Chapter 14 THE SECTIONAL CRISIS
 
 
The Compromise of 1850
North and South conflict violently over slavery’s extension into the territories
Professional politicians mediate conflict
 
The Problem of Slavery in the Mexican Cession
Slavery traditionally kept out of politics
Congressional power over slavery includes
Setting conditions to make territories states
Forbidding slavery in new states
Mexican Cession of 1848 puts status of slavery in new territory into question
 
The Wilmot Proviso Launches the Free-Soil Movement
Mexican War mobilizes antislavery groups
Wilmot Proviso
Amendment to Mexican War Appropriations Bill by David Wilmont (D-PA)
Ban all blacks from new territories to preserve for white farmers
Links racism and anti-slavery
Proviso passes in House, fails in Senate
Battle over the Proviso foreshadows sectional conflict of 1850s
 
Squatter Sovereignty and the Election of 1848
Democratic presidential candidate Lewis Cass proposes popular sovereignty
Congress allows territorial settlers to decide
Supported by many antislavery forces
Free-Soil candidate Martin Van Buren demands definite limits on slavery
Whig Zachary Taylor takes no position
Taylor wins election with less than 50%
 
The Election of 1848
 
Taylor Takes Charge
Taylor proposes admitting California and New Mexico as states immediately
South reacts angrily
Not enough time for planters to settle
Immediate admission would result in no slavery
Proposed Nashville convention prompts fears of Southern secession
 
Forging a Compromise
Henry Clay’s 1850 compromise package
California admitted as a free state
Slave trade prohibited in District of Columbia
Strong fugitive slave law
Enlarged New Mexico territory to be admitted on basis of popular sovereignty
President Taylor opposes, VP Fillmore supports Clay’s compromise
July 1850 Taylor dies
Compromise passed as separate measures
 
The Compromise of 1850
 
Forging a Compromise:
The Fugitive Slave Law
Part of Compromise of 1850
Those accused of being fugitive slaves denied Constitution rights
Very unpopular in Abolitionist areas
Anthony Burns case in Boston 1854
 
Political Upheaval, 1852–1856
Whigs and Democrats manage controversy in 1850
Sectionalism destroys both parties in 1850s
 
The Party System in Crisis
Parties need new issues after 1850
Democrats succeed
Claim credit for the nation's prosperity
Promise to defend the Compromise of 1850
Whigs fail, become internally divided
1852: Whig Winfield Scott loses in a landslide to Democrat Franklin Pierce
 
The Election of 1852
 
The Kansas-Nebraska Act Raises a Storm
Senator Stephen Douglas (D-IL) wants Kansas and Nebraska open to settlement to facilitate Transcontinental RR to Chicago
1854: Douglas’s Kansas-Nebraska bill
Apply popular sovereignty to Kansas, Nebraska
Repeal Missouri Compromise line
Act passes on sectional vote
Northerners outraged, Democratic party split
 
The Kansas-Nebraska Act
of 1854
 
The Kansas-Nebraska Act Raises a Storm
KS-NE Act seen as North making concessions to South, but not getting anything in return
Whig indecision causes party to disintegrate
Mass defection among Northern Democrats
“Anti-Nebraska” candidates sweep North in 1854 congressional elections
Democrats become sole Southern party
Free Soil Party grows stronger and becomes Republicans
President Pierce’s effort to acquire Cuba provokes antislavery firestorm
 
An Appeal to Nativism:
The Know-Nothing Episode
Know-Nothings (American Party) appeals to anti-Catholic sentiment
1854--American party surges
By 1856 Know-Nothings collapse
Probable cause:  No response to slavery
 
Congressional Election of 1854
 
Kansas and the Rise
of the Republicans
Republican party unites former Whigs, Know-Nothings, Free-Soilers, Northern Democrats
Appeals to Northern sectional sympathies
Defends West for white, small farmers from Slave Power
“Bleeding Kansas” helps Republicans
Struggle among abolitionists, proslavery forces for control of Kansas territory
Republicans use conflict to appeal for voters
 
“Bleeding Kansas”
 
Sectional Division in the Election of 1856
Republican John C. Frémont seeks votes only in free states
Know-Nothing Millard Fillmore champions sectional compromise
Democrat James Buchanan defends the Compromise of 1850, carries election
Election really 2 elections
North: Freemont vs. Buchanan
South: Fillmore vs. Buchanan
Republicans make clear gains in North
 
The Election of 1856
 
The House Divided, 1857–1860
Sectional quarrel becomes virtually irreconcilable under Buchanan
Growing sense of deep cultural differences, opposing interests between North and South
 
Cultural Sectionalism
Major Protestant denominations divide into Northern and Southern entities over slavery
Southern literature romanticizes plantation life
South seeks intellectual, economic independence
Northern intellectuals condemn slavery
Uncle Tom's Cabin an immense success in North
 
The Dred Scott Case
Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857): Supreme Court can decide on slavery in the territories
Court refuses narrow determination of case
Major arguments
Scott has no right to sue because neither he nor any other black, slave or free, is a citizen
Congress has no authority to prohibit slavery in territories, Missouri Compromise unconstitutional
Ruling supports Republican claim that an aggressive slave power dominated all branches of federal government
 
The Lecompton Controversy
1857: Rigged Lecompton convention drafts constitution to make Kansas a slave state
House defeats attempt by Buchanan, Southerners to admit Kansas
Lecompton constitution referred back
People of Kansas repudiate Lecompton Constitution by 6 to 1 margin in 1858
Lecompton incident more evidence to Republicans of slave power conspiracy
Lecompton and Dred Scott case destroy Stephen Douglas’s hopes of unified Democratic party protecting popular sovereignty
 
Debating the Morality of Slavery
Lincoln
Decries “Southern plot” to extend slavery
Promises to work for slavery’s extinction
Casts slavery as a moral problem
Defends white supremacy in response to Douglas
Douglas accuses Lincoln of favoring equality
Lincoln loses election, gains national reputation
 
The South's Crisis of Fear
October, 1859: John Brown raids Harper’s Ferry
Brown executed, many Northerners see him as martyr
Hinton Helper’s Impending Crisis of the South asked poor white Southerners to overthrow planter dominance and abolish slavery
Endorsed by House Republican leader John Sherman
To Southerners, Republicans seen as radical abolitionists
Southerners convinced they must secede on election of Republican president
 
The Election of 1860:  Republicans
Abraham Lincoln nominated
Home state of Illinois crucial to election
Seen as moderate
Platform to widen party’s appeal
High tariffs for industry
Free homesteads for small farmers
Government aid for internal improvements
Lincoln wins by carrying North
 
The Election of 1860:  Democrats
Party splits
Northern Democrats
Stephen Douglas
continued support for popular sovereignty
Southern Democrats
John Breckenridge
Federal protection of slavery in territories
 
The Election of 1860:  Constitutional Union Party
Candidate John Bell
Promises compromise between North and South
 
Election of 1860: Outcome
2 contests
North: Lincoln vs. Douglas
South: Bell vs. Breckenridge
Republicans get electoral majority with all but 3 Northern electoral votes, although only 40% of popular vote nationwide
South sees this as beginning of permanent minority status in American politics
Deep South political leaders launch secession movements
 
Election of 1860
 
Explaining the Crisis
Republicans a strict sectional party
Fundamental conflict of ideals
Southern ideals
Paternalism, generosity, prosperity
Slavery defended on the grounds of race
Northern ideals
Inspired by evangelical Protestantism
Each person free and responsible
Slavery tyrannical and immoral