Compromise Of 1850 Dbq Analysis

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The Constitution of the United States was formed in order to unify the separate states into one country, under one government. It established the government, laws and proclaimed the rights of United States citizens. Under the Constitution slavery was neither legal nor illegal, creating problems eventually leading to the dissolution of the Union. This oversight in the Constitution led to increased tension between the North, who called for an end to slavery, and the South were the institution was deeply rooted. The rapid expansion of the United States during the 1850’s through 1860’s revitalized the slavery debate, and called for decision on whether slavery would continue and spread, or be outlawed. The Constitution, once a tool for creating…show more content…
The compromise allowed California to enter the Union as a free state, and the territories acquired in the Mexican American War to be determined free or slave through popular sovereignty. This compromise also called for stricter enforcement of fugitive slave laws, as slaves were considered property, and under the Constitution must be returned to their owners. This created tension between Northern and Southerners, especially since the North wanted nothing to do with the institution of slavery, even if it was just returning slaves. The Southerners were also angered that slave trade was ended in Washington, for they felt it was an attempt to end slavery. The Compromise of 1850, while it prevented the war for several years, failed to accomplish significant changes. Document B further supports the inadequacy of the Constitution. The speaker believes the Constitution fails to protect the interests of every state, especially the weaker Southern states. He feels that the Northerners are infringing on the Southerners’ rights to own land and property by preventing them from bringing slaves into new territories. The speaker believes that the North is denying the Southerners’ their rights guaranteed by the Constitution, and this will led to the downfall of the…show more content…
The fugitive slave laws were disliked by Northerners, but they were laws that must be followed as they were enacted under the Constitution. Document C provides an example of the problems the newly enforced laws created. Free African Americans had to constantly be aware of being kidnapped or mistaken for a runaway slave. Slave Hunters would often kidnap free blacks and claim they were runaway slaves, so they could make a profit of them. Although some people took advantage of the fugitive slave laws, there were groups of abolitionists who still fought to end slavery, despite what the Constitution upheld. Men such as Ralph Waldo Emerson from Document D, and William Lloyd Garrison from Document E, fought tireless to spread their beliefs about the immoral nature of slavery. Emerson believed that the fugitive slave law contradicted the very Constitution it was protected by, as it took away the right to liberty and life. He felt that because the law is immoral and the constitution contradicted itself, the Union was coming to an end. William Lloyd Garrison shared similar views to that of Emerson, and refused to support a Constitution that protects slavery. The Constitution promised to protect the rights of everyone in the country, but neglected to protect nearly three million held as slaves. The North did not want to be a part of a Union with Slaveholders, while the South did not want to be a part
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