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Sectional Differences and the Inability to Compromise

Sectional Differences and the Inability to Compromise -...

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Sectional Differences and the Inability to Compromise Of all the major contributions to the introduction of the Civil War there was not a single one which did not grow out of differences between the societies of the North and the South. It seems unlikely that there should be any disparity so great that the only resolution should be a Civil War. However, by 1860, for a variety of reasons, compromise was no longer an option, and the only solution seemed to be an imminent armed conflict between split factions of the same nation. Of the many issues debated between the North and the South, one of the most recurring arguments revolved around the practice of slavery in the territories. In the years after the Louisiana Purchase, the United States had acquired a vast spread of new land in the western frontier. Under the policy of Manifest Destiny, it was the responsibility of the nation to stretch its borders west. To fulfill this ambition, citizens seemed quite eager to migrate to new western territories. One of such areas was the new territory of Missouri. In 1820, there was a policy in action which required that any new state wishing to appeal for statehood must have a population of 60,000. In almost no time at all, there was no disputing that the population of Missouri exceeded this requisite number. However there was much debate about another aspect of this process. Since Missouri was considered a Southern territory, it fit that the majority of its population base strongly advocated slavery. With this in mind, when Missouri appealed for statehood, it motioned that it should be a slave state. However this idea was not quite so popular in the Northern free-states. At the time, there was a balance in the Union of 13 free-states to 13 slave states. Neither side wanted to lose ground to the other in the process of western expansion
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in the new territories. Fortunately, one man had a solution which addressed the needs of both sides. As one of the most influential politicians of his time, Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois developed an innovative solution to the problem. In his plan, Douglas stated that for any land within the Louisiana Purchase, any territory or new state north of the 36°30’ parallel would be a free state; whereas any state south of that line would be a slave state.
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