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The Fight to the West
Transcript of The Fight to the West
Passed in 1854
By Stephen A. Douglas (The Little Giant)
Abraham Lincoln’s opponent in the Lincoln-Douglas debates
Mandated popular sovereignty–
Gave the settlers of a territory to decide whether slavery would be allowed within a new state’s borders
The Fight to the West
Period with violent clashes and a civil war between antislavery forces and proslavery forces in Kansas
Occurred between 1854 to 1861
Fight for whether slavery would be allowed in the territories of Kansas and Nebraska was up to popular sovereignty
Why so much bloodshed?
The debate of slavery was up to the residents of Kansas
After the Kansas-Nebraska Act, pro- and antislavery forces began piling into the the Kansas territory to sway popular sovereignty to their favor
What: a Supreme Court case that challenged whether or not African Americans could be recognized as citizens of the United States.
Who: Dred Scott was an African American and technically a former slave.
first resided in the free states of Wisconsin and Illinois, where slavery was illegal.
unaware of his right at the time and he and family moved to Louisiana with his master Dr. John Emerson.
When Emerson died in 1843, custody of Scott was placed into the hands of his widow. But Dred Scott sought freedom from her- and was refused- so he turned to the courts in 1847.
Dred Scott Case
Dred Scott vs Sandford
The second constitution drafted for Kansas Territory, drafted in 1857
Written by proslavery supporters.
The document permitted slavery (Article VII),
Excluded free blacks from living in Kansas
Allowed only male citizens of the United States to vote.
Supported by President Buchanan
Boycotted against the document at the Constitutional Convention in Lecompton
Disliked the Constitution because it would make Kansas a slave state (they were okay with slavery, but didn't want it to spread, but rather it should stay contained)
The First Constitution
Free-Soil settlers in Kansas created the Topeka Constitution
elected their own legislature to manifest the democratic ideals of popular sovereignty
Country In Chaos
In the 1850's US was heading towards conflict and violence
Country expanding West
Slavery in new territories becomes issue
Abolitionists adding to tension
Believed Slavery was morally wrong
Promoted end violently
Could US remain equally divided or do they have to choose one?
In Illinois 2 Politicians fighting for 1858 senate seat to debate these issues
1858 Senate Race
June 16, 1858 Lincoln = Addresses state convention in House of Representatives
Nominated to run against Stephen Douglas
nationally prominent, and held seat for 10 years
Lincoln's speech = about conspiracy of Democrats to legalize slavery in every state
July 24, 1858 = Lincoln challenged Douglas to a series of debates
The Debates Begin...
August 21, 1858 @ Ottawa Downtown debates begin
crowd (10,000) gathered & doubled population of city
Lincoln & Douglas laid out positions on volatile issues of slavery and its extension in the new territories
6 More Debates...
Excited crowds of 20,000 meet at other cities
debates had national audiences as well
Douglas argued for right of people to decide for themselves the question of slavery
"popular sovereignty" = popular autonomy
shift of focus of slavery debate away from Congress
aggravated social tensions
Lincoln accuses Douglas of "blowing out moral lights around us" by encouraging slavery extension
advocated for new territories to be free from slavery
didn't support social and political equality of black & white races
Lincoln hoped to trap Douglas
Asked how in the light of the Dred Scott decision, a territory could stop the extension of slavery before becoming a state
Douglas said that if a territory refused to have slavery, no laws, no Supreme Court rulings was to force them to permit it
Lincoln "a house divided cannot stand"
Douglas replies, founders "left each state perfectly free to do as it pleases on the subject"
Lincoln won popular vote but not Senate Seat
Not a defeat for Lincoln
Debates raised his public profile
moral argument for elimination of slavery
set stage for 1860 presidential election (and won)
Issues divide up politicians and people ; split nation
the votes were divided up
conflict soon led Union to a bloody 4 year war
Kansas had two bodies of government
This divided Kansas into two
You can see the hostilities between the two ideas of having Slavery or not
Leading up to the civil war, Kansas had just remained a territory rather then becoming a state
There were three votes that had taken place on the Lecompton Constitution
December 21, 1857
January 4, 1858
August 2, 1858
residents of Kansas Territory had rejected the Lecompton Constitution.
By: Riya Patel
After several legal setbacks, the case was finally brought before the court in 1856.
The Justices on the court were biased; seven had been appointed by pro-slavery presidents and five were from slave-holding families.
Scott had tried to bring the case into a federal court but Scott had claimed that he and the defendant, John Sanford were citizens from separate states. This is why the case went to the Supreme Court instead of the Federal courts- the case was now focused on whether or not Scott was a citizen.
