ii These suspicions increased after Pierce pressured Great Britain to give up

Ii these suspicions increased after pierce pressured

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ii.These suspicions increased after Pierce pressured Great Britain to give up interests in Central America and tried to persuade Spain to sell Cuba to the United States. In late 1853, at the urging of Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, Pierce authorized the U.S. minister to Mexico, James Gadsden, to negotiate the purchase of territory seen as vital for a proposed railroad line that would link the South with the Pacific Coast.After Spanish authorities in Havana seized the U.S. vessel Black Warrior in February 1854, the Pierce administration and ministers from Spain, France and Britain concluded the secret Ostend Manifesto,
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which stated that if the United States determined that Spanish possession of Cuba was a security threat, it was justified in taking the island by force. The manifesto became public that fall, inspiring protest from the emerging Republicans.iii.The greatest tensions of Franklin Pierce’s presidency–and, ultimately, his downfall–can be attributed to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, proposed by Senator Stephen Douglas in early 1854. iv.Kansas soon became a battleground for sectional tensions, as thousands of so-called “border ruffians” streamed in from Missouri to elect a proslavery legislature in March 1855, making a mockery of popular sovereignty.When antislavery settlers in Kansas formed a rival government and sought admission tothe Union as a free state, violence broke out between these Free Staters and their proslavery opponents. While Pierce resisted sending federal troops to Kansas, tensions reached new heights in Washington, with South Carolina Representative Preston Brooks assaulting Senator Charles Sumner, an abolitionist, on the Senate floor in May 1856. For his ineptitude in handling the “Bleeding Kansas” situation, Pierce was denied the Democratic presidential nomination in 1856 in favor of James Buchananc.Election of 1856: James Buchanan won with 174 electoral votes. i.Once in office, James Buchanan appointed a cabinet composed of Northerners and Southerners and hoped to keep peace between the country’s pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions. Instead, the national debate over slavery only intensified, and the new president was seen by many people as being more sympathetic to Southern interests.ii.Two days after he was sworn in, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its Dred Scott decision, which said the federal government had no power to regulate slavery in the territories and denied African Americans the rights of U.S. citizens.Buchanan hoped the ruling would resolve America’s slavery issue, and he reportedly pressured a Northern justice to vote with the Southern majority in the case. Far from settling the issue, the Dred Scott decision, which Southerners applauded and Northerners protested, led to increased divisiveness.iii.Buchanan further rankled Northerners by supporting the Lecompton Constitution, which would have allowed Kansas to become a slave state.iv.In 1858, relations between Congress and the president were further strained when the Republicans won a plurality in Congress and blocked much of Buchanan’s agenda. He, in turn, vetoed Republican legislation. d.Election of 1860: Lincoln won with 180 electoral votesi.In the general election, Lincoln again faced Douglas, who represented the northern Democrats; southern Democrats had nominated John C. Breckenridge of Kentucky, while John Bell ran for the brand new Constitutional Union Party. With Breckenridge and Bell splitting the vote in the South, Lincoln won most of the North (40%) and carried the Electoral College.After years of sectional tensions, the election of an antislavery northerner as the 16th president of the United States drove many southerners over the brink, and by the time Lincoln was inaugurated in March 1861 seven southern states had seceded from the .
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