chapter 18

Chapter 18: Renewing
the Sectional Struggle 1848-52
A. Revolutions in Europe = unrest in America, American feelings of Manifest Destiny grow
1. Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the war with Mexico
2. Mexico gives up massive land including Texas to California = Mexican Cession
B. Both Whigs & Republicans were for national unity, sectionalism was growing
C. 1848 presidential election was between the Democrats and the Whigs
1. President Polk was overworked with bad health, so the Democratic presidential choice was Gen.
Lewis Cass, a pompous veteran & the father of popular sovereignty (self-determination)
2. Whigs nominated Zachary Taylor who had never held civil office or even voted for president.
a. the “Hero of Buena Vista” Known for his fighting abilities; didn’t write speeches well
b. Henry Clay(living embodiment of Whiggism) would have been chosen but he had too many
enemies, dodged issues & didn’t make himself clear on slave issue (he owned many slaves)
c. Free Soil Party organized by those in the North who disliked both Taylor and Cass
1. supported free government homesteads, foreshadowed Republican Party (6 yrs. later)
2. “Free soil, free speech, free labor, and free men”
D. 1848, Gold discovered in California= growing population, greed, and outburst of crime (see p.392)
1. Not many prospered from the gold rush; those who did were mainly suppliers for the miners
E. The Underground Railroad= runaway slaves head north for freedom with “stations” & “conductors”
1. Passengers were assisted by both black and white abolitionists to free-soil
2. Harriet Tubman (1821-1913) ushered over 300 slaves (including her parents), called “Moses”
F. Henry Clay (73 yrs. old) proposed and defended a series of compromises
1. Senator Stephen A. Douglas (1813-61), the “Little Giant” (5’ 4”) from Illinois supported him
2. Webster’s Seventh of March speech (1850) helped turn North towards compromise
a. Abolitionists viewed him as a traitor (he had never joined them), John C. Calhoun died in 1850
3. Compromise of 1850 (p. 399) – new lands/wealth brought more “problems” = need for decisions
North = (1) California a free state, (2) territory disputed by Texas and New Mexico surrendered to
New Mexico, (3) abolition of slave trade in District of Columbia
South = (1) Mexican Cession = territories of Utah and New Mexico, (2) no restriction on slavery
via popular sovereignty, (3) Texas gets $10 million, (4) more stringent fugitive-slave law
G. President Taylor dies (intestinal disorder) = unknowingly assisted the passage of Compromise of 1850
– V-P Millard Fillmore takes over, a 2nd era of good feelings dawned after Taylor’s death
H. 1852 presidential race: Franklin Pierce, a colorless lawyer-politician is nominated by Democrats,
Whigs nominate quality General Winfield Scott (war hero) – Whigs were split in north & south, so
they inevitably lost the election = Demise of Whig party ~1852, realignment of the political
parties begins = Emergence of the Republican Party (late 1850’s) via the 1854 Kansas-Neb.
blunder (Republicans not “allowed” south of the Mason-Dixon line)
I. Ostend Manifesto (1850’s) - America “offered” $120 million for Cuba (slaves=slave state= power
balanced out), if Spain refused and continued “threatening” America (it was our fault) we would
“be justified in wrestling” the island from the Spanish (US also had interests in Panama and
Nicaragua for a canal in Central America, and for the expansions of southern slave land)
J. Gadsden Purchase (1853-54) – US wanted more land from Mexico, especially for flat railroad land, US
tried manipulating more land (N. Trist failed & almost started another Mex-Am war), James Gadsden
negotiated a treaty for $10 million for the southern parts of present day Arizona/New Mexico
(including Tucson!), with new technologies the railroad never came through southern Arizona
(only the Butterfield Stage Coach Company came through Naco and Tucson)
K. Kansas-Nebraska Act 1854 (p.407) – the issue of slavery made these states a battleground
1. Stephan A. Douglas proposed the settlement of Neb. Territory so it would be split in 2 states
2. the act overturned the Missouri Compromise! Popular Sovereignty now rules! …conflict