Essay about DBQ APUSH

Submitted By erinrose999
Words: 917
Pages: 4

The view that “by the 1850s the Constitution, originally framed as an instrument of national unity, had become a source of sectional discord and tension and ultimately contributed to the failure of the union it had created” is true. This view is supported by the fact that by the mid 1850’s the Union was being split apart by issues such as popular sovereignty, slavery, and secession, which are talked about in the Constitution. An issue like popular sovereignty was talked or written about in many political documents during the 1850’s such as The Great Compromise (1850) and the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854). Popular sovereignty, which is defined as ‘the ability of a state to decide whether or not to permit slavery’, was seen as a right by the Southern states. While the Southern states saw it as a state right, the Northern states had the opposite view that popular sovereignty was a violation of the national unity and supremacy of the Constitution. As seen in Document A, the map of The United States in 1850, the Utah Territory, the New Mexico Territory, and part of Texas had the decision of whether to become a free or slave state. This choice angered the South because they felt that is was not fair to give them a choice, that the states should only be slave states. The Utah Territory, the New Mexico Territory, and part of Texas were called ‘disputed areas’ because the North and South had continuous arguments over what should happen in those territories. This dispute in popular sovereignty did become a source of sectional discord and grew tension between the North and South, which contributed to the failure of the union that the Constitution had created. Next, slavery was a major factor to the failure of the union that the Constitution had created. The South had the belief that in the Constitution, it gave them the right to have slaves, but the North declared that slavery was not mentioned by name in the Constitution. The North often disobeyed the highly opposed Fugitive Slave Law, which demanded the North return runaway slaves to the South. Southerners believed this law was supported by the Constitution and were outraged when the North did not follow it. According to Document D and C, Northerner Ralph Waldo Emerson and Northern Abolitionists did not support The Fugitive Slave Law. In Document D, Emerson states his belief that, “I suppose the Union can be left to take care of itself… but one thing appears certain to me, that, as soon as the Constitution ordains an immoral law, it ordains disunion. The law itself is suicidal and cannot be obeyed. The Union is at an end as soon as a immoral law is enacted.” This means that he believes the Union is at an end because The Fugitive Slave Law is immoral and suicidal. In Document C, Northern abolitionists handed out this handout that was dated on April 24, 1851, to colored people or even free African Americans because The Fugitive Slave Law enacted watchmen and police officers to be able to kidnap or catch suspected slaves on the run in Boston. These views of slavery that were mentioned in the Constitution divided America and contributed to the failure of the Union is had created. Secession helped head to the failure of the Union that the Constitution had created by having an action mentioned about separation in the Constitution. It states that separation was sometimes a necessary act. Southerners believed that the Constitution allowed them to separate from the Union when ‘their rights were violated’, while the North saw the Constitution as a declaration of a Union that cannot be separated. Although the…