1984 Dbq

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Benjamin Reed
Mr. Pezza/ Mr. Haldemen
AP US History
22 December 2005
The Constitutionality of Slavery
Throughout the nineteenth-century the issue of slavery polarized the country along sectional lines. Northern abolitionists continually sought to outlaw slavery, while Southern slaveholders vehemently fought for the alternative. As the abolitionist movement gained momentum, many Northerners began to support the cause, while questioning the morality of slavery. Likewise, even non-slave holders in the South backed the pro-slavery movement, mainly because of financial commitments to powerful plantation owners. Both Northern abolitionists and Southern slaveholders held fast to their arguments, which were both equally compelling in their own respect. The North arguing the case that slavery was inherently evil and the Constitutional amendments in its favor were equally corrupt. Alternatively, the Southern slaveholders made the argument of the "original intent" of the Constitution, claiming that they had a divine right to own slaves under United States law as it had originally been written. Thus, because of the vague terms of the Constitution and the blurring issue of "original intent," the document only offered a stale mate, which in turn resulted in the downfall of the Union.

Abolitionists spoke out with harsh words against the Constitutional amendments that supported slavery and took a strong stance against pro-slavery legislature, claiming the right to resist immoral law. Southern legislation, such As the Fugitive Slave Act was forced upon Northerner's, who greatly disagreed with the institution, but were mandated to comply or face the alternative option of breaking the law (F). Angered by such legislation, Abolitionist groups did jus that, and resisted the law by warning African Americans in the North of the possibilities of being deported to the South by local authorities and slave-catchers ( C ). Ralph Waldo Emerson explained the need to resist immoral...
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