Slavery: Compromise of 1850 and Popular Sovereignty Essay

Submitted By apushstudent614
Words: 580
Pages: 3

The Mexican war and its aftermath projected vividly the sectionalist views of New Englanders, Westerners, and Southerners through the explosively controversial topic of slavery. The United States seemed only united in their name, as the country was split.
First and foremost, the war started with President Polk, a Whig. The Whigs believed Western expansion was the key to Manifest Destiny, once the war was one and the land was claimed Zachary Taylor had become the last Whig president who welcomed the idea of California and Texas as free-states, this struck a nerve as the South at this time consisted mainly of Pro-Slavery Whigs, from this came the “fire-eaters” an extremist group who were vehemently Pro-slave and pro-secession. It was not long before politicians were not loyal to the convictions of their respective parties, because of this, many politicians took sides, furthering the sectionalism and division of the country.
“A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free” This quote by Lincoln says much about the political setting of this period pertaining to slavery with both sides struggling for power; The North feared the admission of California and Texas (although, it was below the 36’30 line and therefore should have been a slave state according to the Missouri Compromise) as slave states because it would give the predominantly slave South a majority in the house, knowing this, The south wished to seize this excellent opportunity to push slavery into the Western Territory where the climate would allow for even more profit from cash crops. These opposing views lead to the Compromise of 1850, which included California’s admission to the Union as a free state, and to appease the South it also included the Fugitive Slave Act, which was met with ridicule by Free-soilers, who disagreed with the return of captured slave to their masters, calling it the “Bloodhound Law”. The Compromise also brought the boundary dispute surrounding Texas, making it a free state, favoring New Mexico and organized the lands acquired from Mexico, yet not mentioning slavery.
Furthermore, this “Compromise” was not enough to keep the peace, the balance of powers didn’t seem to be the ends meet and eventually the Missouri Compromise would be repealed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act, so that popular sovereignty would decide if