The Crisis of the Union 1844–1860
Chapter 13 The Crisis of the Union 1844–1860 Teaching Resources Chapter Instructional Objectives After you have taught this chapter, your students should be able to answer the following questions: 1. How did western expansion become inextricably linked with sectional identity during the 1840s? 2. How and why did southerners change their position on slavery—first claiming it was a “necessary evil,” then defending it as a “positive good”? 3. Why did the United States fight the war with Mexico? What was the larger impact of this war? 4.
How and why did divisions within American society during the 1850s bring the Second Party System to an end? 5. What choices were available to Americans in the election of 1860, and why was Abraham Lincoln’s victory significant? Chapter Annotated Outline I. Manifest Destiny: South and North A. The Independence of Texas 1. The Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819 guaranteed Spanish sovereignty over Texas. 2. After winning independence from Spain in 1821, the Mexican government, short on population and cash for settling the region, encouraged settlement by Mexicans and by migrants from the United States. . As the Mexican government asserted greater political control over Texas in the mid-1830s, the Americans split into two groups: the “peace party,” led by Stephen Austin, wanted more autonomy for the province, and the “war party” wanted independence from Mexico. 4. After provoking a rebellion, the war party proclaimed the independence of Texas on March 2, 1826, and adopted a constitution legalizing slavery. 5. Vowing to put down the rebellion, Santa Anna’s army wiped out the war party’s rebel garrison that was defending the Alamo and then captured Goliad. 6.
Hundreds of American adventurers influenced by press reports and lured by offers of land grants flocked to Texas to join the rebel army. Led by General Sam Houston, the war party routed the Mexicans in the Battle of San Jacinto. 7. The Mexican government abandoned efforts to reconquer Texas, but refused to accept its status as an independent republic. 8. Texans quickly voted for annexation to the United States, but Presidents Jackson and Van Buren refused to act on the issue, knowing that adding Texas as a slave state would divide the Democratic Party and the nation and almost certainly lead to war with Mexico.
B. The Push to the Pacific 1. In 1845 John L. O’Sullivan coined the phrase Manifest Destiny; he felt that Americans had a right to develop the entire continent as they saw fit, which implied a sense of cultural and racial superiority. 2. The Oregon country stretched along the Pacific coast from the border with Mexican California to the border with Russian Alaska and was claimed by both Great Britain and the United States. 3. “Oregon fever” raged in 1843 as thousands, lured by reports of fine harbors, mild climate, and fertile soil, journeyed for months across the continent to the Willamette Valley. 4.
By 1860 about 350,000 Americans had braved the Oregon Trail; many died en 189 190 Chapter 13: The Crisis of the Union, 1844–1860 route from disease and exposure, although relatively few died from Indian attacks. 5. Some pioneers left the Oregon Trail and traveled south along the California Trail, settling along the Sacramento River in the Mexican province of California. 6. To promote California’s development, the Mexican government took over the California missions and liberated the 20,000 Indians who worked on them, many of whom intermarried with mestizos and worked as laborers and cowboys on large cattle ranches. . The rise of cattle ranching created a new society and economy as agents from New England firms assimilated to Mexican life and married into the families of the Californios. 8. Many American migrants in California had no desire to assimilate into Mexican society and hoped for eventual annexation to the United States; however, at that time American settlers in California were too few. C. The Fateful Election of 1844 1. The election of 1844 determined the American government’s western policy. 2.
To thwart rumored British schemes of North American expansion, southern expansionists demanded the immediate annexation of Texas. 3. “Oregon fever” and Manifest Destiny were also altering the political and diplomatic landscape in the North. Responding to “Oregon conventions” that called for an end to joint occupation of the region, in 1843 a bipartisan national convention demanded that the United States seize Oregon all the way to 54°40′ north latitude. 4. Texas and Oregon became the central issues in the election of 1844; Democrats selected James K.
Polk, a slave owner and expansionist who favored annexation of both Texas and Oregon. 5. The Whigs nominated Henry Clay, who again championed his American System of internal improvements, high tariffs, and national banking that begrudgingly supported the annexation of Texas. 6. Polk’s strategy of linking the issues of Texas and Oregon was successful; immediately after Polk’s victory, Democrats in Congress approved annexation of Texas by a joint resolution to bring it into the Union. II. War, Expansion, and Slavery, 1846–1850 A.
The War with Mexico, 1846–1848 1. President Polk saw Texas as just the beginning; he wanted American control over all Mexican territory between Texas and the Pacific Ocean and was prepared to go to war to get it. 2. Mexico was determined to retain its territories, and when the Texas Republic accepted American statehood in 1845, Mexico broke off diplomatic relations with the United States. 3. To intimidate the Mexican government, Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor to occupy the disputed lands between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande. . Polk also sent John Slidell to Mexico City on a secret diplomatic initiative to secure Mexican acceptance of the Rio Grande boundary and to buy Mexico and California; Mexican officials refused to see him. 5. Polk’s alternative plan was to foment a revolution in California that, as in Texas, would lead to an independent republic and a request for annexation. 6. In October 1845, at Polk’s request, Thomas O. Larkin encouraged the leading Mexican residents of Monterey, California, to declare independence and support peaceful annexation. 7.
