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Module 9 Lesson 1
Transcript of Module 9 Lesson 1
Refers to the struggle between the federal government and individual states over political power. In the Civil War times, this struggle focused heavily on the institution of slavery and whether the federal government had the right to regulate or even abolish slavery within an individual state. The sides of this debate were largely drawn between northern and southern states, thus widened the growing divide within the nation.
Causes of The American
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Published in serial form in an anti-slavery newspaper in 1851 and in book format in 1852. Within two years it was a nationwide and worldwide bestseller. Depicting the evils of slavery, it offered a vision of slavery that few in the nation had seen before. The book succeeded at its goal, which was to start a wave of anti-slavery sentiment across the nation.
The Missouri Compromise
Additional territories gained from the U.S.–Mexican War of 1846–1848 heightened the slavery debate. Abolitionists fought to have slavery declared illegal in those territories, as the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 had done in the territory that became the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. Advocates of slavery feared that if the institution were prohibited in any states carved out of the new territories the political power of slaveholding states would be diminished, possibly to the point of slavery being outlawed everywhere within the United States.
The Raid On Harper’s Ferry
On the night of October 16, 1859, Brown and a band of followers seized the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, in what is believed to have been an attempt to arm a slave revolt. (Brown denied this at his trial, but evidence indicated otherwise.) They were dislodged by a force of U.S. Marines led by Army lieutenant colonel Robert E. Lee.
Even with Lincolns promises, it was not enough to calm the fears of delegates to an 1860 secession convention in South Carolina. To the surprise of other Southern states—and even to many South Carolinians—the convention voted to dissolve the state’s contract with the United States and strike off on its own.
The biggest issue that led to the disruption of the union, was the debate over the future of slavery. That dispute led to secession, and secession brought about a war in which the Northern and Western states and territories fought to preserve the Union, and the South fought to establish Southern independence as a new confederation of states under its own constitution.
The Dred Scott Decision
Dred Scott was a slave who wanted citizenship through the American legal system, and whose case eventually ended up in the Supreme Court. The famous Dred Scott Decision in 1857 denied his request stating that no person from Africa could become a U.S. citizen. Besides denying citizenship for African-Americans, it also overturned the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which had restricted slavery in certain U.S. territories.
By the early 1830s, those who wished to see that institution abolished within the United States were becoming more influential. They claimed obedience to "higher law" over obedience to the Constitution’s guarantee that a fugitive from one state would be considered a fugitive in all states. The fugitive slave act along with the publishing of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin helped expand the support for abolishing slavery nationwide.
The Underground Railroad
Some abolitionists actively helped runaway slaves to escape via "the Underground Railroad," and there were instances in which men, even lawmen, sent to retrieve runaways were attacked and beaten by abolitionist mobs. To the slave holding states, this meant Northerners wanted to choose which parts of the Constitution they would enforce, while expecting the South to honor the entire document. The most famous activist of the underground railroad was Harriet Tubman.
In Kansas, particularly, violent clashes between supporters of the two sides occurred. One abolitionist in particular became famous, or infamous, for battles that caused the deaths of pro-slavery settlers in Kansas. Ultimately, he left Kansas to carry his fight closer to the bosom of slavery.
When the Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 presidential election, Southern fears that the Republicans would abolish slavery reached a new peak. Lincoln was an strong opponent of the expansion of slavery but said he would not interfere with it where it existed.
By: Edward Orde