Many years leading up to and through the Civil War, whether or not slavery should be abolished was a major debate among politicians and common folk alike. One of the many debates going around was the similarities or differences—depending on which side you took—between indentured servants and black slaves. Some argued that indentured servants were there by their own free will, and therefore preserved their liberty; and that slavery a black man was forced upon them, and thereby did not preserve their liberty, which according to the Declaration of Independence, was owed to every man. While some argued that slavery of a black man was not, in fact, wrong, pointing to the similarities between the two. Some pointed out that the U.S. Constitution, through the way it dictates the people be governed, allows slavery, and creates guidelines by which slavery is managed; while others point to the declaration of independence, saying that it grants its freedoms to all people, regardless of race, and that you can’t separate the Constitution from the Declaration of Independence. Abolitionists argued that since slavery violates the Declaration of Independence, it should be abolished through the power of congress; while those in favor of slavery claimed that the central government should not hold that power and that the states should regulate what is permitted inside their borders.
In 1828, Congress passed a tariff labeled the Tariff of Abominations, which put a tax on anything imported from out of the country. Because Europe was able to sell goods to the South at prices the North could not match, it forced the South to pay higher prices for goods from the north, suppressing the Southern economy and helping the North. This put the South in uproar and in 1832, Congress lowered the tariff, but it was unsatisfactory to many in the South. In 1833, South Carolina declared that the tariff was unconstitutional and nullified it inside its borders. Later that year Congress passed both a force bill, which authorized the President to use military force to enforce the tariff, and a new compromise tariff, which was satisfactory to South Carolina. South Carolina repealed its nullification ordinance later that year. During that time John C. Calhoon resigned as Vice President under Andrew Jackson. Their views clashed over nullification, Calhoon believed that if a state didn’t like a federal law, it could nullify it; Jackson thought that only Congress could nullify a federal law
The Kansas-Nebraska act of 1854, created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, opened new lands for settlement and repealed the Missouri Compromise; and it led to the bleeding of Kansas, a series of violent political confrontations between 1854 and 1861. It allowed white male settlers to determine whether or not it would be a free or slave-territory. The result was that masses of pro and anti-slavery people flooded into Kansas with the goal of voting up or voting down slavery. The act was designed by Senator Stephen A. Douglas. He hoped that the act would ease the debate over slavery and that he would not have to choose a side on the issue. Kansas had banned slavery until the act reopened it, causing much uproar in the north saying that the rich slave-owners would buy up all the good land and leave the leftovers to everyone else. Most of the first immigrants were from Missouri, the settled pro-slavery towns such as leavensworth and Atchison. Soon after, many northerners came and settled in Kansas, helped by the New England Immigrant Aid Company; they procured many towns such as Lawrence, Topeka and Manhattan.
A rumor spread in the South that thousands of northerners were arriving in Kansas; many believed this false rumor and in 1854 thousands of armed southerners known as ‘Border Ruffians’ poured into Kansas mostly from Missouri. They swayed the vote to…