Polk also ordered naval commanders to seize California’s coastal towns in case of war, and dispatched Captain John C. Fremont’s heavily armed troops deep into Mexican territory. 8. Hoping to incite an armed Mexican response, Polk ordered General Taylor to the Rio Grande; when a clash occurred, Polk blamed the Mexicans for the bloodshed and called for war. 9. Ignoring Whig pleas for a negotiated settlement, the Democratic majority in Congress voted for war with Mexico. 10. To avoid simultaneous war with Britain, the president accepted a British proposal to divide the Oregon Country at the fortyninth parallel. 1. By the end of 1846, the United States controlled much of northeastern Mexico, and American forces secured control of California in 1847. 12. Santa Anna went on the offensive, attacking Zachary Taylor’s units at Buena Vista in 1847, and only superior artillery enabled a narrow American victory. Chapter 13: The Crisis of the Union, 1844–1860 191 13. General Winfield Scott’s troops seized Mexico City in September 1847; Santa Anna was overthrown and the new Mexican government agreed to make peace. B. A Divisive Victory 1. Conscience Whigs” viewed the Mexican War as a conspiracy to add new slave states in the West, and Polk’s expansionist policy split the Democrats into sectional factions. 2. The Wilmot Proviso (1846) was intended to prohibit slavery in any new territories acquired from Mexico; the Senate killed the proviso. 3. To reunite Democrats before the election, Polk and Buchanan abandoned their expansionist hopes for Mexico and agreed to take only California and New Mexico. 4. In the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) the United States agreed to pay Mexico $15 million for Texas north of the Rio Grande, New Mexico, and California. . Many northerners joined a new “freesoil” movement, viewing slavery as a threat to republicanism and the yeoman farmers (and not, as the Liberty Party believed, a sin against the natural rights of African Americans). 6. The Wilmot Proviso’s call for free soil was the first antislavery proposal to attract broad popular support. Frederick Douglass, the foremost black abolitionist, endorsed the free-soil movement, and began to lecture for William Lloyd Garrison’s American Anti-Slavery Society. 7.
Democrats nominated Lewis Cass as their presidential candidate for the election of 1848; Cass was an avid expansionist who proposed squatter sovereignty and was deliberately vague on the issue of slavery in the West. 8. The Free-Soilers nominated Martin Van Buren for president; the Whigs nominated General Zachary Taylor, a slave owner who had not taken a position on slavery in the territories. 9. Taylor and his running mate Millard Fillmore won the election, but the electoral margin was thin because of the Free-Soil ticket taking New York’s vote. C. 1850: Crisis and Compromise 1.
In 1848 flakes of gold were found in the Sierra Nevada foothills, and by 1849 “forty-niners” were pouring into California in search of gold. 2. The influx of settlers revived the national debate over free soil; in November 1849 Californians ratified a state constitution that prohibited slavery. 3. The admission of California as a state threatened the carefully maintained balance of slave states versus nonslave states in the Senate. 4. Southern leaders decided to block California’s entry unless the federal government guaranteed the future of slavery. . John C. Calhoun warned of possible secession by slave states and advanced the doctrine that Congress had no constitutional authority to regulate slavery in the territories. 6. Many southerners and some northern Democrats were willing to extend the Missouri Compromise line to the Pacific Ocean, guaranteeing slave owners some western territory. 7. A third choice, squatter (popular) sovereignty, placed decisions about slavery in the hands of local settlers and their territorial governments. 8.
Antislavery advocates were unwilling to accept any plan for California that might involve the expansion of slavery in the territories and urged federal authorities to restrict slavery within its existing boundaries and then extinguish it completely. 9. Whigs and Democrats desperately sought a compromise to preserve the Union; Whigs organized the Compromise of 1850. 10. The Compromise included a Fugitive Slave Act to mollify the South, it admitted California as a free state and abolished the slave trade in Washington, D. C. to mollify the North, and it organized the rest of the lands acquired from Mexico into the territories of New Mexico and Utah on the basis of popular sovereignty. 11. The Compromise averted a secession crisis in 1850, but resulted in special conventions in the South; in exchange for support of the Compromise, moderate southern politicians agreed to support secession in the future if Congress abolished slavery anywhere or refused to grant statehood to a territory with a proslavery constitution. III. The End of the Second Party System, 1850–1858 A.
Resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act 1. Under the terms of the Fugitive Slave Act, federal magistrates in the northern states 192 Chapter 13: The Crisis of the Union, 1844–1860 determined the status of alleged runaway slaves. The law denied accused blacks a jury trial and even the right to testify and it allowed the reenslavement of about two hundred fugitives (as well as some free northern blacks). 2. The plight of runaway slaves and the appearance of slave catchers aroused popular hostility in the North and Midwest, and free blacks and abolitionists defied the new law. . Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), which evoked sympathy for slaves and outrage against slavery throughout the North, increased northern opposition to the act. 4. Northern legislatures enacted personal liberty laws, and in Ableman v. Booth (1857), the Wisconsin Supreme Court said the act violated the Constitution. 5. The U. S. Supreme Court in 1859 upheld the constitutionality of the Fugitive Slave Act, but by then the act had become a “dead letter. ” B. The Political System in Decline 1.
The conflict over slavery split both major political parties along sectional lines and stymied creative political leadership. 2. The Whig Party chose General Winfield Scott, but many southern Whigs refused to support Scott because northern Whigs refused to support slavery. 3. Democrats were divided at their convention and no candidate could secure the necessary two-thirds majority, so they settled on a compromise nominee, Franklin Pierce. 4. The Democrats swept the election, and their party was reunited; conversely, the Whig Party split into sectional wings and it would never again wage a national campaign. 5.
Pierce pursued an expansionist foreign policy to assist northern merchants, secured railroad rights in northern Mexico with the Gadsden Purchase, and tried to seize Cuba, issuing the Ostend Manifesto (1854). 6. Opposition to the manifesto forced Pierce to halt efforts to take Cuba, but it revived the northern fears of a “Slave Power” conspiracy. C. The Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Rise of New Parties 1. The Kansas-Nebraska Act, constructed by Democrat Stephen Douglas, divided the northern Louisiana Purchase into two territories, Kansas and Nebraska, and voided the Missouri Compromise line by opening the area to slavery through he principle of popular sovereignty. 2. The Kansas-Nebraska Act barely passed in 1854 through the use of patronage and persuasion by President Pierce, and proved to be the end of the Second Party System. 3. Antislavery northern Whigs and AntiNebraska Democrats formed a new party, the Republicans; the party stood for opposition to slavery and a celebration of the moral virtues of a society based on “the middling classes. ” 4. The American, or “Know-Nothing” Party, had its origins in the anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic organizations of the 1840s.
