1850’s DBQ Essay
“In a government where sectional interests and feelings may come into conflict, the sole security for permanence and peace is to be found in a Constitution whose provisions are inviolable” (Document B). But, what if the answer is not found in the Constitution? At this time there was an increasing sectional conflict between the North and the South. The problems arose mainly from the issue of slavery, and came largely after the Mexican war. Although the issue of slavery had never been fully resolved, it became a very heated subject during the 1850’s. The Constitution never took a clear stand on the issue, and the people began to see it more as source of sectional discord and tension and they ultimately began to see it as a failure to the union it had created.
The Mexican War was one of the most influential events that contributed the increasing separation of the union. Much conflict arose on whether Texas and California should be free or slave states. One of the men who tried to resolve this conflict was Henry Clay. Along with Stephen Douglas, he drafted what came to be known as the Compromise of 1850. It declared California a free state, abolished the slave trade in D.C, gained the New Mexico territory (which was to be organized through popular sovereignty), rearranged the Texas boundary, and passed the Fugitive Slave Law. Although it seemed like a good plan, it had flaws, which disappointed and angered many people. The people of Texas were angered because, a large portion of their land had been taken for New Mexico (Document A). It seemed that what angered one group, made the other happy. This was all because of the growing disunity over the ridiculous question of slavery.
The Fugitive Slave Act was probably the most important catalyst to conflict between the North and the South. Although it was punishable by law to harbor runaway slaves, the amount increased. The law that had tried to resolve the issue of runaway slaves brought about an...
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