Lecture 13b - Upper Iowa University

Hist 110
American Civilization I
Instructor: Dr. Donald R. Shaffer
Upper Iowa University
Lecture 13b
Compromise of 1850
 Soon after the end of the Mexican War,
gold was discovered in California
California, encouraged by President
Taylor, applied for statehood as a free
state, igniting a political crisis that
threatened to rip the Union apart
 Positions
John C. Calhoun: open all the Mexican
cession to slavery
 James Buchanan: extended the Missouri
Compromise line to the Pacific
 Stephen Douglas: Popular Sovereignty –
let the settlers in the West decide
 Free Soil: close the West to slavery
 Henry Clay proposed a grand
compromise that was later adopted
 California admitted as a free state
 Slavery possible in Utah and New
Mexico territories
 Stronger fugitive slave law
 Slave trade ended in Washington, D.C.
 New Mexico-Texas border dispute
settled in New Mexico’s favor (Texas
It was Stephen Douglass
clever parliamentarian
maneuvering that ultimately
got Henry Clay’s Omnibus
bill passed as a number of
separate bills
Lecture 13b
Aftermath of the Compromise of 1850
Personal Liberty Laws
The most controversial part of the
Compromise was the new Fugitive Slave
Law that promised slaveholders they
would be able to recover escaped slaves
from the free states
Northern state legislatures passed laws
to make it difficult to enforce
It would take the Pierce administration
$1 million to return one fugitive slave,
Anthony Burns, from Massachusetts
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Many white Southerners felt betrayed by
the realization that the new Fugitive
Slave Law was essentially unenforceable
They were further antagonized in 1852 by
the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin by
Harriet Beecher Stowe
The book’s serialization in northern
newspapers and widespread
dramatization brought a sympathetic
portrayal of the plight of slaves to
northern audiences who had not been
conscious before of the issue
“The Rendition of Anthony Burns”
Harriet Beecher Stowe & her book
Lecture 13b
Rise of the Republican Party
 As the 1850s progressed, slavery
increasingly split apart both Whig and
Democratic parties
 Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854)
Ostensibly a law to organize Kansas and
Nebraska for territorial government, it
ultimately tore apart the Whigs and led to
the rise of the Republican Party
 Stephen Douglas, the bill’s sponsor,
wanted to make Kansas a testing ground
for popular sovereignty
 Southerners demanded the repeal of the
Missouri Compromise line as the price for
their support, which led Northern Whigs
to leave the party en mass and form the
new Republican Party, committed to the
principle of free soil
 Bleeding Kansas
Kansas literally became a battleground as
pro- and anti-slavery zealots competed
over whether it would have slavery
 Most settlers were free soil, but pro-slave
Missourians crossed the border and
fraudulently elected a pro-slavery
territorial government after which open
civil warfare broke out in the territory
Political cartoon critical of the
Kansas-Nebraska Act
Lecture 13b
Buchanan’s Failed Presidency
 Democrat James Buchanan won the 1856
Presidential election with only a plurality
of the popular vote
He is widely derided by historians for his
inaction and incompetency in trying to
prevent the outbreak of the Civil War
 Dred Scott decision (1857)
Buchanan’s first blunder was to encourage
the U.S. Supreme Court to try to settle the
issue of slavery in the territories
 A southern majority court led by Chief
Justice Roger Taney ruled in the case of
slave Dred Scott that Scott had no claim
to freedom because Congress had no
authority over slavery in the territories
 This decision seemingly opened to entire
West to slavery, antagonizing the North
 John Brown’s raid (1859)
In 1859, abolitionist zealot John Brown
raided the federal armory at Harper’s
Ferry, Virginia in a failed attempt to start
a general slave revolt across the South
 The raid convinced many white
Southerners they were no longer safe in
the Union
Lecture 13b
The Election of 1860
 Rise of Abraham Lincoln
A one-term Congressman in the late
1840s, Lincoln’s political career fizzled
until he was tapped by the Republicans to
challenge Stephen Douglas in the 1858
U.S. Senate race in Illinois
 He lost to Douglas, but gained a national
profile leading to his nomination in 1860
as the Republican candidate for president
 Lincoln faced three opponent: Stephen
Douglas and John C. Breckenridge,
representing respectively the northern
and southern wings of the sectionallydivided Democratic Party, and John Bell,
the nominee of the Constitutional Union
Party made up of Border State Whigs
 Lincoln, who supported free soil,
managed to win the election essentially
with northern votes alone, which
convinced the states of the Deep South
to secede
Abraham Lincoln
as he appeared
in 1860
John C.