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Westward Expansion and Slavery

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Westward Expansion and Slavery The North and the South had always been in turmoil, even from the beginning of United States history. At the Constitutional Convention, for example, they argued over congressional elections, and slavery. Although never mentioned in the Constitution it is evident that these two regions fought bitterly over the sensitive issue and came to great compromises such as the 3/5ths clause and the 1808 clause. Yet the two did agree on two things, the first was that they decided to cast aside the issue of slavery until 1808, and the second was they envisioned the expansion of the United States. Little did they know shortly after their tremendous decisions, the North and South would fight in a long war dealing with slavery, prompted by the Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas Nebraska Act, and the Dred Scott decision. ...read more.


(Westward Expansion, 40) Although it sounded nice in theory there were flaws within the new compromise. For example, there was a new fugitive slave law, which denied criminal civil rights to escaped slaves, and allowed the government to prosecute whites that helped out fugitives. What brought on this new law was the case of Prigg v. Pennsylvania in 1842, which stated it was legal for a slave owner to capture their slave even if he was in a free state. (Oxfords Companion to the Supreme Court, ) Due to this ruling the North refused to hear cases regarding fugitive slaves, because of this the south retaliated and was able to get the Fugitive Slave law enacted. The Kansas Nebraska Act, unlike the Missouri Compromise and Compromise of 1850, which allowed some form of government to decide on the issue of slavery, allowed the settlers decide whether or not they wanted slavery. ...read more.


Justice Taney, however, did not agree. In his opinion Justice Taney first said slaves were property so they could therefore not be taken away by anything or anyone, because they were property they could not sue in federal court, and they could never be US citizens. Any claim made by a slave about being in a free state was invalid because he was nothing but property and could never legally be a citizen. (Oxfords Companion to the Supreme Court, ) Despite the framers of our Constitution wanting us to be united, unfortunately, for a small, but significant part of US History the country was divided. The United States was divided due to the fact that at the Convention the issue of slavery was never agreed upon. This later led to disputes and compromises made by the North and South regarding land and slaves. These issues very inner-related only became resolved by a bloody civil war. Laura Koistinen Period 4 01/07/03 ...read more.

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