The American Promise, Ch 14 Outline

The American Promise Value Edition, Combined Version (Volumes I & II): A History of the United States

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
I. The Bitter Fruits of War A. The Wilmot Proviso and the Expansion of Slavery 1. Most Americans agreed that the Constitution had left the issue of slavery to the individual states to decide, but the issue of slavery in U.S. territories proved contentious. 2. In August 1846, Pennsylvania Democrat David Wilmot proposed that Congress bar slavery in all lands acquired in the war with Mexico. 3. Regardless of party affiliation, Northerners, motivated by a variety of concerns, lined up behind Wilmot's effort to stop the spread of slavery. 4. While the specter of new slave states alarmed most Northerners, the thought that slavery might be excluded outraged almost all white Southerners. 5. Southern leaders understood the need for political parity with the North to protect the South's interests, especially slavery, and in the nation's capital, the two sides squared off. 6. The House, dominated by northern states, passed the Wilmot Proviso; the Senate, with a slave state majority, rejected it. 7. As a compromise, Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan proposed the doctrine of “popular sovereignty”: letting the people who actually settled in the territories determine the fate of slavery for themselves. 8. The plan's most attractive feature was its ambiguity about the precise moment when settlers could determine slavery's fate; as long as the matter of timing remained vague, popular sovereignty gave hope to both sides. 9. Congress failed to pass legislation related to slavery in the territories, and the unresolved territorial question became an issue in the 1848 presidential election. B. The Election of 1848 1. When President Polk chose not to seek reelection, the Democratic convention nominated Lewis Cass, the man most closely associated with popular sovereignty; but the party adopted a platform that avoided a firm position on slavery in the territories. 2. The Whigs, hoping to unite their divided party, nominated Mexican-American War hero and slave owner Zachary Taylor; they, too, remained silent on the slavery issue. 3. In the summer of 1848, antislavery Democrats and antislavery Whigs founded the Free- Soil Party, making slavery the central issue of the campaign. 4. The November election dashed the hopes of the Free-Soilers as Taylor won the election, but the struggle over slavery in the territories had shaken the major parties badly. C. Debate and Compromise 1. When Taylor assumed office, he championed a free-soil solution to the problem of slavery in the western lands, encouraging California and New Mexico, both of which had sizable antislavery majorities, to draw up state constitutions and apply for statehood as quickly as possible. 2. Congress convened in December 1849, beginning one of the most contentious and most significant sessions in its history.
Image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
3. Senator Henry Clay proposed a series of resolutions that sought to balance the interests of the free and slave states, but antislavery advocates and “fire-eaters,” radical secessionist Southerners, both savaged Clay's plan.
Image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern