Chapter 14The Union in Peril The American People, 6th ed.
The Wilmot Proviso • Amendment added to a congressional appropriations bill prohibiting slavery for ever existing in any territories acquired from Mexico
Popular Sovereignty • The idea that individual territories applying for statehood should decide the issue of slavery for themselves.
The Compromise of 1850 • California entered the Union as a free state • Territorial governments were organized in New Mexico and Utah to apply the principle of popular sovereignty • The slave trade was abolished in the District of Columbia • A new Fugitive Slave Act of 1850
Consequences of Compromise • Political alignment along party lines grew stronger • Previously unheard, Americans were now discussing ideals of higher law than the Constitution: succession and disunion • Abolitionists stepped up work on the Underground Railroad and several states prohibited elected officials and organizations from participation in slave hunting
The Kansas-Nebraska Act • Stephen Douglas of the Whig party, introduced a bill organizing the Nebraska Territory (which included Kansas) • Southerners opposed the organization of the territory unless slavery was permitted • Douglas suggested the application of popular sovereignty to the issue as the entire territory fell north of the Missouri Compromise line • Issue inflamed all sides of the slavery issue, dragging the country closer to war.
“Young America” • Americans dedicated to the ideals of a nationalistic vision that included slavery and was modeled upon the revolutions of the era in Europe • Specifically interested in the expansion of America into the Latin American continent and the Caribbean
The Know-Nothings • Nativist political action party comprised mostly of former Whigs who were dedicated to staunching the tide of foreign immigrants to the United States • If asked about their affiliation with the group, members were told to respond, “I Know Nothing.”
“Bleeding Kansas” • On the eve of the Civil War, militant abolitionist John Brown and a few followers crept into a pro slavery settlement outside of Lawrence, Kansas • They dragged five men out of their homes and hacked them to death with swords • This act led to a series of violence in the divided territory
Sectional Splits in the Democratic Party • Dred Scott v. Sanford: Supreme Court decision regarding the claims of freedom of a slave that had been transported into a free state. • The constitutional crisis in Kansas: the pro-slavery Lecompton constitution was created without a mandate from majority of settlers of Kansas; it led to an uncertain status for Kansas and divided the Democrats further
The Lincoln-Douglas debates in Illinois: Lincoln’s persuasive debates regarding slavery drew away a substantial chunk of the Democratic party. • John Brown’s Raids: Still on the lose after the Kansas massacre, John Brown hope to provoke a general uprising of eastern slaves by attacking the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. Brown was captured, tried, executed, and eventually became a martyr for the abolitionist/ Unionist cause
Secession • On December 20, 1860, South Carolina seceded form the Union; by February, six other Deep South states had followed her lead. • A week later a delegation met in Montgomery, Alabama to create the Confederacy. • On April 12, shelling of Fort Sumter signaled the start of the American Civil War.