Secession And Slavery Essay

1026 words - 4 pages

Secession and SlaveryThe years leading to the outbreak of Civil War in the young United States of America was a time of indecision, struggle and public outrage. Throughout the Northern states, many citizens stood against the institution of slavery while the citizens of the Southern states supported slavery and depended on it for their way of life. During the dispute that eventually divided the country, politicians were forced into the differences of opinions between sides and made to defend the people they represented in Congress. They were forced into walking the line of supporting and opposing slavery. With the many levels of people involved, it is important to recognize and understand the entire spectrum of events and circumstances surrounding slavery and the reasons for secession preceding the Civil War. Due to the many different points of view across the spectrum, many citizens and politicians alike felt a closer allegiance to their state versus their country.In many cases, differences of opinion on the topic of slavery were the topic of heated debate even within the thoughts of slavery or abolition. While supporting abolition, many Northern states still felt there should not be rights for African Americans. The Southern states depended on slavery for their economic production and incorporated it into their way of life.During this struggle of abolition versus slavery, the politicians of the day also struggled with whether to become involved or to stand aside from the debate. From the acquisition of new states and the compromises accompanying them, to the elections platforms, slavery and abolition played a major role in each part of the political proceedings over the course of several decades.With the election of James Knox Polk, came the question of the acquisition of the newly independent territory of Texas. In his inaugural speech to the American public, Polk addresses the request of Texas to become a part of the United States. He preludes to the annexation as a wise strategic move in regards to the protection of Texas from foreign powers, as well as promote the state's development."To Texas the reunion is important, because the strong protecting arm of our Government would be extended over her, and the vast resources of her fertile soil and genial climate would be speedily developed, while the safety of New Orleans and of our whole southwestern frontier against hostile aggression, as well as the interests of the whole Union, would be promoted by it." (Polk 1845)Polk also sees the acquisition of Texas as an opportunity to achieve Manifest Destiny and gain strength as a country, not only geographically, but also industrially and agriculturally. "As our boundaries have been enlarged and our agricultural population has been spread over a large surface, our federative system has acquired additional strength and security." (Polk 1845) No actual mention of slavery in his address, yet subtle hints are left in the language of the passages...

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