One of the more consistent developments of America at this time was the westward expansion and the growth of the population. Society in the West was more appealing than society in the East. One of the many appealing factors of the West was that is was a democracy.
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Western states allowed people to vote and they did so to make the West more attractive for immigrants. Soon enough the East feared that they would lose people to the West so the East promised the people with similar democratic freedoms. Westward expansion did imply the expansion of slavery also. Slavery was already being debated across the country and the Northern states were actively voting to end slavery. Slavery was never banned. Slavery was seen as a profitable source to have so slavery grew within the Southern states as did the demand for cotton. This created a fine division between the North and South. New admission of states created controversy and created division within politics. The Missouri Compromise was constructed to create a greater division amongst states. States below the line were slave states and states above, were free states. This seemed to solve the problem for the time being.
The growth and development of the West dictated that soon the West would have to elect a president. When John Quincy Adams emerged, the West had to reconsider whom they would elect following the presidency of Andrew Jackson. Jackson had previously really appealed to the Westerners, being a man of the West himself. Jackson was once again voted into office and it upset the traditionalists. Jackson was to be called the peoples president. Not all of Jacksons decisions made him very likable. Jackson initiated another Indian removal which pushed natives out of their homes. The emergence of democracy during the presidency of Jackson added another element to the reason for expansion. Americans believed they had achieved the highest level of government and naturally, the people wanted to share this higher level government. From these ideas, the Manifest Destiny was born. America was claiming new land with the intentions of promoting democracy.
The Manifest Destiny changed politics. A democratic party emerged alongside the Whigs. Whigs were not as happy about the expansion as the Democrats were. During the time of westward expansion in the presidential battle were Clay and Polk. Clay, a Whig, denied taking a stand on the issue of expansion, whereas, Polk, a Democrat, was looking to expand. Whigs had a justifiable reason to oppose expansion. Whigs had a fear that expanding would lead to war and conflict. Polk and the Democrats still encouraged expansion. Polk won the presidency and began expanding soon after. Polk did achieve admitting Texas into the Union, but Mexico was still unhappy and troops from the Union and Mexico met at the border to fight it out.
Throughout this time in history, legislation and political leaders were always unpredictable. New legislation was being written, voted unconstitutionally, and changed by whoever took office. There is no doubt that Abraham Lincolns presidency was most effective by trying to abolish the number one labor force in the Union at that time. The Nullification Crisis reinforced the division of the North and South which weakened the established two-party systems. The inability of a leader after leader to come to a compromise placed liberty above the Union and weakened the two-party system. The Dred Scott case brought to the people’s attention that Congress had less power than they had thought. The uncertainty and lack of compromise in politics were not beneficial.
America was striving to rise up and achieve upward mobility by the addition of new territory. America was developing into a self-made motherhood. Yet, the division of the North and South, the Missouri Compromise, and Manifest Destiny were acts of legislation that weakened the two-party system. The sectional presidencies could not hold the union together and either could the legislation. Presidencies were struggling to create legislation that would hold the Union together. Although America was expanding, it was falling apart.
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