The Breaking Points over Slavery that Led to Violence in America

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Westward expansion prompted the North and South to face sectional divisions because of slavery. Slavery was a controversial issue that caused violent disputes between abolitionists and pro-slavery aspirants. Because of newly attained territory in the west, states and cities began to form and prosper. California thrived as gold was discovered, and Chicago blossomed due to the international railroad. However, admitting states and acquiring land developed heavy debates between the North and South. The North and South were alienated by sectional divisions that caused each region to make laws solving their own dilemmas. These independent resolutions caused arguments to unite between the North and South and provided them each with a motive to expand into the West. Differing views on slavery prompted the conflicts between the balance of power in the Senate, the interim compromises, and the violence throughout America.

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The western territories admitting as states in the Union created controversy in the Senate over slavery. The North and South wanted the Senate to have equal representation; however, when Missouri wanted to become a part of the United States, it interrupted the equal balance of power between the free and slave states. Due to this instability, the Missouri Compromise was passed in Congress to satisfy this discrepancy. This would only please the North and South temporarily before further slavery views and divisions would arise. Passing the Missouri Compromise would put into motion the adoption of Missouri as a slave state in the Union and Maine as a free state. Missouri was entered as the twenty fourth state and when the state was formed, it was admitted into the Union equal to the original thirteen states. Adding a state into the Union with ensured equality to the original thirteen states, verifies righteous and fair treatment of the government to every state no matter the date of admission. This stopped future slave states from admitting to the union in the Louisiana Purchase areas, and all states that were admitted to union south of the 3630′ were considered slave States. The Missouri Compromise prohibiting slavery north of the 3630′ parallel line, also prevented southern expansion of slavery to the west, which did not please the South. On the other hand, the Northerners were content with this passed law, and continued to strive for abolition. The Missouri Compromise succeeded in establishing peace temporally, but there were many more acts of Congress that were presented to attempt to completely obliterate the sectional divisions created by the concerning conflict of slavery.

In addition to the Missouri Compromise, the following Compromise of 1850 revised the issue on slavery, the organization of new territories, and furthermore adjusted the sectional debate over the balance of free and slave states. This additional Compromise in 1850 by Henry Clay, proposed a new set of resolutions to address these problems.

The first three of the solutions focused on statehoods and territories, such that Texas would have received western and northern boundaries and remained in charge of its own debts. It also established New Mexico’s territory and organized New Mexico and Utah under popular sovereignty, which would determine the states fate on slavery, in addition to admitting California to the Union as a free state. The Admission of California to the Union upset the Senate, giving free states the majority representation and the North an advantage. Other laws consisted of revising fugitive slave laws and ending slave trades in the District of Columbia.

The Northerners disliked the Fugitive slave law because it forced Northern citizens to seize and return any runaway slave from the South back to their slave owner. This law was strongly unfavored in the North because of the violation of their liberty, but the Congress controlling slave power gratified the South. Moreover, the Compromise of 1850 created more problems than it had solved. John C. Calhoun thought the balance between North and South had long been destroyed and believed if the North and South could not agree and remained unsettled, they should agree to part in peace. Meanwhile, Daniel Webster agreed with Clay in supporting the compromise to end tensions between the North and South, and attempted to save the Union from destruction. In apprehension of sectional differences, people of the North and South had separate expectations when it came to the result of slavery. Webster from the North was willing to mend all problems to protect the Union, but Calhoun from the South was prepared to divide and disrupt the Union. The Compromises were passed by Congress to settle slave versus free state debates within the West. Nonetheless, these differing views in the North and South on slavery and how it contributes in the West created more of the conflict they experienced later. The interim Missouri Compromise and Compromise of 1850 were established to provide a solution, but it pressed the country more towards violence and war then it did for peace.

The stability of the Senate was questioned again when Americans hit Manifest Destiny. The desire to expand further west to acquire more land and resources was a prevalent solution. The people sought for control from coast to coast. In doing that, Kansas and Nebraska came across admission complications, and Texas and California were discovered. Therefore, causing divisions to transpire in the North and South, which led to more conflict. To gain control of the lands west and south of the Louisiana purchase, America needed to obtain it First from Mexico, which initiated the Mexican-American War. The United States gained millions of acres of Mexican land, which threatened the balance in the Senate as this expansion stimulated slave holding further west. Southerners aspired for slavery to expand into the new states because they sought to secure their power by gaining more votes in the Senate. In response to extending slavery, David Wilmot proposed his solution that slavery should not exist in any part of this newly attained territory, but this was never passed. Northerners were in full support of this Provision due to fearing southern slave power, and Southerners deemed this unconstitutional. The North and South upheld different viewpoints on pushing slavery beyond its borders in the South however, white men continually were encouraged to move west, mainly because of the California gold rush. The newly acquired territories created supplementary disputes over slavery between the North and South because of each region’s ambition for power.

