Sectional Tension Dbq Essay

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By the mid-nineteenth century, the Constitution had been put into the fiery crucible that was the issue of slavery, littering the antebellum era with political controversy. The national structure framed by the Founding Fathers in 1787, initially intended to bring unity, was now the primary grounds from which the question of slavery was bringing sectional conflict and national disharmony as a result of mass-moral compromise. The Constitution of the United States was instituted to encourage the unification of the stark sectional divide within the nation. However, rather than achieve its purpose, the Constitution was contorted and employed by both sections to further their envisioned future of the country. Secessionists claimed, as verbalized …show more content…

As a result of the Compromise of 1850, which defused the quarrel between the free Northern States and the slave Southern States, the territories acquired during the Mexican-American War were determined to be free, slave, or dependent upon the principle of popular sovereignty. California was admitted as a free state, the Utah and New Mexico territories were to be determined by popular sovereignty, the Texas-New Mexico boundary was solidified, and slave trade was terminated in Washington, D.C., making it easier for the South to recover fugitive slaves (Document A). As stated by an Anonymous Georgian in “Plain Words for the North,” everything the South could ask for was embodied in the Constitution, but two provisions were necessary to the South’s success – “the recognition of slavery where the people choose it and the remedy for fugitive slaves” (Document B). The North saw popular sovereignty and the remedy of fugitive slaves as deceptive encouragement of immoral and unconstitutional activity (Document C). But, southerners viewed the North’s assumption of ownership to be unconstitutional. In many ways, and especially from the eyes of a Northerner, the largely Southern Democratic Platform forced slavery into society, particularly demanding its acceptance from the Free-Soil party with the Kansas-Nebraska Act. This inevitably stirred sectional discord and fanned the flame of the rising Secessionist

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