After they returned to Missouri, Emerson died, and Scott became the slave of the doctor’s widow. In 1846, Scott sued for his freedom in the Missouri state courts, arguing that he had became free when he lived in free territory.

8 Dred Scott Decision Initially, a lower court ruled in Scott’s favor; however, the Missouri Supreme Court overturned the ruling. Scott’s case reached the U.S. Supreme Court 11 years later, in 1857.

9 Dred Scott Decision The justices – a majority of them from the South – had three key issues before them: 1.The Court had to rule on whether Scott was a citizen. Only citizens could sue in federal court. 2.The Court had to decide if his time living on free soil made Scott a free man. 3.The Court had to determine the constitutionality of prohibiting slavery in parts of the Louisiana Purchase.


11 The Supreme Court’s Ruling Chief Justice Roger B. Taney wrote the majority opinion in the Dred Scott decision in March 1857. The first issue was the question of Scott’s citizenship – Taney said the nation’s founders believed that African Americans “had no rights which a white man was bound to respect.” Therefore, Taney concluded that all African Americans, whether slave or free, were not citizens under the Constitution of the United States. As a result, Dred Scott did not have the right to file suit in federal court.

12 The Supreme Court’s Ruling Taney also ruled that Scott’s residence on free soil did not make him free. Since Scott returned to Missouri, his status depended on the laws of Missouri. Finally, Taney declared that the Missouri Compromise restriction on slavery north of the 36°30 ′ latitude to be unconstitutional.

13 The Supreme Court’s Ruling Taney pointed out that the Fifth Amendment said no one could “be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” Slaves were considered to be property and as such Congress did not have the power to prohibit someone from taking their slaves into federal territory. Under this ruling, Congress had no right to ban slavery in any federal territory.

14 Lincoln-Douglas Debates In 1858 Illinois Republics nominated Abraham Lincoln for the U.S. Senate. His opponent was Democrat Stephen Douglas, who had represented Illinois in the Senate since 1847. Lincoln challenged Douglas in what became the historic Lincoln-Douglas debates.

15 Lincoln-Douglas Debates In each debate, Lincoln stressed that the central issue of the campaign was the spread of slavery in the West. Lincoln basically stated that the Democrats were trying to spread slavery across the nation. Although Lincoln said that African Americans were “entitled to all the natural rights” listed in the Declaration of Independence, he believed that African Americans were not necessarily the social or political equals of whites.

16 Lincoln-Douglas Debates The debates turned into a series of arguments in which Douglas claimed that Lincoln would ensure that African Americans would be freed and become the equals of whites. Douglas further stated that Lincoln’s point of view would ensure that the Union would be destroyed and conflict would occur between the North and South.


18 Freeport Doctrine At the second Lincoln-Douglas debate in Freeport, Illinois, Lincoln pressed Douglas on the contradiction in the Democrat’s belief in popular sovereignty and the Dred Scott decision. Lincoln asked Douglas to explain, if Congress could not ban slavery from a federal territory, how Congress could allow the citizens of that territory to ban it.

19 Freeport Doctrine Douglas responded that it did not matter what the Supreme Court decided about slavery. Douglas argued that “the people have the lawful means to introduce it or exclude it as they please. He also stated that “slavery cannot exist a day or an hour anywhere, unless it is supported by local police regulations.”

20 Freeport Doctrine The notion that the police would enforce the voter’s decision if it contradicted the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dred Scott case became known as the Freeport Doctrine. The Freeport Doctrine put the slavery question back in the hands of the American citizens. It also helped Douglas win the Senate seat. Lincoln went on to become a strong, important leader of the Republican Party.

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