HIS 104 Liberty challenged in nineteenth century in America

Liberty challenged in nineteenth century in America



Liberty challenged in nineteenth century in America

Slavery and the abolition of it was the single most controversial cause of the Civil War, as other issues revolved around being either pro slavery or anti-slavery. The Northern and Southern states had differing ideologies of what role slaves played in terms of taxation and representation, because the number of slaves in the North and South was not the same. This is when the Three-Fifths compromise came into being.

The apportionment of seats in the House of Representativesas well as taxation was a vital issue, but because the slave states in the south held a bigger stake in influencing the Supreme Court, Electoral College and even the Presidency, this meant that slaves in the north were inadequately represented; hence legislation in favor of slaves would not see the light of day, which in turn caused the Civil war between these two states. Another outcome of the Three-Fifths compromise is that each state could now acknowledge the percentage of tax they needed to pay, without back and forth disputes.

When abolitionists protested against slavery to the point of advocating for violence, the Missouri compromise was enacted. Congresssaw it fit to give both warring sides a piece of the cake by making Maine a Free State and Missouri a slave state, which was one outcome, therefore temporarily calming the storm that continued to brew.They further outlawed slavery north of the 36 degree latitude mark, which was the second outcome of the compromise.

The foremost compromise of 1850 was the admission of California as the 16thFree State, which was met by uproar from the southerners, who had until then assumed that California would be a slave state. To yet again seem fair and equitable to both sides, it was decreed that all runaway slaves from one state into the other were to be returned to their owners under a strict law, which was the second outcome of the compromise of 1850.

The Kansas-Nebraska act resulted in contention caused by the confusing language used in regards to slavery. Since this region had been split in two, the act proposed that the territory north of the fortieth parallel and the one south of the same, be allowed to decide whether to permit slavery or not. This was seen as a move to undermine the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and Compromise of 1850, which had stated that slavery was unlawful north of 36° 30′. It also resulted in Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas getting into heated debates over the slavery issue and with this opposition, the Republican Party was eventually founded.

The Dred Scott decision was a matter that clearly showed the position of the government on the slavery issue, as it was decided that Scott was not a citizen and could not therefore sue anyone in a court of law. He was not considered a person under the United States Constitution, a move that further heightened tensions regarding slavery. This move had the adverse effect of making the supporters of slavery rather glad, and they therefore declared the Missouri Compromise of 1850 unconstitutional.

The first reason why slavery was and still is politically and economically incompatible, is that the common nature of all human beings is to want to be equal in all areas of life. Secondly, we have the right to freedom, and the immorality of free labor would gradually cause conflict which directly affects the economy. Thirdly, slaves would constantly require food and shelter, which becomes costly in whichever generation. Slaves would not receive formal education, which would be detrimental to the nation as a whole.

Driving Forces that led to the Civil War are:-


    1. States’ Rights vs. Federal Rights
    2. Economic and Social Differences
      1. North: Industrial
      2. South- Slave/ Plantation life
        1. Slavery
        2. Lincoln Presidency

        Davis, J. M. M. G. H. (2003). The Illustrated Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era: The Civil War Era. Oxford University Press, USA.

        Foner, E. (1995). Free soil, free labor, free men: The ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War. Oxford University Press.

        Siddali, S. R. (2005). From Property to Person: Slavery and the Confiscation Acts, 1861–1862. LSU Press.

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