Popular Sovereignty - Trimble County Schools

Election of 1848
Polk would not run for reelection -- ailing
 Democrats nominate General Lewis Cass
– “Father of popular sovereignty”
Slavery: Turn nat’l issue into local issue – shove it under the rug
– Flaw: Might spread slavery
Whigs nominate Zachary Taylor – “Hero of Buena Vista”
– Whigs Didn’t choose Clay – too many enemies
– Dodged most significant issues, no formal stance on extension of
slavery – shove it under the rug
Free Soil Party (ardent anti-slaveryites) nominated Martin
Van Buren
– Supported Wilmot Proviso
– Only with “Free Soil” in the west could a family hope to move
Taylor Wins
California Gold Rush
Ignited issue of slavery from underneath Taylor –
had hoped to sit on the issue
– Tens of thousands flooded California – no stable
government established – rampant crime and mayhem
– 1849 – Drafted a Constitution (excluding slavery) and
applied for admission
– Slave states protested
South had majority in cabinet and SC and equality in the
Senate – 15 slave states could easily veto any proposed Const.
Feared tipping of balance
Angered by call for abolition in D.C. (location), Loss of
runaways through Underground Railroad – wanted more
stringent fugitive slave law
Compromise of 1850
How do we keep the nation together and deal with
Key Players: Clay, Calhoun, and Webster
– Clay defended compromising
– Calhoun Rejected concessions – leave slavery alone, return runaway
slaves, restore balance
– Webster defended Clay’s calls for compromise – famous “Seventh of
March Speech”
Deadlock in Congress
Taylor would likely veto any compromises
– Taylor dies unexpectedly ->Millard Fillmore
– Compromise
Cal admitted as Free State
Formed NM & UT Terr. Open to
pop. Sov.
Disputed Texas Territory given to NM
Texas given $10 mil
Abolish slave trade (but not slavery) in DC
Stringent Fugitive slave law
Better Deal?
– Cal as free state tipped the balance
– Disputed “Texas” territory had been ripped from
slaveholding Texas
Almost certain to be free – pop sov.
– Abolition of Slave Trade in D.C.
– Most Controversial – Fugitive Slave Law
 Enraged Northerners – some refused to enforce (like SC in
Election of 1852
Democrats – couldn’t decide who to run
– Franklin Pierce (who’s he?)
Dark-horse, enemyless – (prosouthern northerner – accepted by the
proslaveryites of the Dem party)
Platform – territorial expansion, support of Compromise of 1850
(including Fugitive Slave Law)
Whigs – probably should have run someone associated
with Compromise of 1850 (Fillmore or Webster)
– Went with tradition (military leader) – Winfield Scott
– Whigs were Split
Antislavery (North) did not agree with Scott’s endorsement of the
Fugitive Slave Law
Southern Whigs agreed with platform, but weren’t convinced of Scott’s
commitment to the Compromise of 1850
Pierce Wins -- landslide
Expansion South?
South needed more slave territory (UT and NM territories
left to popular sovereignty)– Caribbean
– William Walker tried to take control of Nicaragua
Pierce withdrew diplomatic recognition
Coalition of Central American nations formed against him – firing squad
– Polk had considered offering Spain $100 million (Spanish
– Southerners try to invade – repelled
– Angry mob attacks Spain’s consulate in New Orleans
– Spain seizes Black Warrior
Spain won’t have support of England, France, or Russia – Crimean War
– Ostend Manifesto
U.S. offer $120 mil – if refused, US justified in taking
Northerners embittered – Pierce Administration drops
The Gadsden Purchase
Transportation Problems – land transportation was
necessary to the keep the Pacific Coast from breaking
– Solution: Transcontinental Railroad
– Could only afford one line – North or South?
Rewards: Wealth, Population, and Influence
Economically, South was losing the race with the North
– South is eager for railroad
– Best route in the South ran slightly south of Mexican border
(needed another chunk of Mexico)
James Gadsden negotiates treaty w/ Santa Anna in 1853 -- $10 million
Allowed South to insist on Railroad
– Had land, mountains were less high, route would not pass through any
unorganized territory (NM officially a territory w/ federal troops)
Douglas’s Kansas-Nebraska
Stephen Douglas’ counter attack to South’s
Gadsden Purchase
– Cut Nebraska Territory in two (Kan. & Neb.) –
Slavery would be determined by popular sovereignty
– Assumed Nebraska would be free, Kansas would be
slave – maintain balance
Problem – Contradiction of MC
– KS is due west of Missouri – north of 36°30’
Southerners saw a chance to gain one more slave state
Northerners react with opposition to the Fugitive Slave
Most importantly, rise of the Republican Party!
– Moral argument against spread of slavery