The Sectional Crisis

The Sectional Crisis

Slavery & Rising Sectionalism The Beginnings of Sectionalism As Americans expanded West in the 1840s, conflicts intensified between the North & the South regarding the issue of slavery Butthe existence of two strong political parties (Democrats & Whigs) that were both popular in

the North, South, & West helped keep America from splitting apart The Slave Question Reemerges The Constitution gave no definite authority to abolish slavery other than voluntary state action Abolitionists knew it would be impossible to get enough votes to pass an amendment outlawing slavery

But, northerners in Congress could forbid slavery in new states as they were added to the Union The Slave Question Reemerges The slavery issue in the West had been settled by the Missouri Compromise in 1820 But the newwas states

added in the Slavery not entrenched either led territory 1840s & in 1850s to problems: Texas (slave state) balanced by Oregon (free territory) What about California & New Mexico? Both were south of the Missouri Compromise line

The Wilmot Proviso The Wilmot Proviso was presented by Northerners in 1846 to: ABan allshift blacks (free & slave) from major in politics

is looming involving sectional political the Mexican Cession inparties order to preserve land for white farmers Attempt to limit the perceived pro-Southern Polk presidency The Wilmot Proviso did not pass in Congress but its debate revealed

sectional (not party) divisions Northern Democrats liked it (let The Election of settlers 1848 decide) Slavery in the West was a key Southern liked it Northern Whigs Democrats supported Taylor

issue theconventions Election of 1848: (let state decide) because he in promised to let Congress decide

slavery inLewis the territories Democrat Cass proposed Free Soilers were not abolitionists; sovereignty allow Southern Whigstosupported Theypopular were against

the expansion of Taylor because he owned slaves territorial settlers (not Congress) slavery into the West

to decide slavery in the West Whig candidate Zachary Taylor evaded the slavery issue The Free Soil Party was created by Northern abolitionists who nominated Martin Van Buren Taylor won the election, but Free Soilers did well in the North The Compromise of 1850

Reasons for Compromise of 1850 Southerners were mad when Taylor proposed admitting New Mexico & California as states Popular sovereignty would make California a free state New Mexico had no slaves or a climate adequate for slavery John C Calhoun led the Nashville Convention to discuss

Southern secession The Debate Over Slavery Webster: The Calhoun: The South North will never accept secession must protect slavery &

will peacefully secede The Compromise of 1850 was the last debate of the Great Triumvirate Clay: We must compromise The Compromise of 1850 Ended the slave trade California was admitted in Washington DC as a free state

(but not slavery) Taylor threatened to veto the compromise but his death in 1850 allowed VP Millard Fillmore to sign the Compromise of 1850 Popular sovereignty would decide slavery in Utah & New Mexico A stronger Fugitive Slave Law was created to appease the South

Political Upheaval & the Rise of Sectional Political Parties The Party System in Crisis With slavery (temporarily) under wraps, the parties needed new issues for the election of 1852: Whigs nominated Mexican War general Winfield Scott; Whigs had difficulty finding an issue

Democrats nominated Franklin Pierce, claimed credit for national prosperity, & promised to defend the Compromise of 1850 The Election of 1852 By 1852, the Whig Party was in trouble Had no significant platform issues Had difficulty appealing to voters in the North & South Southern Whigs were angry over the dominance of the

anti-slave Whig faction The Know-Nothing Party The collapse of the Whigs allowed for the rise of the Know-Nothings (the American Party) Fueled by nativism & a desire to reduce immigrant influence Hoped to strengthen the naturalization process to decrease immigrant voting

Appealed to ex-Democrats, ex-Whigs, & industrial workers The Know-Nothing Party In 1854, the American Party took control of state legislatures in New England, Maryland, Kentucky, & Texas; seemed on the verge of challenging the Democratic Party But, by 1856 the Know-Nothings collapsed due to a lack of

experienced leadership & had no response to slavery (which was the REAL issue in America) Shift in Party Power 1852-1855 The KansasNebraska Act In The Kansas-Nebraska Act 1854, Democrat Stephen

Douglas hoped to organize the Kansas & Nebraska territories with the Kansas-Nebraska Act: Act Northern abolitionists were outraged The Missouri Compromise line because it allowed slavery in an area was repealed popular where slavery was&already prohibited sovereignty was applied to

slavery in Kansas & Nebraska Many Northerners were now convinced that compromise with the South was impossible Coalition of Whigs, Northern Democrats, The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 & Free-Soilers formed the Republican Party;

became exclusively Northern by 1856 The Kansas-Nebraska Act changed American politics & increased sectionalism Southern Whigs defected to the Democratic Party which became an exclusively Southern party The Rise of the Republicans The Republican Party appealed to

Northerners: Believed in free soil & fought against a slave power scheme Vowed to protect free white workers & boost the economy Made up of seasoned politicians who effectively built up the power of the party by 1856 The Shift to Sectional Political Parties Watch American party politics become

sectional, rather than national, from 1848 to 1860 In 1848, both parties have national appeal In the election of 1852, both parties have national appeal Look at the Republicans in the North & the Democrats in the South by 1856! By 1860, the Republicans elected Lincoln

without even campaigning in the South! Conclusions American politics experienced a significant change in the late antebellum era (1800 to 1860): In the early antebellum era, sectional rivalries were evident but national parties kept the U.S. united In the 1840s & 1850s, westward expansion forced the North & South

to protect their regional values against an unseen conspiracy

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