The 1850s were a time of attempted compromise when compromise was no longer possible. The Union was becoming divided through many events in the time leading into the Civil War. The North and South had too many hostilities to account for. Socially, the North and the South could not stand what the other would do or say with anything. Politically, the government was completely divided and undecided. And economically, the South began to prosper as the North began to struggle. Thus, during the 1850s, socially, politically, and economically there was not any compromise that could fix the problems beginning to occur.
In the 1850s, the North and South could not agree on anything and were in constant disagreements. In 1850, Henry Clay created the Compromise of 1850. In the compromise, it was said that California would be admitted as a free state which created a stir in the South since it would mean that the amount of Free states and slave states would be unbalanced (Shown in Document B). The North would now have power of the Senate and superiority over the South. The country would give Texas ten million dollars if they gave up claims to Mexico. This would take away a large piece of territory for a relatively low sum. There would be abolition of slave trade in Washington D.C., but not slavery. This meant that emancipation of slavery in the nation’s capital was starting. Also, Mexico and Utah’s slave status rested on popular sovereignty which leaned toward Free State status due to the incompatibility of the plantation system with the environment. Then, there would be a Fugitive Slave Law put in to place which would compel local officials to capture and return runaway slaves along with denying them jury trials, which some congressmen were against (Document F). Daniel Webster also delivered the Seventh of March speech backing this compromise up as everyone else did not like the idea and explained why he thought it was necessary (Document A). This caused the South distress as they doubted the efforts of the Northerners to help them reclaim their property. This Compromise of 1850 was not completely a compromise because the South didn’t really get what they wanted, but the North was more successful in gaining their objectives. This made the south feel inferior to the North and creating more issues between them. The Fugitive Slave Law also helped the North in creating the Underground Railroad in order to help out the slaves who were trying to escape to get them to Canada so they would not be captured. This made the South angered since the North was not complying with their efforts to get their property back. The people began to create writings about how they felt about these issues causing more of an uproar.
The literature during this time was very influential towards slavery and what the people thought about the issue. One of the first most persuasive books was Uncle Tom’s Cabin written by Harriet Breecher Stowe in 1852. Stowe’s purpose was to show the evils of slavery and why it is wrong. The book was about a slave named Uncle Tom who lives with his family but is eventually sold away to the cruel Simon Legree who eventually whips Tom to death (Document C). The North loved the piece of work and it was very popular. In the South, the book was banned and very much disliked. This created a more dividing point within the North and South since the south was becoming more angered by the Northerners actions and the North was becoming more against the issue of Slavery. Then, Hinton R. Helper wrote The Impending Crisis of the South in 1857. His purpose was to attempt to prove by an array of statistics that indirectly the nonslaveholding whites were the ones who suffered most from the millstone of slavery. The South also banned his book and would hold book-burning parties since they were so aggravated about it. In the North, Republicans used it as campaign literature and many copies were sold. This made the South not want to be a part of the...
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