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The 1840s: A Changing Time Essay

1586 words - 7 pages

1840s Research Project
The 1840s was a time of slavery, new inventions, expansion and war throughout the U.S. Slavery was filled throughout the southern states while the north opposed it. There were many arguments debating whether new states admitted to the union should be able to have slavery or not. Both the Northern and Southern states were adamant on their views toward the slavery issue.
The 1840s was filled with slavery which caused many debates. These debates started in an era of politics and the creation of several political parties which soon led to the proposal of slavery related legislation ("Teaching Modules."). The political debate over slavery surrounded the new territories. Should slavery be allowed in the new states? The country was completely divided over the issue with both sides fiercely defending their side. Anti-Slavery groups had existed for a while in the states but not until the 1840s were organizations considered political ("Teaching Modules."). This changed in the early 1840s with the creation of the Liberty Party. The Liberty Party was an antislavery political organization founded in 1840. It was formed by abolitionist under the leadership of James G. Birney and Gerrit Smith, who fought against William Lloyd Garrison's nonpolitical stand. (T. C. Smith, The Liberty and Free Soil Parties in the Northwest. (1897, repr. 1967)). The Liberty Party went on to lose both 1840 and 1844 elections. Although they were unsuccessful, this did not stop the Liberty Party. Determined to succeed, the Liberty party joined forces in 1848 with anti-slavery democrats and Whigs to form a new political party. The new party was chosen to be referred to as the Free Soil Party ("Teaching Modules."). Unlike the Liberty Party, the Free Soil Party more narrowly defined their goals by pushing to keep slavery from expanding rather than abolishing slavery completely ("Teaching Modules."). As for the Pro-slavery arguments, like the anti-slavery argument, was essentially a legal and territorial one. The pro-slavery political leaders were very scared with the new territories and if they would be able to have slavery in those lands. Concerned, pro-slavery political leaders pushed for legislation, which would permit slavery in some of the territories ("Teaching Modules."). The main focus was whether slave owners could move their property into the new states and territories ("Teaching Modules."). Meaning would they be able to transport their slaves over into the new territories. These debates became very heated. These debates were led by a senator from Illinois named Stephen Douglas ("Teaching Modules."). Douglas viewed the debates as geographical and territorial. Meaning he thought it was ultimately up to the people who lived in those territories to decide whether they wanted slavery to be legal or illegal ("Teaching Modules."). This was ultimately called “Popular Sovereignty”, which placed all power of slavery into the...

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