It hoped to unite native-born Protestants against the “alien menace” of Irish and German Catholics, prohibit further immigration, and institute literacy tests for voting. 5. In 1855 the Pierce administration recognized the territorial legislature in Lecompton, Kansas, which had adopted proslavery legislation. 6. Free-Soilers rejected the legitimacy of the territorial government; proslavery and antislavery sides turned to violence, including the “Pottawatomie massacre,” led by John Brown. D. Buchanan’s Failed Presidency 1. The Republican Party counted on anger over “Bleeding Kansas” to boost its fortunes and nominated Colonel James C.
Fremont, a Free-Soiler, as its presidential candidate. 2. The American Party split into sectional factions, the northern faction endorsed Fremont and the southern faction nominated Millard Fillmore. 3. The Democrats reaffirmed their support for popular sovereignty and the KansasNebraska Act and nominated James Buchanan. 4. James Buchanan won, and the Republicans replaced the Whigs as the second major party. 5. Republicans had no support in the South, however; if they were to win in the next presidential election, it might prompt the southern states to withdraw from the Union. It appeared up to President Buchanan to devise a way of protecting
Chapter 13: The Crisis of the Union, 1844–1860 193 free soil in the West and slavery in the South. 6. In Dred Scott v. Sandford (1856), the U. S. Supreme Court opined that a slave’s residence in a free state did not make him a free man and that African Americans were not citizens and could not sue in a federal court. 7. Chief Justice Taney declared the provisions of the Northwest Ordinance and the Missouri Compromise that prohibited slavery had never been constitutional, and that Congress could not give to territorial governments any powers that Congress itself did not possess. 8.
Taney thereby endorsed Calhoun’s interpretation of popular sovereignty: only when settlers wrote a constitution and requested statehood could they prohibit slavery. 9. The Democrat-dominated Supreme Court had declared the Republicans’ antislavery platform to be unconstitutional; Republicans countered by accusing the Supreme Court and President Buchanan of participating in the “Slave Power” conspiracy. 10. In 1858 Buchanan recommended the admission of Kansas as a slave state; by pursuing a proslavery agenda—first with Dred Scott and then in Kansas—he had helped to split his party and the nation. IV.
Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Triumph, 1858–1860 A. Lincoln’s Political Career 1. Abraham Lincoln came from an impoverished yeoman farming family in Illinois; in 1831 he rejected the farmer’s life and became a store clerk. 2. Lincoln was an ambitious man: he was admitted to the bar in 1837, married the more socially prominent Mary Todd in 1842, and served four terms as a Whig in the Illinois assembly. 3. In 1846 Lincoln won election to Congress, where he had to take a stand on the issue of slavery; he felt that slavery was unjust but did not believe that the federal government had the constitutional authority to tamper with it. . Lincoln argued that prohibiting the expansion of slavery, gradual emancipation, and the colonization of freed slaves were the only practical ways to address the issue. 5. Both abolitionists and proslavery activists derided Lincoln’s pragmatic policies, he lost his bid for reelection, and for a while he withdrew from politics in order to devote his time to law. 6. Lincoln returned to politics after the passage of Stephen Douglas’s Kansas-Nebraska Act; he attacked the doctrine of popular sovereignty and said he would leave slavery where it existed but not extend it into the territories. 7.
Lincoln abandoned the Whig Party and joined the Republicans; he soon emerged as their leader in Illinois. 8. In Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech, he predicted a constitutional crisis over slavery. 9. In the 1858 duel for the U. S. Senate, Stephen Douglas declared his support for white supremacy, and Lincoln, put on the defensive by Douglas, advocated economic opportunity for blacks but not equal political rights. 10. Douglas’s “Freeport Doctrine” asserted that settlers could exclude slavery by not adopting local legislation to protect it; this upset proslavery advocates and abolitionists. 1. Douglas was elected to the Senate, but Lincoln had established a national reputation. B. The Union Under Siege 1. Southern Democrats divided into two groups: the “Moderates” (Southern Rights Democrats) pursued protection of slavery in the territories, and the “Radicals” actively promoted secession. 2. In October 1859 John Brown led a raid that temporarily seized the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia; his purpose was to supply the arms for a slave rebellion and establish a separate African American state in the South. 3.
Brown was charged with treason, sentenced to death, and hanged. He was a martyr to abolitionists, which horrified southerners. 4. In 1860 northern Democrats rejected Jefferson Davis’s program to protect slavery in the territories, so the delegates from eight southern states quit the meeting and nominated as their candidate John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky. Northern and western delegates nominated Stephen Douglas. 5. The Republicans chose Lincoln as their candidate for his moderate position on slavery, his appealing egalitarian image, and his important Midwest political base. . The fourth candidate was John Bell, a former Tennessee Whig, who was the 194 Chapter 13: The Crisis of the Union, 1844–1860 nominee of the compromise-seeking Constitutional Union Party. 7. Lincoln received only 40 percent of the popular vote but won a majority in the electoral college by carrying every northern and western state except New Jersey; Douglas won electoral votes only in Missouri and New Jersey; Breckinridge captured every state in the Deep South as well as Delaware, Maryland, and North Carolina; John Bell carried the Upper South states. 8.
The Republicans had united the Northeast, the Midwest, and the Far West behind free soil and had seized national power; to many southerners it seemed their constitutional order of slavery was an order now under siege. “free soil, free labor, free men,” which subsequently became the program of the Republican Party. (402) popular sovereignty The republican principle that ultimate power resides in the hands of the electorate. Popular sovereignty dictates that voters directly or indirectly (through their elected representatives) ratify the constitutions of their state and national governments and amendments to those fundamental laws.
