AP US History This DBQ received a 7 Civil War DBQ
As American settlers stretched westward in the 1850’s, the ambiguity of the Constitution framed 60 years earlier increased sectional tension over the topic of slavery. Initially, the framers of the constitution left the issue of slavery to be worked out in the country’s future. This in turn convinced the Southern states that their “peculiar institution” would be “respected and maintained.” However, as years passed, the United States acquired more territory, and as more territories applied for statehood, the issue arose whether or not the new states would be admitted as a Slave State or Free State. Americans also disputed the very status of a slave, and whether or not a fugitive slave in the Northern Free States was guaranteed his or her freedom from their masters down south. It was debates like these, due to the vague details of the constitution, that created enormous repercussions-- ones that would trigger a series of Slavery related legislation, and ultimately the destruction the union. Following President Polk’s successful victory against the young Republic of Mexico, Americans gained a significant amount of western land including Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and most importantly the promising, golden coastal territory of California. To pacify the growing discord between North and South, the Democratic Senator, Stephan Douglas of Illinois, combined 5 Bills that would secure California as a Free State and would abolish slavery in the District of Columbia. It also included the Fugitive Slave Act. In addition, Utah and New Mexico would grant its citizens popular sovereignty. This was the Compromise of 1850. As a result, New Mexico and Utah became slave states. Due to the Federal Constitution’s vagueness, this compromise allowed states to decide for themselves the issue of slavery. Consequently, the most favorable and democratic solution...
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