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					  Renewing the
Sectional Struggle
      Chapter 18
 The Popular Sovereignty
• The Election of 1848
  – Polk announces he will not run
  – The Democrats run General Lewis
  – The party ignored the slavery issue
  – Cass, on the other hand, was a
    proponent of popular sovereignty.
    • Self-determination; it let the
      territories decide for themselves
      whether slavery should exist
     Political Triumphs for
        General Taylor
• The Whigs nominated General
  Zachary Taylor
  – The party also ignored slavery and
    focused on their candidate.
  – Taylor was a Louisiana slave owner.
  – General during the Mexican-American
          Free Soil Party
• Platform: Against slavery in the
  territories and for the Wilmot Proviso
  – Candidate: Martin Van Buren
• Who were “Free Soilers?”
  – Industrialists who disliked Polk’s reduced
  – Democrats who felt betrayed by Polk’s
    Oregon compromise
  – Northerners who disliked blacks in the
  – Conscience Whigs: abolitionists
          The Election
• The Campaign:
  – Focused on personalities
  – Slogans used extensively
• The Votes:
  – Taylor – 1,360,967 (163)
  – Cass – 1,222,342 (127)
  – Van Buren – 291,263 (0)
 President Zachary Taylor
• War Hero, but no
• Born in Virginia
  – Eventually
    became a well-off
    plantation owner
• Career Soldier
• Nationalist
        “Californy Gold”
• 1848: Gold is discovered in
  – Hordes of people moved to California
    with “Gold Fever”
    • Many of whom were “lawless” men
    • Crime significantly increased
  Statehood for California
• 1849: California drafts a
  constitution and applies for
  – The constitution excluded slavery
  – Southerners fought against the
    annexation of California
  Sectional Balance and the
   Underground Railroad
• The South in 1850
  – Political Advantages:
    • Southern President
    • Majority in the Cabinet and the Supreme
    • Equal in the Senate
    • Expanding cotton fields and profits
  – Political Disadvantages:
    • Potential slave territory was diminishing
    • California could tip the balance in the
    • Abolitionists were gaining more power
  Sectional Balance and the
   Underground Railroad
• Runaway Slaves
  – Slaves could receive “passage” on the
    Underground Railroad System
  – It was a series of safe-houses at
    which slaves could stay on their way
    to freedom – Canada
  – Harriet Tubman (Moses), a runaway
    slave, rescued more than 300 slaves.
• Southerners demanded a more
  stringent fugitive slave act
  Sectional Balance and the
   Underground Railroad
• Why did Southerners want such a
  stringent Fugitive Slave Act?
  – Abolitionists were openly flouting the
    current laws.
  – Abolitionists held moral judgments on
    Southern slave-holders.
           Twilight of the
          Senatorial Giants
• Southern states threatened
  secession if California was
  admitted as a free state.
• There was a great debate in
  Congress over this issue.
  –   Henry Clay
  –   Stephen A. Douglas
  –   John C. Calhoun
  –   Daniel Webster
           The Debate
• Henry Clay proposed a series of
  compromises which would allow
  California admittance, while giving
  concessions to the South.
• John C. Calhoun rejected Clay’s
  plans and argued for:
  – The return of runaway slaves
  – Keep the balance in the Senate
  – Possible dual presidency
           The Debate
• Daniel Webster upheld Clay’s
  compromise measures
  – His speech lasted three hours and
    turned many people toward
  – Webster argued that slavery would
    not exist in the new territories
    because of geography – no need to
 The Compromise of 1850
• Concessions to the North
  – California admitted as a free state
  – Disputed territory in Texas would go
    to New Mexico
  – Abolition of the slave trade in D.C.
• Concessions to the South
  – Remainder of the Mexican Cession
    would have popular sovereignty
  – Texas would receive $10 million
  – A stronger fugitive slave law
    Deadlock and Danger on
          Capitol Hill
• William H. Seward
  – Senator from New York
  – Strong anti-slaveryite
  – He argued against concessions and
• President Taylor threatened to veto any
• Stephen A. Douglas broke the
  compromise into its individual pieces,
  and they were all eventually passed.
         Breaking the
     Congressional Logjam
• President Taylor died and Millard
  Fillmore became President.
  – He wanted compromise and willingly
    signed the compromise
• Although it was now law, the
  country was still very divided over
  the compromise.
  – Southern extremists met to condemn
    the compromise, but eventually the
    South accepted it.
         Balance the
      Compromise Scales
• Who got the better deal?
  – North because:
    • California tipped the scale against
      the South
    • New Mexico and Utah were unlikely
      to use slave labor because of
    • Texas received $10 million, but it
      was not a great sum.
    • Fugitive Slave Act of 1850: many
      northerners ignored it.
  The Fugitive Slave Law
• Captured slaves could not testify
  on their own behalf
• They were denied a jury trial.
• Commissioners received a double
  fee if he ruled the suspect a
  runaway slave.
• Northerners were threatened with
  heavy fines and jail sentences for
  aiding runaway slaves.
  The Fugitive Slave Law

