Essay Exam III
Politics in America from 1846 to 1861 have been remembered mainly for being strongly influenced by slavery. It was the hot topic of the time. Abolitionism was on the rise while Americans who were proslavery stood by their beliefs. With the compromise of 1850 declaring Free states, the division of the north and south, incidents such as bleeding Kansas, the Dred Scott case, and the election of 1860, it was clear that American Politics were all about slavery.
The Gold Rush in California was simmering down and the area’s population had grown immensely. This influx of population led to California’s application for statehood. But California being admitted into the union would severely unbalance congress. And the south realized that California, New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah were all territories becoming states and none were willing to lend themselves to slavery. Debate over these territories raged on in congress until 1850 when a compromise was proposed by Henry Clay. The compromise passed by Senator Stephen A. Douglas, allowed California to be admitted as a free state and abolished the slave trade in the District of Columbia. As a concession to the south, congress also passed the Fugitive Slave Law and gave the New Mexico Territory the ability to determine their status on slavery. Through the compromise of 1850, America was able to temporarily solve the divisive issues taking place.
But the solution would soon be meaningless. Abolitionism was in its prime after the Second Great Awakening and the publication of Harrier Beecher Stowe’s novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The proslavery-ites in America would not stand for this movement of abolition and this created tension and conflict all throughout the country. The Kansas-Nebraska act, introduced by Douglas, would allow Kansas and Nebraska to be open for white settlement in order to have the transcontinental railway pass through Chicago. This upset the South and Douglas repealed the Missouri Compromise and allowed new states to be subject to popular sovereignty. This split congress even more and led to an outbreak of violence. Both proslavery and abolitionist settlers madly rushed to Kansas to claim land. The 1855 elections for territorial legislature intensified sectional conflicts and created a 2 year stream of violence known as Bleeding Kansas. Only three years later, the Dred Scott decision took place and made slavery an even bigger topic. Dred Scott...