Analyze the Ways in Which Controversy over the Extension of Slavery Into Western Territories Contributed to the Coming of the Civil War. Confine Your Answer to the Period 1845-1861.

Topics: American Civil War, Slavery in the United States, Compromise of 1850 Pages: 2 (702 words) Published: February 27, 2012
During the 1840s and 1850s, the United States was preoccupied with the attainment of new hand in the west and how to settle the status of whether there lands would be free or slave states. As a result of the Mexican War, the U.S. men vast new land holdings in the West, fueling a debate between the North and South over the extensions of slavery into the West. This sectional strife over slavery’s extension was a major factor in the eventual commencement of the Civil War. Through accentuating divisions between the North and South over the control of Western lands, the debate over slavery’s extension clearly influenced the Civil War’s coming. After the U.S. secured vast new land holdings in the Mexican War, the South and North fiercely the contested these lands and moved further apart, highlighting sectional strife. When Northern congressmen supported the Wilmot Proviso banning slavery in all new Western territories, the Southern congressmen mounted fierce resistance, and this polarizing bill accelerated divisions between the two regions. Although the Compromise of 1850 attempted to reconcile those differences by endorsing the principle of popular sovereignty, whereby western lands had the right to determine for themselves whether they would be free or slave states, the fight to influence the decisions of territories populations on the slavery issued continued. Also, the presence of the Free-Soil Party as a movement opposed to slavery’s expansion in the late 1840s and early 1850s shows the impact of the slavery debate on the nation’s politics. In addition, the Gadsden Purchase of the Mesilla Valley in the Southwest for the construction of a southern continental railroad route fueled the debate over whether the railroad should be built there or through free territory illustrating how crucial the slavery debate was to both the North and South because each region united to dominate the economic development of the West.

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