William Seward, John Calhoun, and Daniel Webster

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William Seward, John Calhoun, and Daniel Webster all served as legislator as either Senator or Congressman and then took positions in the executive branch of the government. William Seward and Daniel Webster were both members of the Whig Party, while John Calhoun was a member of the Republican Party. The Whig Party was a political party established during the time of President Jackson to oppose the policies of President Andrew Jackson and the Democratic Party. Members of the Whig Party supported the power of Congress over the executive branch, and pursued a program of economic protectionism and modernization. All three of them established themselves for nationalist causes, but they had different views on slavery. Seward opposed slavery, while Calhoun was pro-slavery, while Webster took a safe ground by making compromises to both pro- and anti-slavery states.

Seward rose to political prominence in New York in the I830's, serving in the state He was characterized as
generous, spirited, convivial, and impulsive. The dominating issue of whether to allow the extension of slavery into the newly acquired western territories threatened to danger the Senate when Congress convened in December 1849. Seward rose on the Senate floor to deliver a speech that he called "Freedom in the New Territories." The new senator spent several intense weeks on the preparation of his statement, realizing that it could be taken as the North's answer to Calhoun.

Seward acknowledged that the Constitution's framer had recognized the being of slavery and protected it where it existed, but the new territory was governed by a "higher law than the Constitution" -- a moral law established by the creator or god. The New York senator, was against all legislative compromise as "radically wrong and essentially vicious," demanded that California be considered as a free state. He warned the South that slavery was doomed and that a rebellion from the Union would happen. The...
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