Civil War Facts
Davis also mentioned inconsistencies in Southern states' rights arguments. He explained the Confederate Constitution 's protection of slavery at the national level as follows:. To the old Union they had said that the Federal power had no authority to interfere with slavery issues in a state. To their new nation they would declare that the state had no power to interfere with a federal protection of slavery. Of all the many testimonials to the fact that slavery, and not states rights, really lay at the heart of their movement, this was the most eloquent of all.
In fact, the state rights defense of secession in — did not really appear in force until after as builders of the Lost Cause myth sought to distance themselves from slavery. Tariffs appear nowhere in The central message was to play on the fear of African barbarians The preachers and politicians delivered on their promise. The Confederate States were established explicitly to preserve and expand the institution of slavery.
Alexander Stephens , the Confederacy's vice president, said so himself in , in unambiguous terms. The victory of the United States over Mexico resulted in the addition of large new territories conquered from Mexico. Controversy over whether these territories would be slave or free raised the risk of a war between slave and free states, and Northern support for the Wilmot Proviso , which would have banned slavery in the conquered territories, increased sectional tensions. The controversy was temporarily resolved by the Compromise of , which allowed the territories of Utah and New Mexico to decide for or against slavery, but also allowed the admission of California as a free state, reduced the size of the slave state of Texas by adjusting the boundary, and ended the slave trade but not slavery itself in the District of Columbia.
In return, the South got a stronger fugitive slave law than the version mentioned in the Constitution. The Fugitive Slave Law would reignite controversy over slavery. The Fugitive Slave Law of required that Northerners assist Southerners in reclaiming fugitive slaves, which many Northerners found to be extremely offensive.
Anthony Burns was among the fugitive slaves captured and returned in chains to slavery as a result of the law. Most people thought the Compromise had ended the territorial issue, but Stephen A.
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Douglas reopened it in , in the name of democracy. Douglas proposed the Kansas—Nebraska Bill with the intention of opening up vast new high-quality farm lands to settlement. As a Chicagoan , he was especially interested in the railroad connections from Chicago into Kansas and Nebraska, but that was not a controversial point. More importantly, Douglas firmly believed in democracy at the grass roots—that actual settlers have the right to decide on slavery, not politicians from other states. His bill provided that popular sovereignty , through the territorial legislatures, should decide "all questions pertaining to slavery", thus effectively repealing the Missouri Compromise.
The ensuing public reaction against it created a firestorm of protest in the Northern states. It was seen as an effort to repeal the Missouri Compromise. However, the popular reaction in the first month after the bill's introduction failed to foreshadow the gravity of the situation. As Northern papers initially ignored the story, Republican leaders lamented the lack of a popular response. Eventually, the popular reaction did come, but the leaders had to spark it.
Salmon P. Chase 's "Appeal of the Independent Democrats" did much to arouse popular opinion. In New York, William H. Seward finally took it upon himself to organize a rally against the Nebraska bill, since none had arisen spontaneously. Press such as the National Era , the New-York Tribune , and local free-soil journals, condemned the bill. The Lincoln—Douglas debates of drew national attention to the issue of slavery expansion. Convinced that Northern society was superior to that of the South, and increasingly persuaded of the South's ambitions to extend slave power beyond its existing borders, Northerners were embracing a viewpoint that made conflict likely; however, conflict required the ascendancy of a political group to express the views of the North, such as the Republican Party.
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The Republican Party—campaigning on the popular, emotional issue of "free soil" in the frontier—captured the White House after just six years of existence. The Republican Party grew out of the controversy over the Kansas—Nebraska legislation. Once the Northern reaction against the Kansas—Nebraska Act took place, its leaders acted to advance another political reorganization. Henry Wilson declared the Whig Party dead and vowed to oppose any efforts to resurrect it. Horace Greeley 's Tribune called for the formation of a new Northern party, and Benjamin Wade , Chase, Charles Sumner , and others spoke out for the union of all opponents of the Nebraska Act.
Meeting in a Ripon, Wisconsin , Congregational church on February 28, , some thirty opponents of the Nebraska Act called for the organization of a new political party and suggested that "Republican" would be the most appropriate name to link their cause to the defunct Republican Party of Thomas Jefferson. These founders also took a leading role in the creation of the Republican Party in many northern states during the summer of While conservatives and many moderates were content merely to call for the restoration of the Missouri Compromise or a prohibition of slavery extension, radicals advocated repeal of the Fugitive Slave Laws and rapid abolition in existing states.
The term "radical" has also been applied to those who objected to the Compromise of , which extended slavery in the territories. Know-Nothings, for instance, captured the mayoralty of Philadelphia with a majority of over 8, votes in Even after opening up immense discord with his Kansas—Nebraska Act, Senator Douglas began speaking of the Know-Nothings, rather than the Republicans, as the principal danger to the Democratic Party.
When Republicans spoke of themselves as a party of " free labor ", they appealed to a rapidly growing, primarily middle class base of support, not permanent wage earners or the unemployed the working class. When they extolled the virtues of free labor, they were merely reflecting the experiences of millions of men who had "made it" and millions of others who had a realistic hope of doing so. Like the Tories in England, the Republicans in the United States would emerge as the nationalists , homogenizers, imperialists , and cosmopolitans.
