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US History. How would you characterize the positions of the North at the time leading up to the Compromise of 1850?

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BSGE Zakir Hussain 11-2 3/17/12 How would you characterize the positions of the North at the time leading up to the Compromise of 1850? During the antebellum period the North and the South lived two very distinct ways of life. The citizens of the South were mostly slave owners and controlled commerce such as textiles because they had slaves to do their labor. Since the South had financial prosperity in the early 1800s, their power in the government was stronger than that of the North. The North wasn't fond of this and needed ways to stimulate their economy. Northerners claimed that British goods that were flooding into the US were hurting North's businesses and demanded that protective tariffs be implemented to protect their economy and way of life (Jordan 243). One of the earliest indications of sectional tension became evident in 1819 when Missouri applied for admission to the Union. The North didn't want Missouri entering the Union as a slave state, seeing that it would give the South/slave states greater power in Congress. The Missouri Compromise was passed in 1820 stating Maine would enter as a free state and Missouri as a slave state (Jordan 247). The 36�30` dividing line was settled as the boundary of southern slavery extension. Although the compromise settled slavery in federal territories for a generation it was apparent that the issue would arise again. ...read more.


Daniel Webster didn't want the South to secede and so he wanted the North to support the stricter Fugitive State Act (Jordan 327). Not only did politicians like Daniel Webster want the Union to stay intact but also common workers and farmers approved the 1850 compromise so the Union would not break up (Levine 396). While some Northerners had the interest of the Union at heart other Northerners at the time wanted to get rid of slavery in the nation; they were considered abolitionists. When Frederick Douglas presented his speech, "The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro" he explained that the whole point of the holiday is to celebrate the notion that all people within the country are free from the chains and bondage that was imposed upon them by Great Britain. Yet he emphasizes that while the white colonists are celebrating freedom, slaves are being reminded on this holiday that they are held captive to great injustice, brutality, and being stripped of free rights. To help the slaves get freedom abolitionist had "local vigilance committees" which helped keep the Underground Railroad, pathway for slaves to escape the South, operational (Levine 395). While ordinary workers and farmers were hoping the Compromise of 1850 would make sure the Union stays intact, abolitionist were having huge meetings where they attacked the compromise for keeping slavery in the growing West and for the compromise having a Fugitive Slave Act (Levine 396). ...read more.


Free-soilers didn't think slavery was wrong, but they didn't like African Americans and believed that if there was no slavery then there would be fewer of African Americans in the states. The prejudice stems from the economic concept of slave labor versus "free labor" (Norton 359). In slave labor a slave works for nothing while a free labor man works like a slave to get a little money. Free-soilers wanted to keep the African Americans out of the West and wanted slavery of out the West. Free-soilers also feared that slaves would ruin the lands in the West as they have nothing to lose and don't have a care for America (Norton 249). All Northerners in general didn't want the South getting power through legislation involving slaves as property. This infuriated the South greatly, as it guided them to consider that the North was trying to eliminate slavery as America expanded west while the South viewed the west influential in expanding slavery throughout America. In 1858, Abraham Lincoln gave an address called the House Divided Speech in which he states "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free" (Norton 320). However the house was indeed dividing, as Northerners (abolitionists, free-soilers, and Unionist) wanted to eliminate slavery while Southerners wanted slavery to expand throughout the land. Slavery was becoming a prominent issue within America and one that would be ultimately decided by a bloody civil war. Word Count: 1376 ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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