During the 1850s the U. S. Congress applied the principle to western lands by enacting legislation that gave residents there the authority to determine the status of slavery in their own territories. (406) personal-liberty laws Laws enacted in many northern states to protect free blacks and fugitive slaves from southern slave catchers. Early laws required a formal hearing before a local court. When these kinds of provisions were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Prigg v. Pennsylvania (1842), new laws prohibited state officials from helping slave catchers. (407) Key Terms Manifest Destiny A term coined by John L.
O’Sullivan in 1845 to describe the idea that Euro-Americans were fated by God to settle the North American continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Adding geographical and secular dimensions to the Second Great Awakening, Manifest Destiny implied that the spread of American republican institutions and Protestant churches across the continent was part of God’s plan for the world. In the late nineteenth century, the focus of the policy expanded to include overseas expansion. (392) Great American Desert The name given to the drought-stricken Great Plains by Euro-Americans in the early nineteenth century.
Believing the region was unfit for cultivation or agriculture, Congress designated the Great Plains as permanent Indian country in 1834. (392) conscience Whigs Whig politicians who opposed the Mexican War (1846–1848) on moral grounds. They maintained that the purpose of the war was to expand and perpetuate slavery. They feared that the addition of more slave states would ensure the South’s control of the national government and undermine a society of yeomen farmers and “free labor” in the North. (401) free-soil movement A political movement of the 1840s that opposed the expansion of slavery.
Motivating its members—mostly white yeomen farmers—was their belief that slavery benefited “aristocratic men. ” They wanted farm families to settle the western territories and install democratic republican values and institutions there. The short-lived Free-Soil Party (1848–1854) stood for Lecture Strategies 1. Write a lecture that explores the life and career of James K. Polk as a representative expansionist. Explain why he was willing to compromise on Oregon but went to war with Mexico. Discuss Polk’s leadership as a wartime president. Was he guilty of unnecessarily provoking war?
Consider this action as a precedent for future presidents. Emphasize the initially overwhelming public support for the war. Describe the experiences of U. S. troops during the invasion of Mexico. Explain how changes in public opinion came about, resulting in Polk’s considerable decline in popularity by 1848. 2. Write a lecture that analyzes the historical nature of Manifest Destiny, showing how the areas intended for American expansion changed over time from including all of North America to including all the areas now part of the United States.
Ask whether the westward movement was a matter of expansion or conquest. What was the impact of expansion on the environment and the Native American population? You might select California as a suitable case study. 3. Write a lecture that examines the War against Mexico from the perspective of the Mexican people. How did the actions of American citizens in the 1830s and 1840s look from Mexico’s point of view? Discuss the Mexican War from the perspec- Chapter 13: The Crisis of the Union, 1844–1860 195 tive of the Mexican government. What alternatives did it have?
Raise the topic of Pierce’s actions with regard to Cuba, pointing out similarities in the United States’ actions toward Mexico. Discuss whether a style in diplomatic relations with nonindustrial countries had already been set. 4. Historians have long debated the causes of the Civil War. Write a lecture discussing the events of the 1850s, and explore how economics, the political structure and leadership of the time, and slavery caused the war. Explain how the increasingly industrial North competed with the agricultural, plantation South. Explore evidence of poor leadership among politicians ushed by fanatics in both the North and the South. Finally, discuss the debate over slavery as a cause of the war. 5. Write a lecture that focuses on the question of slavery in the national territories. As background, review the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and discuss congressional plans to extend it across the Mexican cession. Explain how territorial acquisition from the Mexican War forced the issue onto the national agenda. Expand on the arguments over the Wilmot Proviso. Explain the Compromise of 1850 and show how the generation of political leaders that included Clay was committed to compromise.
Explain why the organization of Kansas and Nebraska into territories was necessary. Explore the effects of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, emphasizing the horror that “Bleeding Kansas” became for the nation. Conclude with the Dred Scott decision and its answer to the question of slavery in the territories. 6. Write a lecture that discusses American schemes to expand into Latin America in the 1850s. Explore President Pierce’s attempts to distract public attention from slavery by playing up those schemes. Explain southern interest in Latin America for the purpose of expanding plantation agriculture and slavery.
Examine the filibuster movement through case studies on Nicaragua and Cuba. 7. Write a lecture that focuses on the Dred Scott case, covering Scott’s personal story and the impact of the case on the nation. Emphasize Buchanan’s connivance with the Supreme Court. Discuss Chief Justice Taney’s arguments that African Americans were not citizens and that neither Congress nor territorial governments could prohibit slavery in the territories. Discuss the constitutional validity of Taney’s points. Review Taney’s statements in light of his background as a Jacksonian Democrat. Explain why Abraham Lincoln believed that this case roved that the southerners’ goal was to make slavery legal throughout the country. 8. While southerners vilified abolitionists, many northerners lionized them. Write a lecture that discusses John Brown’s motives and actions, noting that most of his victims were not slaveholders. Explore evidence that Brown was a fanatic. Was his extremism justifiable in the defense of liberty? Explore the commitment among northern religious leaders to abolitionism. Discuss the practicality of Brown’s goals at Harpers Ferry. Explore Brown’s long-term effects on the North and the South. Reviewing the Text
These questions are from the textbook and follow each main section of the narrative. They are provided in the Computerized Test Bank with suggested responses, for your convenience. Manifest Destiny: South and North (pp. 392–398) 1. Both elected officials and private individuals shaped America’s western policy. Which group was more important? Why? • Elected officials, like James K. Polk and Sam Houston, were the most important because they worked in high political circles that controlled the economy, armed forces, and government systems that shaped the larger parameters of western policy. 2.
