Civil War & Reconstruction
Compromise involves both give and take, where both sides involved
receive some of what they wanted, but neither side fully gets 100 percent of
what they wanted. Compromise for the most part keeps things running
smoothly. I personally believe that compromise is beneficial during this time.
The Missouri Compromise, for example, started when the territory of Missouri
wanted to join the Union as a slave state after the Louisiana Purchase. The
question was if to allow this move with slavery or not. At this point in time, the
country’s main concern was growth, but with growth came the expansion of
thought and power.
The Missouri Compromise was passed in 1820 and was the first true
attempt in finding an answer and a solution to the continued battle of slavery.
This compromise weighed equality in the numbers of free states and slave
states. This compromise makes a good point in my opinion, because for three
decades this seemed to allow hold back on the crisis of slavery and put a holt of
slavery dominating the nation.
The Compromise of 1850 is another important factor related to the benefits and
importance of compromise in the pre-civil war era. Following the Mexican War, the
Unite States acquired territory in the West. Yet again, the question whether slavery should be allowed in those new states or not, was held at high demand. The
positivity that one can take from this compromise is that it postponed the Civil War
by a whole decade. Although this compromise showed to only be a temporary
solution, a decade free from the war that the country was about to face, to me, was
yet another benefit of compromise in and of itself.
The last and most important compromise leading to the Civil War was the
Kansas-Nebraska Act. This compromise was established in hopes to reduce
tensions and resolve the same issue of slavery all together. This compromise was
slightly different in the sense that; Stephen A. Douglas, Senator in early 1854, had
an actual goal in mind when devising this plan of action. His particular goal was
easily the idea and expansion of railroads. His idea to build railroads crossing the
United States was that nothing short of brilliance. Like anything else though,
Douglas ran into a few problems. The area to the west of Missouri and Iowa would
have to be organized prior to and then ushered into the Union before the railroad
could be established to California. The next problem that was faced was the fact
that Southerners wanted nothing to do with the idea of bringing one large, single
state into their territory that would be considered a free state. This problem led to
Douglas’ plan to create two new territories. These two new territories became
Kansas and Nebraska.
Eventually, the Kansas-Nebraska Act caused major problems. Kansas became
the common ground for forces from both sides debating on the issue at hand. All
the violence in Kansas peaked in the late 1850’s when pro-slavery forces killed off
the free soil settlement. With response, abolitionist’s set off to murder all
men who supported slavery in the first place. This was when the new Republican
party was established and Abraham LIncoln was encouraged to re-enter politics.
So on and so forth, the civil war was right around the corner for America and
there was no going back from here.
Between these three compromises that followed back to back with one another,
I believe that they all hold a strong point in the question of compromise being
beneficial or not. I believe that the Civil War had to happen in order for us to be
where we are today as Americans. It is also said that everything happens for a
reason. These three compromises show that, as humans, we are always looking
and doing what we think is best at the time decisions have to be made. By
“compromising” during the pre-civil war era, we were able to hold off on the
greatest battle in America to date. The positive in unknowingly hold off on a war,
allowed decision making and agreements that would not have been made if there
never had been compromise. Now, I said earlier that I believe the Civil War
was determined to push itself into happening anyway, but this also shows how
strong our country is for pushing new ideas and expanding the still growing
territory of the United States. If we take the concept of compromise out of the
history of our country, then we have a country without prosperity, without growth,
and without hope.