The Old Senate ChamberWebster-Hayne Debate, 1830One of the most momentous debates in Senate history began over a plan to curtail western land sales. Senators from western states viewed this proposal by a Connecticut senator as a cynical scheme to preserve for northeastern manufacturing interests a cheap labor supply that might otherwise be lured away by the beckoning opportunities of plentiful western lands. Senator Robert Hayne of South Carolina saw in this developing Northeast-West dispute an opportunity to build a political alliance between the South and the West. Hayne shared the view of southern planters that an agricultural system built on slavery could only survive with an unlimited supply of cheap western lands. Hayne began the debate in this chamber on January 19, 1830. He contended that states, not the federal government, should control their lands and that states should have the right to set aside certain federal laws if they wished. Daniel Webster of Massachusetts,
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