How did western expansion become linked with the sectional conflict between the North and the South? Why, after two decades of hesitation, did politicians support territorial expansion in the 1840s? • Western expansion created an ongoing split between North and South after the War of 1812 over the idea of whether or not new states should allow slavery. Slavery created two distinct economic systems in the United States between North and South. The Missouri Compromise of 1820, the Compromise of 1850, and the Kansas Nebraska Act of 1854 were all failed attempts at resolving the intersection of western expansion and the slavery issue. Politicians supported western expansion in part based on the ideology of Manifest Destiny congealing in the United States during the 1840s. The Texas Independence movement, fears of 196 Chapter 13: The Crisis of the Union, 1844–1860 European claims of the Pacific Northwest, and the discovery of gold in California combined to motivate politicians to create a continental nation with west coast ports to trade with Asia. Party system was unable to contain the debate, further destabilizing the compromise. 2. What did Stephen Douglas try to accomplish with the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854?
Was that act any more successful than the Compromise of 1850? Explain your answer. • Douglas wanted to resolve sectional disputes, politically organize the Louisiana Purchase lands into new territories, earn a fortune and higher political office by facilitating a transcontinental railroad from Chicago to San Francisco, and extinguish Native American land claims. • The act was no more successful than the 1850 Compromise, as the North and South were morally polarized on the issue and now willing to use violence for their causes, and both sides were politically determined to remake the act and avoid any compromises.
Its basis in popular sovereignty doomed the act because of the vagueness of the policy. 3. What were the main constitutional arguments advanced during the debate over slavery in the territories? Which of those arguments influenced Chief Justice Taney’s opinion in Dred Scott ? • The main constitutional arguments were as follows: states have the right to secede from the Union; Congress has no right to regulate slavery in the territories; extend the Missouri Compromise line to the Pacific Ocean; follow squatter or popular sovereignty; and Congress should restrict slavery within its existing boundaries and then extinguish it completely. Taney argued that Congress and territorial governments had no authority to prohibit slavery in a territory, and that slave owners could take their property into a territory and own it. Taney endorsed the principle of popular sovereignty: settlers could write a constitution, request statehood, and then decide if slavery would be legal. War, Expansion, and Slavery, 1846–1850 (pp. 398–406) 1. Why did President Polk go to war with Mexico? Why did the war become so divisive in Congress? Polk went to war with Mexico to obtain Mexican land for capitalist production, to create a continental nation with trading ports near Asia, and to fulfill a Christian and Manifest Destiny ideology. • The war became divisive in Congress initially because of the Wilmot Proviso’s focus on banning slavery from any new territories acquired from Mexico. This act alienated southerners who wanted to extend slavery to new lands as a positive good and to fulfill popular sovereignty. 2. What issues were resolved by the Compromise of 1850?
Who benefited more from its terms, the North or the South? Why? • The Compromise of 1850 resolved the issue of whether or not to legally allow slavery in new lands acquired from Mexico. Results included California entering as a free state, a new Fugitive Slave Act, abolishing the slave trade (but not slavery) in the District of Columbia, organizing the remaining lands acquired from Mexico into the territories of New Mexico and Utah, and leaving the decision to allow or prohibit slavery to the local population (popular sovereignty). The South benefited more because slavery remained legal in the nation’s capital, the federal government would increase its use of force to return escaped slaves to their white masters, and the remaining lands taken from Mexico could decide for themselves if they wanted slavery. The North, however, could claim that it had put limitations on slavery, indicating a slow death to the institution over time. Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Triumph, 1858–1860 (pp. 414–419) 1. How did Lincoln’s position on slavery differ from that of Stephen Douglas? Lincoln believed that the Slave Power was dangerous and warned that the proslavery Supreme Court might soon declare that the Constitution does not permit a state to exclude slavery from its borders. Lincoln feared the spread of slavery to new states and territories made possible by the Dred Scott decision of 1857. The End of the Second Party System, 1850–1858 (pp. 406–414) 1. Why did the Compromise of 1850 fail? • The Compromise failed because antislavery northerners refused to accept its provision for returning fugitive slaves and slavery’s erosion of free labor in the west.
Proslavery southerners also plotted to extend slavery into the West, the Caribbean, and Central America. The Second Chapter 13: The Crisis of the Union, 1844–1860 197 • Douglas argued strongly for white supremacy and popular sovereignty and advocated the Freeport Doctrine, which suggested that a territory’s residents could exclude slavery simply by not adopting a law to protect it. He also supported the Dred Scott decision. 2. Did the Republicans win the election of 1860, or did the Democrats lose it? Explain your answer. The Democrats lost the election because of their inability as a party to take a firm stance on the spread of slavery to new states and territories. Southern Democrats divided into two groups: moderates and radicals. Northern Democrats rejected both groups. Southern Democrats held their own party convention in 1860 and nominated the sitting Vice President Breckinridge; northern and Midwestern delegates met separately and nominated Stephen Douglas. both major political parties along sectional lines. The Whigs were unable to absorb these divisions and never again ran a national ticket. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 further divided and ruined the party, sending many antislavery members into the Republican ranks. The Democratic Party barely survived but lost the election of 1860 to a dark-horse candidate from a new third party. 3. Some historians claim that the mistakes of a “Blundering Generation” of political leaders led, by 1860, to the imminent breakup of the Union. Do you agree with their assessment? Why or why not? • Elected officials exert a strong force in shaping the fate of millions of average citizens through laws and policies passed in Congress. The policies and decisions of James Buchanan and Stephen Douglas are a case in point: Buchanan supported the southern proslavery position and was unwilling to use his office to further compromise between North and South. Convinced that a final proslavery decision would end the fighting in Kansas, Buchanan pressured several federal judges to vote in tandem with their southern colleagues in the Dred Scott case of 1856. He then added fuel to the fire by recommending that Kansas be admitted as a slave state under a proslavery Lecompton legislature, despite public and official misgivings over the legitimacy of the Lecompton government. Douglas wanted desperately to become president of the United States and earn wealth from being the spokesmen for a transcontinental railroad, so pushed the idea of popular sovereignty in the Kansas-Nebraska Act, resulting in violent outbreaks known as “Bleeding Kansas. ” Chapter Writing Assignments These questions appear at the end of Chapter 13 in the textbook. They are provided in the Computerized Test Bank with suggested responses, for your convenience. 1. What were the links between the Mexican War of 1846–1848 and Abraham Lincoln’s election as president in 1860? Links included the emergence of Lincoln during the war as an antiwar Whig who championed free labor ideology. He later won election based on the Republican slogan of “free soil, free labor, freemen. ” • Lincoln was elected in 1860 because of an ongoing ideological split between southern slaveholding states and northern free states over the spread of slavery to new territories and states. The War with Mexico in 1848 inflamed this debate, which Lincoln condemned as a young Congressman, establishing himself as a strong voice for free labor. Lincoln’s election was made possible by a political vacuum created by the ideological differences between North and South over the spread of slavery. 2. When and why did the Second Party System of Whigs and Democrats collapse? • The Second Party System collapsed when many southern Whigs refused to support General Winfield Scott as a presidential candidate in 1852 because many northern Whigs refused to support slavery. The conflict over slavery split Class Discussion Starters 1. What were the most important causes of the war with Mexico?