The sectional oppositions between the North and South states developed to a point where violence was presented to achieve power and representation in the Senate. When Kansas and Nebraska petitioned for statehood, they were required to admit as free states due to the Missouri compromise.
However, the Southern states threatened to secede from the Union because they disapproved of the admittance of Kansas and Nebraska as free states. To satisfy the Southern states, Congress passed the Kansas Nebraska Act to allow popular sovereignty. Yet, Tensions increased between each side when voters from Missouri snuck over to Kansas to vote to make it a slave state.

The abolitionists attempted to sweep Kansas of slavery by attesting to the state as free, but pro-slavery activists refused to let their power dissipate. Since, the Senate was the only power the South still held in comparison to the North, losing the additional Senate votes from these admitting states, caused the South’s slave power to diminish. These Tensions resulted in a violent manner to win Kansas’ and Nebraska’s votes on the issue of slavery. This outbreak of mayhem spread across the country, leaving thousands of people to be killed. Soon after the massacre it would receive its name, Bleeding Kansas, because of the demolishing and grueling behavior that the pro and anti-slavery aspirants contributed to the cause. The North and South’s completely differing views caused them to result in violence. However, their inability to settle the dispute of slavery entirely, later caused the country to result in war.
In addition to the violence that was developed between Northern and Southern enthusiasts, the concept of slavery also caused unrest between the slaves and their masters. Violence was a common act of mutiny in most settings. North and South’s conflicting outlooks shaped the ongoing debate on slavery, therefore causing the atrocious slave revolts that instigated many people’s deaths. Nat Turner’s and John Brown’s rebellions attempted to eradicate slavery by pushing for bloodshed in the South.

Nat Turner’s rebellion in 1831 was an upheaval led by Nat Turner in South Hampton County, Virginia to guide his people out of bondage. A former slave, Turner and six co-conspirators killed his master and his family, then continued to other plantations to murder as many whites possible. This rebellion petrified white Southerners and led to stricter restrictions on free and enslaved African Americans in the South.

To Punish the slaves for their outburst, Southerners subdued them by placing stronger decrees to reduce their already limited freedom. Slavery promoted the violence that shook the South with fear and caused the South to believe that the North’s anti-slavery activism would stimulate more revolts. However, this did postulate Northern resentment towards the South for slaughtering innocent slaves in retaliation from the rebellion, which commenced groups of people to assist runaway slaves by using the underground railroad.

John Brown led an unsuccessful rebellion in Harpers Ferry, Virginia in 1859, in hope of taking over the federal arsenal. Brown recruited sixteen whites and five black men to seize the town and armory, freeing slaves and taking several whites as hostages. They defended their barricade until federal authorities overpowered it, and they died fighting for their cause.

Southerners once again lived with the constant terror of slave uprisings but were pleased to know that none of the slaves joined in on the fight. Though, Northerners commended John Brown for his actions, and many treated him as a ??martyr.?? However, Nat Turner and John Brown impacted the North and South’s diverse positions on slavery and were arguably the two incentives that established the tensions that eventually culminated into the Civil War.

The contradictory views on slavery prompted the sectional divisions that drove America into violence. Because of the instability that the Senate had endorsed, the balance of power led to the interim compromises created by the Congress. The Missouri Compromise was declared to limit slavery and balance the Senate after it was disturbed from Missouri admitting into the Union. This compromise provided a solution over the disputed slave and free states. However, this was short lived as the Oregon, Nebraska, and Kansas territory was divided into States which upraised this indiscretion again. The Compromise of 1850 also tried to mend this problem in order to keep the North and South at peace, but later because of the admittance of Kansas and Nebraska, the country resolved in violence over this issue. The North and South both desired the satisfaction of securing power, so they could make their own changes. The balance of power in the Senate, the interim compromises, and the violence throughout America caused war, and that war eventually restored harmony in America. The Civil War and its upbringings have shaped America to what it is today. The North and South continuously face diverse challenges and endure varied lifestyles, but because of the disagreements and rivalry, America has grown together and prospered.

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The Breaking Points Over Slavery That Led to Violence in America. (2021, Mar 04). Retrieved November 27, 2022 , from

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