1850 - 1860 Sectional Crisis and Secession

1850 - 1860 Sectional Crisis and Secession - Compromise of...

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Compromise of 1850 Constitution gave federal government right to abolish international slave trade, but no definite authority to regulate/destroy where it existed under state law Easy to condemn slavery in principle but very difficult to develop a practical program to eliminate it w/out defying Constitution “Higher law” prohibiting human bondage 1844 – William Lloyd Garrison publicly burned Constitution, but only spoke for a small minority of radical abolitionists 1840s – Majority of Northerners showed that while they disliked slavery, they also detested abolitionism Slaveholders were power-hungry aristocrats seeking more than their share of national political influence Constitution as a binding contract between slave and free states Likely to be prejudiced against blacks and reluctant to accept them as free citizens The Constitution had not predetermined the status of slavery in future states Generally assumed in North that Congress had power to prohibit slavery in new territories movement developed August 1846 – Congressman David Wilmot (Penn. Democrat) proposed amendment to military appropriations bill Would ban slavery in any territory that might be acquired from Mexico Upset b/c tariff of 1846 reduced duties to level unacceptable to manufacturing interests of Pennsylvania Other annoyed of Polk’s veto of bill to provide federal funds for improving rivers and harbors Defined his cause as involving “rights of white freemen” to go to areas where could live w/out disgrace of slavery Proposed that slavery as well as settlement by free African Americans be prohibited in territory obtained in Mexico Northern Whigs backed Wilmot Proviso b/c shared Wilmot’s concern about outcome of unregulated competition of labor Frustration at being unable to halt annexation of Texas and Mexican-American War Every northerner voted for except for 2 while every southerner voted nay except for 2 – passed Sent Proviso to defeat Northern state legislatures endorsed Proviso, while southern orators proclaimed passage would insult their section & violate equality among the states New approach by Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan: “Squatter sovereignty” – leave determination of status of slavery in a territory to actual settlers Also called “popular sovereignty” To northerners, meant settlers could vote slavery up or down at first meeting of territorial legislature
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This note was uploaded on 02/25/2012 for the course HIST 3316 taught by Professor Bourgeios during the Fall '11 term at Texas State.

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1850 - 1860 Sectional Crisis and Secession - Compromise of...

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