Possible answers a. Southerners desired to expand slavery. b. Americans wished to gain more land for settlers. c. The majority of Americans believed in Manifest Destiny. d. American arrogance, including scorn for the Mexican government and the Catholic religion, and a belief in American superiority also contributed to the war. 198 Chapter 13: The Crisis of the Union, 1844–1860 e. Mexico’s weakness made Texas a temptation for opportunists. 2. Was the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo fair or unfair to Mexico? Possible answers a. Fair.
After all, Mexico had lost the war, and the United States could have taken even more land. b. Fair. The United States paid Mexico $15 million for land it had conquered and could have just seized. c. Unfair. The treaty was forced on a government installed by the conquering American troops. d. Unfair. The payment did not equal the value of the lands seized, which constituted one-third of the area of Mexico. 3. How do you think the Californios viewed the influx of Americans in the 1840s and 1850s? Possible answers a. Some probably felt foreigners were invading them. b.
Ranchers and merchants saw opportunities to sell their products to the newcomers. c. Many old Californios decided to ally themselves with the Americans by marrying their daughters to young American men. These sons-in-law helped the Californios adjust to American control. 4. How do you explain northern attempts to circumvent the Fugitive Slave Act with personal liberty laws and denunciations of states’ rights theory? Possible answers a. Northern abolitionists believed in a law higher than the Constitution. b. Northerners’ denunciations of states’ rights were hypocritical.
They believed in what was best for the North at the moment. c. Northerners believed that southerners had used shady means to dominate the government and to get the Fugitive Slave Act passed. 5. How might the events of the 1850s have been different if Congress had extended the Missouri Compromise line instead of passing the KansasNebraska Act? Possible answers a. Slavery would never have been considered for Kansas, and bloodshed would not have occurred there. b. Southerners would have been far more assertive regarding expansion into Mexico and the Caribbean. c.
The Republican Party might not have been formed. Even if it had been, it would not have had to focus so strongly on prohibiting slavery in the territories. 6. What could President Buchanan have done to prevent the Civil War? Possible answers a. Buchanan could have worked harder to keep Democratic Party leaders in the North and South together in 1860, in which case the Democrats probably would have won the presidency. b. Buchanan could have extended the Missouri Compromise line. c. The Civil War was inevitable, and there was nothing Buchanan could have done. 7.
Which of the following was the most important cause of the Civil War: economic differences, political failures, or slavery? Possible answers a. Southern economic interests included low tariffs, low taxes, expansion into Mexico, and close ties to the British textile industry. Northern interests included high protective tariffs, taxes to build transportation networks, and the growth of the North’s manufacturing base. b. Democratic leaders such as Buchanan were inept, and Republican leaders had decided against making compromises that might have prevented the war. c.
The issue of slavery continually forced politicians in the North and South into confrontations. d. Slavery was the economic difference and the ethical difference, and politics broke down trying to protect it. Chapter 13: The Crisis of the Union, 1844–1860 199 Classroom Activities 1. Reenact the Lincoln-Douglas debates in class by asking for volunteers for Lincoln and Douglas teams. Form two groups and instruct them to create a list of talking points for their respective side. As moderator you will ask a series of important questions related to the themes of the chapter.
Go beyond the actual content of the debates and ask questions regarding modern times as well. 2. Bring in an image of Manifest Destiny, such as the painting American Progress by John Gast (1872). Place the image on an overhead and generate a discussion of American westward expansion based on an intensive viewing of the image. As usual, ask students what is not shown in the image, and why that’s important for understanding particular developments of U. S. history. • Northern whites took up arms to halt the spread of slavery to new states and prevent tyranny by the planter class.
Southern slaveholders and their supporters wanted to safeguard the civil liberties of the constitution and their own pocketbooks by making sure that slavery was legally allowed in new states. • It was significant that both would fight in the Civil War because the later conflict was based on the same ideological disagreements first played out on the bloody fields of Kansas in 1855. The Civil War was an extension of Bloody Kansas. 3. Like most political or ideological doctrines, popular sovereignty only works well in certain circumstances.
What were the conditions in Kansas between 1854 and 1860 that made it virtually unworkable? Can you see any parallels with the experiment of popular sovereignty in Iraq since 2004? Explain your answer. • Popular sovereignty failed to work in Kansas because both sides flooded the state with new residents sternly committed to their cause, resulting in the creation of two state governments. The closeness of Missouri enabled proslavery men to cross the border, vote, and return home. Meanwhile, abolitionists sent rifles to antislavery men in Kansas.
