Controversy Before the Civil War

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Ryley Dinsen
APUSH 4th
12/16/12
Controversy before the Civil War
During the expansion westward of United States, controversy between the Northern and the Southern States quickly arose. This was primarily due to the disagreement of what these new western territories would become- free or slave states. The Southern States wanted these new territories to support slavery so they could send more pro-slavery senators/ representatives to Congress, which was the opposite for the Northern States. Many important events from 1845-1861 quickly led to the start of the Civil War due to these Northern and Southern disputes.

When the U.S. finally claimed more land after the Mexican War, the Southern and Northern States slowly began to move farther apart. Even though Northern congressmen supported the Wilmot Proviso, which banned slavery in all new Western territories, the Southern congressmen completely disagreed and went against it. The Compromise of 1850 was set to hopefully smooth these disputes over by supporting the idea of popular sovereignty, western lands having the right to determine by themselves whether they would be free or slave states. The Free-Soil Party also had a big impact. They opposed slavery’s expansion in the Western territories in the late 1840s and early 1850s.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act and Dred Scott Case (1857) decision highlighted the slavery disagreement and caused even more problems between the Northern and Southern States, pushing the U.S. even closer to the Civil War. The Kansas-Nebraska Act, passed in 1854 as a small compromise, enforced popular sovereignty in Kansas and Nebraska, creating disagreements over whether these territories would choose to become free or slave states. The Kansas-Nebraska Act even created tensions over the overturned Missouri Compromise of 1820, which had held the nation together by allowing slavery north of the already created line. In result, pro-slavery and anti-slavery groups flooded Kansas and battled in...
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