Sectional Struggles AP US History
The Union in Peril • The north had been industrializing rapidly, and large cities began popping up all over the northern territory. • The south remained mostly rural, consisting of mostly plantations and small farms. • 1/3 of the population lived in the south, but they produced only 10% of the nation’s manufactured goods.
Slavery in the Territories • August 1846 – Democrat David Wilmot introduced an amendment saying that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall ever exist” in any territory that the United States may acquire in the war with Mexico. Known as the Wilmot Proviso. • This meant CA, UT, and NM would be closed to slavery forever. • Northerners were for it, and Southerners against it, arguing that the Constitution protected “property” • Southerners worried if the Wilmot Proviso was passed, it would shift the balance of power in government to the north permanently.
Statehood for California • As a result of the gold rush, California grew in population and in 1850 held a constitutional convention, which forbade slavery. • Some saw the idea that a state be able to decide on the issue of slavery a good way of settling tension between the north and south. • This angered southerners, who began to threaten secession.
Compromise of 1850 • Henry Clay worked to come up with a compromise to the issue of slavery, especially in the territory acquired from Mexico. • He presented a series of resolutions called the Compromise of 1850: • California would be admitted as a free state • Utah and New Mexico territories would decide about slavery through popular sovereignty. • Texas-New Mexico boundary dispute was resolved and Texas would be paid $10 million by the federal government • The sale of slaves would be banned in D.C., but slavery could continue there. • Fugitive Slave Act required people in the free states to help capture and return escaped slaves.
The Compromise is Adopted • The Senate rejected the compromise at first. Stephen A. Douglas, a politician from Illinois, broke down the compromise and reintroduced it in individual parts • When President Taylor died and Millard Fillmore took over, he made it clear he supported the compromise. • After 8 months, the Compromise of 1850 was voted into law.
Fugitive Slave Act • A component of the Compromise of 1850 • Alleged fugitives were not entitled to a trial by jury • Fugitives could not testify on their own behalf • A statement by a slave owner was all that was required to have a slave returned. • Those in charge of enforcing the law were awarded $10 for returning them fugitive slaves, but only $5 for freeing them. • Anyone convicted of helping a run away slave was subject to a fine of $1,000 or prison for 6 months.
The North Reacts • Nine northern states passed personal liberty laws, forbidding the imprisonment of runaway slaves and guaranteed them a trial by jury. • Trials would often be carried out over several years, to increase slave catchers’ expenses.
The Underground Railroad • Over time, free African Americans and white abolitionists developed a secret network of people to aid fugitives in their escape. This was known as the Underground Railroad. • “Conductors” hid slaves in secret locations, providing them with food and clothing, and helping to escort them to their next ‘station’.
Harriet Tubman • One of the most famous Underground Railroad Conductors. • Born into slavery, but escaped to Philadelphia in 1849 after the death of her owner. • Made 19 trips back to the south and saved 300 slaves, including her own parents.
Tension in Kansas & Nebraska • Tension arose when slavery resurfaced, even though it was supposedly settled by the Compromise of 1850. • Needed to divide the territory west of Iowa and Missouri. In 1854, Stephen Douglas proposed to divide it into two territories, Kansas and Nebraska. • Wanted slavery decided through popular sovereignty.
Kansas-Nebraska Act • Jan 1854- Douglas introduced a bill to Congress to divide the land into two territories. • If passed, it would repeal the Missouri Compromise and establish popular sovereignty for both territories. • 90% of Southern congressmen voted for it. • Became law in May 1854.