The debates between Democrats and Republicans in Congress over the KansasNebraska Act also gave hope to both sides by making the act appear to be doomed. • The following parallels between Kansas in 1854 and Iraq since 2004 could be made: both witnessed civilian deaths, guerilla warfare, strong ideological differences between opposing sides, unsettled government structure, and political debate by Democrats and Republicans over how to resolve the problem. VO I C E S F R O M A B R OA D Oral History Exercise What are the oral stories of Native Americans regarding manifest destiny and American westward expansion between 1820 and 1865? As the instructor you can assign students to locate specific passages on the Internet and from texts in the school library. Students can then answer a series of questions that you prepare. Or you can bring into class a range of examples and use those to generate a discussion. This exercise also works well as a research paper. Working with Documents C O M PA R I N G A M E R I C A N VO I C E S Civil War in Kansas (p. 12) 1. What do these letters suggest about the character of the armed conflict in Kansas? Just how bloody was it? • Based on ideological differences, the conflict was bitter and included standoffs and near-battles, with minimal communication with the opposing side. It was at times bloody, with abolitionists targeting pro-slavery advocates, and pro-slavery advocates targeting abolitionists. Violence between groups hostile to one another claimed about 200 lives in Kansas. 2. Why do you think Axalla Hoole and John Lawrie took up arms?
Is it significant that both of them would go on to fight in the Civil War? Salomon de Rothschild: A French Banker Analyzes the Election of 1860 and the Threat of Secession (p. 418) 1. Do you agree with Salomon de Rothschild’s analysis of the motives of antislavery northern whites? • One could agree with Rothschild’s argument that antislavery northern whites asserted humanitarian reasons and beliefs about the need for absolute equality in society. • One could disagree about his assessment that the “real sentiment” of antislavery northern whites 200
Chapter 13: The Crisis of the Union, 1844–1860 was their jealousy over the extra labor accessible to the southern slave-owning aristocracy. 2. Is Rothschild correct about the role of tariffs in the secession crisis? What happened to tariffs after the nullification crisis of the 1830s (see Chapter 10)? • Rothschild is correct. Northeastern states generated a significant portion of their economy from the industrial revolution, but needed strong protection from the importation of cheaper European industrial goods. This protection came in the form of high tariffs on imported goods.
But the South produced large amounts of wealth from slave-grown cotton, and could easily purchase cheaper European goods directly without having to purchase the same goods at higher prices to assist northeastern states. The secession crisis stemmed in part from southern feelings of economic alienation by the North. • After the nullification crisis of the 1830s, tariffs were reduced by a compromise measure between North and South initiated by President Andrew Jackson and Congress. By 1842 import taxes had reverted to 1816 levels. 3.
From what you have read in the text, is Rothschild’s speculation that New York City will secede along with the South a realistic one? What argument does he make? Why was he wrong? • It was not realistic that New York City would leave the union, though strong proslavery sentiment did exist in the Irish and Anglo American working-class community. Although, as Rothschild suggests, the city’s economy was tied closely with cotton exports from the South, it was also a bastion of free territory and free labor sentiment and was not dependent on the South for its economic growth. reedom, and to characterize the westward expansion as a progressive and beneficial exercise in human achievement. • The significance of the “School Book” lies in its symbolism of the progressive uplift inherent to American values and westward expansion. Lady Liberty will use the book to educate not only inferior and unproductive Indians and Mexicans, but an entire continent in the proper form of capitalist pursuit. 2. The painting has three horizontal planes—foreground, middle ground, and background—and each tells a separate story. What stages of social evolution are pictured in each plane?
What symbols of progress does Gast employ? How is technology depicted? What role does it play in the artist’s depiction of progress? • Foreground: Pioneers and miners come out first to chase away Indians and create trails and infrastructure for settlement, followed by farm families who subdue the land through capitalist production and build houses. • Middle ground: Lady Liberty leads the way with a schoolbook while Indians flee before the face of industrial advancement in the form of trains and steamships. • Background: Steamships and covered wagons and a pony express rider frame a brilliantly lighted sky. Symbols of progress: Farmers plow land and build houses, there is a stagecoach mail system, and the industrial revolution is depicted in the form of trains, steamships, and telegraph. Lady Liberty holds a book symbolizing the enlightenment of formal education. • Technology serves as the selling point or justification for the progressive character of American westward expansion: It brings people, democracy, and capitalist production to undeveloped people and lands. 3. Gast also has divided the painting into two vertical planes. What do you think the transition from lightness to darkness symbolizes? Darkness symbolizes the undeveloped and savage nature of the West that is being tamed and brought into capitalist production through the efforts of Lady Liberty and her technology. U. S. western expansion is characterized as progressive in the painting through the use of brilliant sunlight, for an almost spiritual effect. Lady Liberty emerges from the light to bring advancement to the dark West. Reading American Pictures Visualizing “Manifest Destiny” (p. 396) 1. The painting is an allegory: The artist uses symbols to depict America’s expansion to the Pacific.
The central symbol is the goddess Liberty; she floats westward, her forehead emblazoned with the “Star of Empire. ” Why do you think Gast chose Liberty to lead the republic to the West? What is the significance of the “School Book” in her left hand? • Gast chose Liberty for several reasons: As a symbol of American democracy enlightening Indian savages, as part of an ongoing use of white women as symbols of American democracy and Chapter 13: The Crisis of the Union, 1844–1860 201 4. In the background on the far right stands New York City, with the great Brooklyn Bridge (which was still being built in 1872) spanning the East River.
Far off to the left you can see the Pacific Ocean. Why did Gast include these elements in the painting? • Gast included references to both coasts to emphasize the continental scope of the new United States and the importance of commerce and urban growth to develop the western portion of the nation. • Gold, Greed, and Genocide (2002, Project Underground, 30 minutes) Produced by the nonprofit group Project Underground, this hard-hitting documentary traces the impact of the gold rush on the Indians and the environment of California to the present day.