The decision was made March 6, 1857. Chief justice Roger B. Taney read the verdict which said that since Scott was black he is not and never will be a citizen of the United States and therefore could not sue.
In addition to this, the Missouri compromise of 1820 which had once declared all territories west of the Missouri and north of latitude 36 30 was deemed unconstitutional.
Importance and impact
The south was happy to hear about this of course. It gave them the upper hand in the sectional fight regarding potential secession. But the case was an even bigger deal in the North, who were shocked and angered to hear this. The decision triggered the North to retaliate with the nomination of Abraham Lincoln of the Republican Party, who would directly challenge slavery in the election of 1860.
• Dred Scott was technically free since Emerson was alive. He lived in free states and therefore should not even have belonged to Emerson.
• The case took almost 10 years to reach the Supreme Court. Had they already deemed the case open and shut?
• The Court Justices were pretty biased from the start. 7 of them were appointed by Slavery supporting presidents and 5 out the nine came from slavery holding families themselves. It’s no wonder the decision went 7-2.
• This decision not only made blacks non eligible citizens of the United States but it reaffirmed slaves as nothing more than property and could not be taken from their owners without due process. This is adding more fuel to the already way to big fire.
• Although Scott lost his case he was freed by his former master’s children, however nine months later he died.
This case was by far the biggest one the country has ever seen because it was a huge factor in leading up to the Civil War. It overturned a previous law and showed an obvious bias towards many Northerners. Things were only about to get worse.
After Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed, proslavery and antislavery supporters rushed into Kansas to affect outcome of first election
Proslavery won, but were charged with fraud by antislavery supporters
Resulted in two opposing legislatures
800 proslavery supporters raided the town of Lawrence which was a center of free-state settlement
Two printing offices were sacked and presses were destroyed
Lawrence was burned and looted
North saw attack as an assault on an innocent community and seeked revenge
Marais des Cygnes Massacre
On May 19, 1858, approximately 30 men led by Charles Hamilton, proslavery leader, headed from Kansas to Missouri.
Along the way they captured 11 Free-Staters, none of whom were armed.
The prisoners were led into a defile, where Hamilton ordered the men to shoot. He fired the first bullet himself.
Five men were killed.
Considered the last significant act of violence in Bleeding Kansas before the American Civil War
John Brown, an antislavery supporter, decided to attack proslavery settlers for their attack at Lawrence
His followers and himself raided the proslavery settlement of Pottawatomie Creek and hacked five settlers
Small scale guerilla warfare broke out across the state
Opposed the Missouri Compromise’s use of latitude as the boundary between slave and free territory
Lead to the period of violence known as Bleeding Kansas
Established in 1820
Goal was to balance the number of slave states and free states in the union
Slavery was not allowed above the 36 30 line
Except for Missouri
Made Slavery off limits in the newly acquired territory
Stephen A. Douglas
Advocate of Western Expansion
Wanted to Construct a transcontinental railroad
In order for him to succeed, he had to gain the support of the south
Strong believer in Popular Sovereignty
Reason why he created the Kansas Nebraska Act
Thought it repealed the Missouri compromise
Protecting the political rights of the southerners
Southern goal was to Spread slavery to the entire nation
Ads in the north encouraged people to emigrate to Kansas to stop the advancement of slavery
The south responded by crossing the border into Kansas to vote for Slavery
This was much quicker
Raided anti slavery developments
North and south response
More than 50 people died.
Sparked the Civil War
Kansas was a small scale Civil War that showed how the fight for slavery could destroy the nation
Antislavery forces prevailed
They were outraged. Decision reaffirmed that slaves were viewed as property and not people.
Even free blacks were not even given the right of a trial anymore
Missouri Compromise was officially null and void, which meant slavery would spread
Gave South power they feared
After the Pottawatomie massacre and as tensions were rising, proslavery forces struck again, this time in the abolitionist settlement of Osawatomie (August 30, 1856)
Under John Reid, forces searched for John Brown, but found his son Frederick Brown and killed him
After hearing his son was killed, John Brown gathered dozens on supporters and rushed to the site and the two sides began fighting
Proslavery forces won, burned almost all the buildings and continued north attacking other towns
Proposed Leavenworth Constitution
Written and passed by free state delegates
Extended suffrage to every male citizen regardless of color
Not much participation and was opposed by some Free State Democrats
Constitution was forwarded to Senate, but it was not that big and never passed
Outraged by Bleeding Kansas
Federal government had only recognized the proslavery legislature
Even angrier that Kansas had a chance to become a slave state especially since the Missouri Compromise was revoked
There were many attacks from proslavery forces
Tarred and feathered, kidnapped and even killed
North wanted to take action into their own hands and fight back
After Kansas was admitted a free state, they were happier, but the issue of slavery was still up for debate