Causes Of The Civil War Essay

1311 words - 6 pages

Missouri Compromise (1820)
When Missouri applied for statehood as a slave state, there was much debate as the balance of slave and free states would be tipped over in favor of the slave states. This would give the South more power in the Senate. One solution by the House was to pass an amendment that would enter Missouri as a slave state, but Missouri could not bring more slaves in and that slave children would be set free. However, this amendment was not passed in the Senate. Another solution to this problem was created by Henry Clay called the Missouri Compromise. This would allow Missouri to be slave state, but would enter Maine as a free state to balance the number of slave and free states. It also restricted slavery north of 36 30’ latitude which was Missouri’s southern border. Congress approved, and passed the Missouri Compromise in 1820. The states were balanced, but this compromise was a factor for the civil war because the North was still against the expansion of slavery. Southern citizens also opposed it because it allowed Congress to make laws regarding slavery. These arguments over slavery would still continue even though the states were balanced. Later on, the Kansas- Nebraska act repealed this compromise as it allowed popular sovereignty to decide whether Kansas and Nebraska (both above the 36 30’ line) would be slave or free states. The Dred Scott decision even stated that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional by the Fifth Amendment which prevented Congress from depriving people of their property (slaves) without the due process of law. Though there was not much dispute at the time of the Compromise, it would later serve as a problem being repealed and called unconstitutional.

Kansas Nebraska Act/ Bleeding Kansas (1854- 1856)
In 1854 a bill projected by Stephen Douglas to let the people decide whether Kansas or Nebraska would become slave or free states was passed. This bill used the idea of “popular sovereignty” as it gave the settlers the power to decide whether the states would by slave or free. Douglas wanted to organize the new territories for more farmland and to build a transcontinental railroad to the Pacific starting in Chicago. However, the Missouri Compromise prohibited slavery in those territories as they were above the 36 30’ line which would mean Kansas and Nebraska would be free states. Because of this, Southern Congress members did not support the railroad. To win over the Southerners, Douglas used popular sovereignty in the Kansas- Nebraska Act. Unfortunately, this act did not serve its purpose as the original goal to build the railroad would not be passed in Congress until 1862 because of all the controversy. It also sparked violence in Kansas (the land was better for farming like other Southern states) as anti and pro-slavery groups rushed into the territories to sway the vote. “Border Ruffians” were pro-slavery Missouri citizens who came from Missouri and voted in favor of slavery who used threats...

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