Essay on Slavery in the United States and Constitution States

Submitted By Geckodude1
Words: 693
Pages: 3

AP US Essay

Throughout the Pre-Civil war era, conflicts between the north and south began to stir sectional discord and tension that lead to the framing of the constitution, jeopardizing its purpose. Sources of the discord were found under Literature, Polemics, increasing Tariffs, but mainly the Principle of the Constitution on which the governmental power lies within the people. With the basis of this principle conflicting with the views of the north and south ultimately lead to the Civil War. The Principle of the Constitution states that the power of the government lies within the people. This exact principle was based on Popular Sovereignty, meaning that the legitimacy of a state is based and sustained under the consent of its people. During the 1850s, this was an issue. The Kansas-Nebraska act proposed by Stephen Douglas meant that the transcontinental railroad would be moved up north for a terminus in Illinois. Due to the lack of railroad expansions in the south, pro-slavery states did not approve the act, yet wanted something in return. The deal was set in which the railroad was moved up north and Kansas and Nebraska was opened to Popular Sovereignty which repealed the Missouri Compromise and undercut the Compromise of 1850. The repeal of the Missouri Compromise led to the fight for Kansas, which ultimately turned into “Bleeding Kansas”. Pro-Slavery states passed the Lecompton Constitution which contained a win-win policy where if a state passes without slavery, the slave owners are protected by the constitution (5th amendment) as slaves were considered ‘property’. The constitution was killed under Stephen Douglas as he felt that it wasn’t popular sovereignty due to the irregular voting system. The end-results split the Democratic Party and left Kansas in a Territory/State situation. The tension between both sides began to frame the basis of the constitution. Under the same principle, the Northerner’s bewilderment for the Fugitive Law, stating that runaway slaves should be captured and sent back to the south, enraged pro-slavery states. In the north, northerners against slavery felt that the law was unconstitutional and failed to enforce it. In an excerpt, an anonymous Georgian stated that “The framers of the Constitution acted wisely, and embodied in the Constitution all that the South could ask. But two Constitutional provisions are necessary to secure Southern rights upon this important question, the recognition of slavery, where people chose it and the remedy for the fugitive slaves. We hold that the Constitution of the Union does recognize slavery where it exists.” Ironically, the constitution doesn’t recognize slavery, yet slaves were considered “property” hence the failure to enforce the law was unconstitutional. The framers of the constitution emerged from the Southerner’s