The Founding Fathers established the policy of containment, which was applied through the early Monroe administration. The purpose of containment was to stop the spread of slavery beyond where it already existed under state law. Containment was accomplished through several stages beginning with the establishment of the Northwest Ordinance and the Missouri Compromise, which led the South to “turn the tables on the North” and gain control the Legislative and Judicial branches of the government.
Thomas Jefferson, a Republican, proposed The Northwest Ordinance concerning the colonization of the territory obtained from England after the Revolutionary War. The Northwest Ordinance outlawed slavery in the Northwest Territories of the Ohio River Valley and set precedence for Congress to control the status of slavery on new states entering the Union. It also set precedence and the use of federal aid for education by designating land in each community for schools. “Most importantly, the ...view middle of the document...
(http://civilwarmo.org/educators/resources/info-sheets/missouri-compromise) Moreover, the repeal of the Missouri Compromise led to the South’s domination of both the Legislative and Judicial governmental branches.
The South began to voice their discontentment about containment and initiated change. The purpose of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, imposed by Stephen Douglas who desired presidency and the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, was to settle the territory of Kansas and Nebraska under popular sovereignty. This nullified the Missouri Compromise, which pleased the South since there was a possibility that slavery could expand. This intensified conflict between the North and the South and angered Democrats, Whigs, and Free-Soilers (Davidson pp 393). (http://library.thinkquest.org/J0112391/kansas-nebraska_act.htm) With the election of anti-slavery President Abraham Lincoln, the South became paranoid that the North planned to change their way of life, which led many of the Southern states to secede from the Union. (http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/civil-war-overview/statesrights.html) Lincoln wouldn’t tolerate secession and offered to “pardon” to the majority of Southerners with their return to the Union and conformity to the Emancipation Proclamation. Southern blacks were given educational and voting rights and opportunities for educational and economical advancement; the Southern elites then enforced the use of “paramilitary tactics”. Racism was also a factor in the North, which led Northerners to espouse some Southern viewpoint in regards to egalitarianism. This was the end of the Reconstruction Era and allowed the South to “turn the tables” on the North. Democrats were able to regain control of the Legislative and Judicial branches of government. (http://history.ncsu.edu/projects/cwnc/exhibits/show/second-redemption/redemption-1877)
In conclusion, containment was accomplished through stages that included the Establishment of the Northwest Ordinance and the Missouri Compromise that later led to the failure of the Reconstruction Era and allowed the Southern Democrats to regain control of the Legislative and Judicial government branches. “The legacy of the Civil War and Reconstruction was the creation of a solidly Democratic South” (http://magazines.scholastic.com/election-2012/grolier/republican-party).