The 1800''s were a tumultuous time for the United States of America. At that time the south was typically slave
and the northerners were traditionally for freedom. The slave states of the south and the
abolitionist in the north were quarreling and the government recognizing that
made efforts to stop or delay the civil war.
In 1819 Missouri wanted to enter the Union a slave state. At this time the 22 states of the Union were
divided evenly 11 slave and 11 free.
Northern states were afraid that if Missouri entered as a slave state it
would give the south a majority in the senate.
Southerners argued that since the north had a majority in the House of
Representatives that it was only fair that they had a majority in the
senate. Then in December 1819 three
northern counties of Massachusetts broke away and asked to be admitted to enter
the Union as a free state(Maine). This
made the Missouri Compromise possible.
The Missouri compromise said that Missouri would be a slave state and
Maine would be admitted
as a free state, it also said that
any state in the Louisiana Purchase north of Missouri''s southern border would
be a free state. This action delayed a
deadly confrontation between the North and the South, at least for awhile.
Then in 1828 congress
raised the tariff on imported goods. In
the south they didn''t have very much industry so they had to import most of
their good, so the tariffs were unpopular their. One state that protested this action by
congress. Since the North had more
industry, the South felt that congress was protecting the North by raising
these tariffs. South Carolina was the
strongest protester of these tariffs. South Carolina supported John C. Calhoun
who said that a state could nullify or veto a national law within it''s own boundaries. In 1832 South Carolina''s state legislature
declared the tariff acts of 1828 and 1832 null or void. They went even further by saying that if the
government tried to make them pay the tariff they would break away from the
Then President Andrew
Jackson, who had said that the union must be preserved, stated that he strongly
opposed this nullification. Jackson also
let it be know that he would send 50,000 troops into South Carolina. This action scared South Carolina, and when
they asked other states for help they got no promises of military aid. Finally seeing that his state was in bad
shape John C. Calhoun asked Henry Clay to help him come up with
compromise. They came up with a law that
would lower tariff annually over a 10 year period until they were satisfactory.
After the Missouri
Compromise and the nullification crisis were dealt with things were relatively
quiet for awhile. Then in 1850
California requested admission to the union as a free state. California was the first state applying for
state hood in the Mexican Cession.
Southerners feared if California was a free state the rest of the
territory would be too. Northerners felt
they had to stop the spread of slavery to end it altogether.
Then came another
attempt to resolve the conflicts between the North and the South. In January of 1850 Senator Henry Clay
proposed a plan. His plan was divided
into six parts. The first part was that
California would be admitted to the Union as a non-slave state. The second part was that Utah and New Mexico
could decide if they wanted to be slave states of free states when they applied
ftehood. The third and Fourth
parts were tied into each other, the
third part was that Land in dispute between New Mexico and Texas would go to
New Mexico and for giving up this land Texas would receive 10 million
dollars. The fifth part was that buying
and selling of slaves but not slavery wouldn''t be allowed in the District of
The sixth and final part was
that congress would enforce a law stating that runaway slaves must be returned
to their owners. The bill was passed
section by section until it became law.
This again delayed the inevitable.
Slavery: Slavery was one of the issues that the
northerners and the southerners fought about.
In the south the main way of life was agriculture, the main cash crop
was cotton. Cotton was a labor consuming
crop, it would cost a man a fortune to pay people to work for him. Slaves were the answer to this problem.
Slave owners didn''t see
the slaves as people he saw him as property.
Slaves were treated bad. Even the
owners who saw themselves as fair still treated their slaves as dogs. They were regularly beaten, they worked from
dawn till dark for free.
This unfair treatment
was a reason why many slaves wanted to escape, or runaway from their masters to
free states where they would be free.
One way they escaped was the underground railroad. It was called the underground railroad
because it was secret and the slaves were hidden at secret "stations"
along the way, the people who guided the
escaping slaves were called conductors.
One famous conductor was Harriet Tubman.
She guided many many slaves to freedom.
Another famous slave was
Dred Scott. Dred Scott was a slave who
had been taken to Illinois, a free state, then to the Wisconsin territory where
slavery was outlawed by the Missouri compromise. He was then returned to Missouri by his
master. Dred Scott then sued his masters
widow for his freedom saying that it was illegal to be taken to a free state
then taken back into slavery. The
supreme court decided that slaves weren''t citizens so they didn''t have the
right to sue. The supreme court also
decided that slaves were property, and the bill of rights protected property
therefore congress couldn''t outlaw slavery in any of the territories.
This decision in the
Dred Scott case pleased many southerners they felt that now the new states
would now be able to choose to be slave states.
The decision angered many northerners they felt that slaves were more
than property and felt that this ruling was unfair.
In 1854 there was a bill
that formed two territories in the Louisiana Purchase, these states were Kansas
and Nebraska. The bill also said that
even though these territories were north of the anti-slavery line the people of
the territory would have a chance to vote whether to be free or slave.
This bill would allow
southerners to try and add another slave state to the Union. Pro slavery people started moving into the
Kansas territory. The state of Missouri
started recruiting settler who were for slavery and sent them to settle in the
new territories. In 1855 people from
Missouri crossed the border and voted illegally. The legislature in Kansas started making
pro-slavery laws. This angered the
anti-slavery people so they formed