The Balance Of Power In The Us

821 words - 3 pages

California, and Utah’s, application to become states set off a decade of bitter struggle. Adding more states ensured the debate over slavery could not be avoided. Every attempt, by Congress and the courts, to settle disputes over slavery only added increased the actions each side took in an effort to protect their position. Throughout the decade tensions rapidly increased, as the North and south struggled for power.
Both sides, naively, considered The Compromise of 1850 an end of the slavery debate. The provision admitting California as a free state shifted the balance of power in the Senate to the Free states. The balance of power in the senate, divided equally since the Missouri Compromise, now consisted of a majority of Free States. Additionally, the agreement called for popular sovereignty to decide the slave issue in future states. Texas received debt relief in exchange for land. The compromise also abolished slavery in Washington D.C. The only real benefit for the south was the provision calling for a tougher Fugitive Slave Law. The tougher laws, regarding slavery, only added to the tension as many in the north refused to obey them.
In 1854, Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act to create new territories. Stephen Douglass wrote the act in an effort to attract the transcontinental railroad to his home city of Chicago. Douglass needed Kansas, and Nebraska, to become official territories to make it happen. Douglass believed the act would help Chicago economically, and aid his hopes of becoming president by ending The Missouri Compromise. Popular sovereignty replaced geographic restrictions as the decided factor on the issue of slavery. The opportunity to move slavery further north galvanized the south, and outraged the north. These increasing tensions led violence between pro slavery settlers, and abolitionists, in Kansas. Many Missourians crossed the border into Kansas in effort to expand slavery. In response, many abolitionists began moving people in the state to combat their efforts to expand slavery. In a preview of the Civil War, these groups continued escalating the violence in an effort to gain control. Pro slavery men burned down the free city of Lawrence. Abolitionist John Brown, and a group of supporters, responded by killing five alleged pro slavery people in the Pottawatomie Massacre. Bleeding Kansas is a phrase used to describe these violent actions. On May 22, 1956, the violence extended all the way to the Capital when Senator Charles Sumner was violently attacked, in the Senate chamber, by Representative Preston...

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