• Results in the North:
  – Personal Liberty Laws
  – Growth of the Underground
  – Moderate Northerners became
    ardent abolitionists
        Defeat and Doom
         for the Whigs
• Election of 1852
  – The Democrats nominate the unknown
    Franklin Pierce
    • Prosouth northerner
    • He supported the Compromise of 1850
  – The Whigs nominated Winfield Scott
    • They did not choose to nominate notables
      from their party.
    • The Whigs also campaigned on the
          The Election
• The campaign, again, focused on
  personalities and tried to ignore the
• The Whig party had split amid the
  Fugitive Slave Law and the
  Democrats were able to capitalize
  on that.
• Pierce – 254 electoral votes
• Scott – 42 electoral votes
       President Pierce the
• President Pierce
  wanted to acquire
  more territory
• He filled his Cabinet
  with aggressive
Expansion in Central America?
• Southerners were locked out of the
  North for expansion, so they began
  looking at the Caribbean and Central
  American as potential slave states.
• An American adventurer had attempted
  to seize control of this land in the 1850s.
  – William Walker recruited an army (Southern)
    and installed himself as president.
  – He legalized slavery
  – A coalition of Central American nations
    overthrew him and he was executed in 1860.
 America as a Pacific Power

• Acquisition of California and
  Oregon opened up trade prospects
  with Asia.
  – Already had commercial contracts
    with China
  – Commodore Matthew Perry
    “Persuaded” the Japanese to sign a
    treaty in 1854
         Coveted Cuba:
       Pearl of the Antilles
• President Polk had offered to
  purchase Cuba from the Spanish.
• Private filibustering expeditions were
  attempted to seize it by Southerners.
• 1854: Spain seized an American
  steamer – Black Warrior
  – Ostend Manifesto: a scheme to offer
    Spain $120 million and seize it if she
    refused the offer
  – Northern Free-Soilers forced Pierce
    to drop its scheme for Cuba
Pacific Railroad Promoters
• The great distance between
  California and the Union caused
  many problems.
• A transcontinental railroad was
  proposed to solve the problems.
• The new problem:
  – Where to build it?
   The Gadsden Purchase
• The best railway route would be
  through the South. In order to
  make it work, a piece of land in
  Mexico was necessary.
• Gadsden Purchase treaty (1853):
  – $10 million dollars for the land
   The Gadsden Purchase
• The Advantages of the Southern
  – Easier to build with fewer high
  – It would pass through organized
    territory with federal troops
  – The threat of natives was lower
• Attempts for the Northern Route:
  – Nebraska would have to be organized
  – Southern states would not approve – it
    would create another free-soil state
  Kansas-Nebraska Scheme
• Stephen A. Douglas
  wanted the railroad to
  take a northern route
  and pass through his
  home state: Illinois
  – It would help his
  – He had made land
    investments in
   Kansas-Nebraska Act
• Divide the Nebraska Territory into
  two – Kansas and Nebraska
• Allow popular sovereignty to
  determine whether slavery would
• The Catch:
  – It would repeal the Missouri
    Compromise of 1820
   Kansas-Nebraska Act
• The Fight in Congress:
  – Southerners jumped at the chance
    to gain another slave state
  – President Pierce backed the bill due
    to the influence of his advisors
  – Northerners fought the act with a
  – Violence threatened to break out in
    the Congressional chambers
      Congress Legislates
          a Civil War
• The Act leads to the Civil War:
  – The Kansas-Nebraska Act undid a 34
    year compromise.
  – It polarized people to the point of no
  – It launched the Republican party -
    whose election of Abraham Lincoln
    sparked the war itself.

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