Those who had not yet "made it" included Irish immigrants , who made up a large growing proportion of Northern factory workers. Republicans often saw the Catholic working class as lacking the qualities of self-discipline, temperance, and sobriety essential for their vision of ordered liberty. Republicans insisted that there was a high correlation between education, religion, and hard work—the values of the " Protestant work ethic "—and Republican votes.
Fremont in the presidential election , "there Buchanan has received his strongest support. Ethno-religious, socio-economic, and cultural fault lines ran throughout American society, but were becoming increasingly sectional, pitting Yankee Protestants with a stake in the emerging industrial capitalism and American nationalism increasingly against those tied to Southern slaveholding interests. For example, acclaimed historian Don E. Fehrenbacher , in his Prelude to Greatness, Lincoln in the s , noticed how Illinois was a microcosm of the national political scene, pointing out voting patterns that bore striking correlations to regional patterns of settlement.
Those areas settled from the South were staunchly Democratic, while those by New Englanders were staunchly Republican. A belt of border counties were known for their political moderation, and traditionally held the balance of power. Intertwined with religious, ethnic, regional, and class identities, the issues of free labor and free soil were thus easy to play on.
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Events during the next two years in "Bleeding Kansas" sustained the popular fervor originally aroused among some elements in the North by the Kansas—Nebraska Act. Free-State settlers from the North were encouraged by press and pulpit and the powerful organs of abolitionist propaganda. Often they received financial help from such organizations as the Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company. Those from the South often received financial contributions from the communities they left.
Southerners sought to uphold their constitutional rights in the territories and to maintain sufficient political strength to repulse "hostile and ruinous legislation". While the Great Plains were largely unfit for the cultivation of cotton , informed Southerners demanded that the West be open to slavery, often—perhaps most often—with minerals in mind. Brazil , for instance, was an example of the successful use of slave labor in mining. In the middle of the 18th century, diamond mining supplemented gold mining in Minas Gerais and accounted for a massive transfer of masters and slaves from Brazil's northeastern sugar region.
Southern leaders knew a good deal about this experience. It was even promoted in the pro-slavery De Bow's Review as far back as In Kansas around , the slavery issue reached a condition of intolerable tension and violence. But this was in an area where an overwhelming proportion of settlers were merely land-hungry Westerners indifferent to the public issues. The majority of the inhabitants were not concerned with sectional tensions or the issue of slavery.
Instead, the tension in Kansas began as a contention between rival claimants. During the first wave of settlement, no one held titles to the land, and settlers rushed to occupy newly open land fit for cultivation. While the tension and violence did emerge as a pattern pitting Yankee and Missourian settlers against each other, there is little evidence of any ideological divides on the questions of slavery. Instead, the Missouri claimants, thinking of Kansas as their own domain, regarded the Yankee squatters as invaders, while the Yankees accused the Missourians for grabbing the best land without honestly settling on it.
However, the —56 violence in " Bleeding Kansas " did reach an ideological climax after John Brown —regarded by followers as the instrument of God's will to destroy slavery—entered the melee. His assassination of five pro-slavery settlers the so-called " Pottawatomie massacre ", during the night of May 24, resulted in some irregular, guerrilla-style strife. Aside from John Brown's fervor, the strife in Kansas often involved only armed bands more interested in land claims or loot. Of greater importance than the civil strife in Kansas, however, was the reaction against it nationwide and in Congress.
In both North and South, the belief was widespread that the aggressive designs of the other section were epitomized by and responsible for what was happening in Kansas. Consequently, "Bleeding Kansas" emerged as a symbol of sectional controversy.
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Indignant over the developments in Kansas, the Republicans—the first entirely sectional major party in U. Their nominee, John C. The other two Republican contenders, William H. Seward and Salmon P. Chase , were seen as too radical. Nevertheless, the campaign of was waged almost exclusively on the slavery issue—pitted as a struggle between democracy and aristocracy—focusing on the question of Kansas.
The Republicans condemned the Kansas—Nebraska Act and the expansion of slavery, but they advanced a program of internal improvements combining the idealism of anti-slavery with the economic aspirations of the North. The new party rapidly developed a powerful partisan culture, and energetic activists drove voters to the polls in unprecedented numbers. People reacted with fervor. Abraham Lincoln replied on July 23 in a speech at Galena, Illinois ; Carl Sandburg wrote that this speech probably resembled Lincoln's Lost Speech : "This Government would be very weak, indeed, if a majority, with a disciplined army and navy, and a well-filled treasury, could not preserve itself, when attacked by an unarmed, undisciplined, unorganized minority.
All this talk about the dissolution of the Union is humbug—nothing but folly. We won't dissolve the Union, and you shan't. The Lecompton Constitution and Dred Scott v. Sanford [ sic ] the Respondent's name, Sandford, was misspelled in the reports  were both part of the Bleeding Kansas controversy over slavery as a result of the Kansas—Nebraska Act , which was Stephen Douglas ' attempt at replacing the Missouri Compromise ban on slavery in the Kansas and Nebraska territories with popular sovereignty, which meant that the people of a territory could vote either for or against slavery.
The Lecompton Constitution, which would have allowed slavery in Kansas, was the result of massive vote fraud by the pro-slavery Border Ruffians. Douglas defeated the Lecompton Constitution because it was supported by the minority of pro-slavery people in Kansas, and Douglas believed in majority rule.
Douglas hoped that both South and North would support popular sovereignty, but the opposite was true. Neither side trusted Douglas.
The Supreme Court decision of in Dred Scott v. Sandford added to the controversy.
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