Slavery Research Paper

Submitted By filming210
Words: 1222
Pages: 5

The Battle for Slavery In the early 1800s the United States began the mission of westward expansion. The concept of Manifest Destiny encouraged Americans to spread their civilization all the way west, to the Pacific Ocean, and even down into Mexico and Central America. However, with this expansion the consistent political issues that surrounded America followed. America had been debating the issue of slavery for some time, and as the country expanded westward, the debate began to focus on the controversy of slavery within these new territories. Some of the major players in the scheme of finding a solution to the debate over slavery in the west were, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the idea of Popular Sovereignty, and John Brown. The Kansas-Nebraska act of 1854 created a popular sovereignty in the Kansas and Nebraska territories west of Missouri, and thus nullified the Missouri compromise by reopening the issue of slavery into the states (Brinkley 364). The Missouri compromise stated simply that Missouri and only Missouri could be a slave state even though it was above the central border across American that divided the slave states and free states (Brinkley 226). The Kansas-Nebraska Act void and replaced the Missouri compromise by making the territory west of Missouri into two separate states. “That all that part of the territory of the United States included within the following limits, except such portions thereof as are hereinafter expressly exempted from the operations of this act, to wit: beginning at a point in the Missouri River where the fortieth parallel of north latitude crosses the same” (Kansas-Nebraska Act). Senator Douglas took it upon himself to solve the controversy over the expansion of slavery in these territories by proposing this bill. In doing so, he enraged many Americans and added to the sectional controversy. Each of the states were allowed to vote and decide as to whether or not slavery was allowed and/or approved by the state, through popular sovereignty (Brinkley 359). Since slavery was now up for a vote, the chance of slavery becoming legal was available once again. The Kansas-Nebraska Act brought heavy political and economic pressure to Kansas and Nebraska. Economically, farmers nearly begged for new land, and a rail route through a northern route was beginning to establish. Politically, there was a northern uproar to the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The Kansas-Nebraska Act brought about a dramatic change in the two party system. The Whigs abandoned their party and joined the Democrats, while northern Democrats repudiated their own party, and formed a new one called the Republican Party (Brinkley 364). The debate over slavery in Kansas became heated as the south fought for pro-slavery and the north sought after a free state. All out war broke out within Kansas when it became a slave state through southern manipulations, and an anti-slave government was established in the north. This mini civil war within the state was known as Bleeding Kansas (Brinkley 364). The events of Bleeding Kansas lead to the formation of a new movement titled the Freesoilers. The Freesoilers were against the expansion of slavery, but did not call for the abolition of slavery in states where it already existed; their main goal was to gain the land to the west, and keep the land free of both blacks and slaves (Brinkley 366). Many such as John Magee put the blame of Bleeding Kansas on Douglas, Pierce, and other Democrats, due to their quick passing of the Nebraska Kansas as illustrated in his cartoon (Magee). Although the Freesoilers were against the idea of slavery in Kansas and to the west, they had no intention of abolishing slavery all together. However to several radical abolitionists such as John Brown that was their ultimate goal. John Brown has been called a saint, a fanatic, and a cold-blooded murderer. The debate over his memory, his motives, and about the true nature of John Brown continues to stir passionate debate.