Literature • Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (New York: Signet Classics, 1981) One of the most important books of the nineteenth century, Uncle Tom’s Cabin is essential for helping students to understand the abolitionist viewpoint and the causes of the Civil War. • Richard Henry Dana, Two Years Before the Mast (New York: Signet Classics, 2000) A first-hand account by a Yankee in Mexican California. Electronic Media Web Sites • “Uncle Tom’s Cabin and American Culture: A Multi-Media Archive” http://jefferson. illage. virginia. edu/utc/ An extremely rich site that places the novel in its literary and cultural context. See also “Harriet Beecher Stowe and Uncle Tom’s Cabin” at http://xroads. virginia. edu/~MA97/riedy/hbs . html • The California Gold Rush www. museumca. org/goldrush This site is based on exhibits originating at the Oakland Museum, and is one of the best locations for Gold Rush art and other visual documents. • The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 http://www. nps. gov/archive/liho/debates. tm This National Park Service site provides a map of Illinois indicating where the debates occurred, and contains links to the text of the debates. Additional Bedford/St. Martin’s Resources for Chapter 13 FOR INSTRUCTORS Transparencies The following maps and images from Chapter 13 are available as full-color acetates: • War News from Mexico, 1848 • Map 13. 1 American Settlements and the Texas War of Independence • Map 13. 2 Territorial Conflict in Oregon, 1819– 1846 • Map 13. 3 Routes to the West, 1835–1860 • American Progress, John Gast • Map 13. The Mexican War, 1846–1848 • Map 13. 5 The Mexican Cession, 1848 • Map 13. 6 The California Gold Rush, 1849–1857 • Map 13. 7 The Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 • Map 13. 8 Political Realignment, 1848–1860 Films • U. S. -Mexican War: 1846–1848 (2000, PBS documentary, 4 hours) The documentary examines the cause, development, and aftermath of the conflict. A companion Web site (www. pbs. org/kera/ usmexicanwar/index_flash. html) views the war from both American and Mexican perspectives and draws on the expertise of historians from both countries.
A section for educators provides lesson plans, a timeline, primary source materials, and other links. • The West (2000, PBS documentary, 6 hours) Directed by Ken Burns and Stephen Ives, the documentary also has an accompanying and useful Web site at www. pbs. org/weta/thewest/. Instructor’s Resource CD-ROM The following maps, figures, and images from Chapter 13, as well as a chapter outline, are available on disc in both PowerPoint and jpeg formats: • Map 13. 1 American Settlements and the Texas War of Independence • Map 13. 2 Territorial Conflict in Oregon, 1819– 1846 02 Chapter 13: The Crisis of the Union, 1844–1860 • • • • • • • • • • Map 13. 3 Routes to the West, 1835–1860 Map 13. 4 The Mexican War, 1846–1848 Map 13. 5 The Mexican Cession, 1848 Map 13. 6 The California Gold Rush, 1849–1857 Map 13. 7 The Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 Map 13. 8 Political Realignment, 1848–1860 War News from Mexico, 1848 “The Father of Texas” Assault on the Alamo American Progress, John Gast Using the Bedford Series with America’s History, Sixth Edition Available online at bedfordstmartins. om/usingseries, this guide offers practical suggestions for incorporating volumes from the Bedford Series in History and Culture into the U. S. History Survey. Relevant titles for Chapter 13 include • NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS, AN AMERICAN SLAVE, WRITTEN BY HIMSELF, Second Edition, Edited with an Introduction by David W. Blight, Yale University • The Japanese Discovery of America: A Brief History with Documents, by Peter Duus, Stanford University • THE CONFESSIONS OF NAT TURNER and Related Documents, Edited with an Introduction by Kenneth S.
Greenburg, Suffolk University • Defending Slavery: Proslavery Thought in the Old South, A Brief History with Documents, by Paul Finkelman, Albany Law School • DRED SCOTT V. SANDFORD: A Brief History with Documents, by Paul Finkelman, Albany Law School FOR STUDENTS 5. Salmon P. Chase, Defining the Constitutional Limits of Slavery (1850) 6. John C. Calhoun, A Discourse on the Constitution (1850) 7. Frederick Grimke, The Right of Secession (1856) 8. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 9. Fulfilling a Constitutional Duty with Alacrity (1850) 10.
Opposing Accounts of the Rescue of a Fugitive (1851) 11. Charles Sumner, The Crime Against Kansas (1856) 12. The Dred Scott Decision (1857) 13. The Lincoln-Douglas Debates (1858) 14. The Trial of John Brown (1859) 15. John A. Copeland, Jr. , Letter to His Parents (1859) Online Study Guide at bedfordstmartins. com/henretta The Online Study Guide helps students synthesize the material from the text as well as practice the skills historians use to make sense of the past. The following map, visual, and documents activities are available for Chapter 13: Map Activity Map 13. 7 The Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 Visual Activity • Reading American Pictures: Visualizing “Manifest Destiny” Reading Historical Documents Activities • Comparing American Voices: Civil Warfare in Kansas • Voices From Abroad: Salomon de Rothschild: A French Baker Analyzes the Implications of the Election of 1860 and the Threat of Secession Documents to Accompany America’s History The following documents and illustrations are available in Chapter 13 of the companion reader by Melvin Yazawa, University of New Mexico: 1.
John L. O’Sullivan, Texas, California, and Manifest Destiny (1845) 2. Thomas Oliver Larkin, The Importance of California (1845) 3. The Great Prize Fight (1844) 4. Carlos Maria de Bustamante, The American Invasion of Mexico (1847) Critical Thinking Modules at bedfordstmartins. com/historymodules These online modules invite students to interpret maps, audio, visual, and textual sources centered on events covered in the U. S. history survey. Relevant modules for Chapter 13 include • The Rise of Sectional Politics, 1848–1860