Week six requires students to read Chapter 11: A Nation on the Move: Westward Expansion, 1800-1860, and Chapter 11 traces the aggressive expansion of the United States after 1800 until 1860. Beginning with the Louisiana Purchase, westward expansion continued until Mexico ceded territory by way of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. As the United States expanded from sea to sea, expansion led to debates over the extension of slavery into this newly acquired territory. We then move on to Chapter 13: Antebellum Idealism and Reform Impulses, 1820-1860, and Chapter 14: Troubled Times: The Tumultuous 1850s. In chapter 14, students will follow the various reform movements that emerged during the Antebellum period and how religious movements such as the second Great Awakening shaped their views. Reformers advocated for a variety of changes including the abolition of slavery, women’s rights, and temperance to name a few. Chapter 14 highlights the sectional controversy that occurred during the 1850s that set the stage for the unraveling of American democracy and the Civil War. Topics such as the Compromise of 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act, Harriet Tubman’s heroism, the expansion of slavery into western territories, the Dred Scot decision, and John Brown’s Raid will be discussed to show students the events leading up to the dissolution of the Union.
What happened to American Political leadership in the 1850’s? Why do you think this occurred? How was this problem reflected in the election of 1860? In your opinion, how did this situation contribute to the development of a Civil War? What factors precipitated the Secession Crisis of December 1860- May of 1861? How did each of the major players (Buchanan, Lincoln, Davis) attempt to manage this crisis? Why did this political crisis spiral into warfare so quickly?
What was “Manifest Destiny”? What Obstacles confronted it in the period between 1835 and 1844? How did James K. Polk confront these obstacles? What problems faced the United States as a result of the Mexican War?
When and why was the Republican party formed? What were its main positions, and who were they designed to attract? Why do you think it was such a big success in such a short time?
Note – Answer in three different word docs and respond to two of your classmates:
In the 1850’s American Political leadership took a decline in the Whig party and the Republican Party came to light. The Republican party attracted remaining Whigs, Democrats who couldn’t stand the Kansas- Nebraska Act, Free-Soil Party members, slavery abolitionists. The Republicans were against slavery and this infuriated many southerners and created a huge divide between political parties Democrats vs. Republicans. I think this occurred because of the Compromise of 1850. This set 5 laws into act and the Fugitive Slave Act, which made it a crime not only to help slaves escape, but also to fail to help capture them. (Chapter 14, Pg. 418) this actually made people upset and even had people actually participating in helping slaves escape for example the underground railroad. Another reason I think this occurred is because of the Kansas- Nebraska Act, 1854 which allowed each new territory to decided based off of popular sovereignty on whether or not they were going to allow slavery. However, Douglas passed that the region be split into two territories that Nebraska (North) and Kansas (South). The issue with popular sovereignty is southern people crossed the border into Kansas (Southern State) to vote for slavery- add to the vote to keep it. I think this just infuriated people and ultimately there was no choice but to be divided in the concept of slavery.
This problem was reflected in the election of 1860 because Abraham Lincoln a Republican was heavily against the continuation of slavery. All new states must be free states and rights must be protected. The country was torn between proslavery and the popular sovereignty and Lincoln was against expansion of slavery into the new states while Douglas thought slavery should stay the same.
I think that this situation contributed to the development of the civil war because there was no compromise during this time. The south really disliked Lincoln who was President. Lincoln wanted to ban slavery but the south relied heavily on slavery as their main source of income and economy. However because of the split on proslavery and abolitionists, the south wanted to withdraw from the union and based it off of federal government not being able to overrule what the state agreed upon. With the withdraw from the union, was the makeup of the Confederacy in the states. The confederates supported state’s rights and were pro-slavery. There was no hope for compromise during this time, despite efforts from the North.
The factors that contributed to the Secession Crisis of December 1860 and May 1861 were Lincoln becoming President and against slavery in new territories, the South was content with keep slavery and becoming would could eventually be a new country, Lincoln, did not want to see that happen as a President and thought of the secession as anarchy. Southerners just could not rationalize or compromise that Lincoln’s Presidency would not ruin their economy. South Carolina was one of the first states to go and the deep south followed.
Key roles and their attempts to manage the crisis:
James Buchanan: Prior President who didn’t really have a say in Slavery, sided with Lincoln in the civil war.
Lincoln: President of the U.S. and he wanted to save the Union and freed all slaves in areas of the rebellion which was the Emancipation Proclamation.
Davis: Was the President of the “Confederate States of America” – his goal was to secede peacefully without war and protect slavery.
The political crisis turned into warfare quickly because the political parties could not find a common ground. There was too much disagreement, moral issues, people dividing, and without the war then there is a chance that America would have been divided into two countries based off of slavery being the main reason for this divide.