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The spread of slavery Essay

Assess the moral arguments and political actions of those opposed to the spread of slavery in the context of two of the following:

The Missouri Compromise

The Mexican War

Compromise Of 1850

Kansas-Nebraska Act

The moral and political actions of those opposed to the spread of slavery in the context of The Mexican War and The Kansas-Nebraska Act are very conflicting. With the upset in balance of the Mexican War, antislavery activists were upset about any potential compromise while with the Kansas Nebraska act, they settled with the idea of them being in a state of popular sovereignty.

The acquisitions of the Mexican War triggered an upset in the balance of free and slave states. The solution of extending the Missouri Compromise line of 3630′ angered both proslavery and antislavery activists. It upset the proslavery activists because it conceded that Congress could bar slavery in some territories. It angered the antislavery activists because it would allow slavery in New Mexico and southern California. The issue was further aggravated by the acceptance of Texas as a slave state and it claming the eastern half of New Mexico, where slavery had since been outlawed.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act reflected the actions of those opposed to slavery by declaring the territories as a state of popular sovereignty, or slavery by the discretion of the territory. The issue that lay within the proposed bill was that Nebraska lay within the Louisiana Purchase and north of the Missouri compromise line of 3630′, a region closed to slavery. Unless concessions were made, southerners would have little incentive to vote for this bill. The organization of Nebraska would simultaneously create a potential free state and further upset southerners due to the increase in chances for a northern rather than a southern railroad to the Pacific.

The ideal concession to appease the south was to point out that the Compromise of 1850 had applied the principals of popular sovereignty to the New Mexico and Utah, territories outside the Louisiana Purchase and hence unaffected by the Missouri Compromise thus proposing that the Compromise of 1850 had taken the place of the Missouri Compromise everywhere. The concession was widely attacked by southern congressmen and the bill was viewed as a plot to turn the territory into a “dreary region of the despotism, inhabited by masters and slaves.” These attacks by antislavery northerners united the south by turning the bill into an issue of sectional pride as well as slavery expansion.

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