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became the most significant nationally. The Republican party attempted to unite all thosewho opposed the extension of slavery into the territories, and they tapped into the basicbeliefs and values of northerners.Slavery in the Territories:The Mexican-American War had given the United States claimover an enormous expanse of land, which immediately raised questions about who wouldcontrol it and how it would reshape national politics. Although never entirely satisfactoryto all parties, the careful balance of power between slave states and free states faced newchallenges in the mid-nineteenth century. The central question was whether or not slaverywould be permitted in the new territories, and how such a question should be answered.As this question came to preoccupy national politics, Americans were split alongsectional lines. The stakes of the outcome displaced other matters that had previouslypromoted cross-sectional alliances.Popular Sovereignty:Democrat Stephen Douglas used popular sovereignty as a way tosoothe sectional divisions, by opening territory in the Louisiana Purchase to thepossibility of slavery, which had previously been banned, but also giving northerners thehope that the territory might remain free. In effect, however, popular sovereignty dividednorthern Democrats and destroyed the dominance of the Democratic party in the freestates.4.Answer would ideally include:Bleeding Kansas:Based on popular sovereignty, many believed that Kansas couldbecome either a free or slave state. As a result, thousands of emigrants, both free-stateand slave-state settlers, moved to Kansas. Proslavery candidates swept the territorialelections in 1854, but free-soil Kansans elected their own legislature. Organized into tworival governments and armed to the teeth, Kansans verged on civil war. The free-soiltown of Lawrence was raided, and abolitionist John Brown led a posse that massacredfive allegedly proslavery settlers. “Bleeding Kansas” became a territory engulfed byguerrilla war.The Crime against Kansas:In May 1856, Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusettsdelivered a speech titled “The Crime against Kansas.” The speech included a scaldingpersonal attack on Senator Andrew Butler. Preston Brooks, a young South Carolinamember of the house and a kinsman of Butler's, viciously beat Sumner over the head withhis cane until Sumner lay unconscious on the Senate floor. Brooks promptly became asouthern hero, but he provided the Republican party with a potent symbol of the South's“twisted and violent civilization.”Page 3

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Term
Spring
Professor
N/A
Tags
History, Abraham Lincoln, Compromise Of 1850, Slavery in the United States, American Civil War, Fugitive Slave Act

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