APUSH - 5. American history is filled with momentous...

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5. American history is filled with momentous events, some to be remembered for their greatness and benefits, others to be remembered for the harm done to the nation. One of the worst moments in this period of American history involves the election of one of the worst Presidents. James Buchanan, the 15 th President of the United States of America, was mainly elected solely for the Democratic Party to control him. While in office he showed his indecisiveness, equivocal to almost all issues presented to him. Even when the country was in danger of dividing in half and the South declared secession, Buchanan did nothing. He viewed secession as illegal, but he also viewed going to war because of secession as illegal. With seemingly no options, Buchanan chose to simply allow the events to occur, waiting for the day that he would be able to leave. Buchanan even told Lincoln, the following President, “If you are as happy in entering the White House as I shall feel on returning to Wheatland, you are a happy man.” This quote demonstrates the loss of ambition from Buchanan and surmises his entire term. Corrupted by the Panic of 1857, the government’s shortages of money due to the new low tariffs was resolved by further using money that they did not have. Buchanan did not attempt to stop these actions, even though Democrats firmly believed in only spending “hard money” that they had. Buchanan’s presidency and metaphorically and literally divided the nation and his own party, splitting the once cohesive people into the North and South. Inventions are typically viewed as beneficial to a society or nation, but the Invention of Eli Whitney’s cotton gin in 1793 proved otherwise. This moment may be viewed as one of the worst in American’s history because it revitalized slavery and made the South based on one obdurate crop. Although the South became the greatest export of cotton, and at first the cotton gin was a beneficiary for the economy, and positives quickly disappeared. The issue of slavery that had arisen eventually led to the detrimental Civil War that ironically razed the cotton fields
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that had previously proven beneficial. Also the South overestimated Britain’s reliance on cotton and also its uncompromised support. The cotton gin turned a healthy growing of a hodgepodge of crops into a monopoly of cotton. This exorbitant crop spoiled the earth, and made it necessary to constantly move and find new land. The importance of land also attributed to the rich getting richer while the poor getting poorer. By 1850, only 1733 families had more than 100 slaves, showing the unequal distribution, and these statistics made it clear for immigrants that life would be difficult to start up in the South, bringing their work and money to the North instead. Although the cotton gin appeared useful at first, it resulted in King Cotton corrupting half a
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This note was uploaded on 02/15/2012 for the course HIST HIS 101 taught by Professor N/a during the Fall '10 term at NYU.

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APUSH - 5. American history is filled with momentous...

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