Events Lead to Cause the Major Sectionalism to Grow


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Sectionalism in the nineteenth century was a major issue that was becoming more prominent as time went along. The result leads to the civil war, a tragic event that took place from the disputes of the union versus the confederacy. The altercation between the two throughout the years continued to grow tremendously ultimately leading to a breaking point. Events lead to cause the major sectionalism to grow and become stronger. Events such as the Missouri compromise, the Mexican-American war, the Fugitive slave act, and the Wilmot Proviso. With several major events named, there is a common background to each of them which lead America into the sectionalize country it was in the nineteenth century. Each event revolving. around slavery, land, or even both.

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Missouri applied for statehood in February of 1819. in 1821 Missouri was known to be a slave state which would help the south in terms of satisfaction. Maine however to help create balance in the union became a free state. To help create balance within the union, a line was created at 36’60 so that any land below was slave territory while above was free. The split over Missouri was threatening towards realigning the political geography of the region. The sectional divide between North and South threatened the very identity of the country. (288). 

The Mexican-American war was America going to war with Mexico over Texas and the southern border. Northerns found the war to be unfit and The legislature of Massachusetts argued that the war was being conducted for the purpose of spreading slavery, increasing slave forces, and taking control of free states. (345) The fugitive slave act was set into place to control the amount of slave that were on the loose so that they can be returned to there owners. In the nineteenth century many slave from the south would run away from there owners. 

They ran north where there was free states. People of the north would come together to form groups that went against the rules to help slaves who have ran away. (396) With the north helping runaway slaves, the south became furoius so to intervine they created stricter fugitive slave laws. (396) Because of the norths effort to help runaway slaves from the south, this created tension strengthening sectionalism. Last major event would be Wilmot Proviso which was a proposal from David Wilmot to ban slaves to be apart in territories capture from the Mexican-American war. (392) The southern whites did not approve of this proposal, the thought alone causes them to become outrageous. The on the other hand wanted to use the land for social and economic advancement, not for slavery. (392)

America in the nineteenth century involved states that form what was called the union. The union consisted of the states but later on, when the tensions grew, the south became the confederacy while the north was the union. People beforehand tried to help the situation not escalate or control it from escalating, people such as Henry Clay. Henry Clay created and proposed the Missouri compromise to help the union stay together. He wanted to have the union balanced instead of having a dominant-side, Henry did not want to have either side free states or slave states have an advantage. 

This allowed Missouri when it became a state to enter the union as a slave state while the state of Maine entered as a Freestate (388) The question of a political balance of power was so important because it allowed for the union to maintain peace. Thats why Henry Clay proposed the Missouri compromise. Without the balance, an opposition could potentially cause the political syatem to tear apart. (288) Henry Clay’s actions were not wrongful either, just like Andrew Jackson’s implication if his actions performed were in a good intention to preserve and create balance with the government and America. 

The manifest destiny did also push the expansion of the west with many Americans having the dream of foreshadowing but also created an issue in slavery and terriorty. With the new term traveling all throughout America, the phrase manifest destiny went across America which involved America conquering the west. (337) This new phrase would lead to many events in the west that would cause the union to slowly break revolving around territory and slavery.

In the election of 1844, Jame Polk became the new president of American. President Polk was a part of the democratic party which favored the south. James Polk became the last strong chief executive before the breaking of the civil war. who lead America in the victory over the Mexican territory. With his action, Polk had continued to enlighten and defend the manifest destiny that Americans looked upon. Polk wanted to expand westward and to do so he wanted to buy the land but the Mexicans denied so Polk used military force to take territory to enrich the manifest destiny. (343) With President Polk’s drive in the westward expansion and the manifest destiny, I caused him the price of going into war. 

The war further divided the nation, causing northern whigs to condemned the war, and the Massachusetts legislature claiming the increase in slave, strengthing of slaves, and obtaining free state control. (345) The lack of leadership, even questioned by Abraham Lincoln and the lack to complete a second term helped in the accelerated process of the destruction of the union. Once James polk was done with presidency, a new president needed to be found and Abraham Lincoln had won the election causing North Carolina to succeed from the union along with other states (414) Under James Polk, The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in Mexico City by American and Mexican officials on February 2, 1848. Mexico agreed to forfeit its rights to Texas north and to cede to the United States more than five hundred thousand square miles of territory of New Mexico and California. This treaty also meant that America has to pay Mexico fifteen million. 

This expansion allowed for California to have a gold rush which helped the Americans but not the newly lost territory from the Mexicans. In California with more than two hundred and fifty thousand miners known as the forty niners, transform California to a state from its once territory. (347) Now becoming a state and the largest state of the union, this caused imbalance on the union because of Californias state hood of being a free state immediately causing southerns to be angered and upset. (394) With southerns enraged, this cause a major stirrup in the south almost causing South Carolina to no longer remain safely in the union. With California becoming a free state that was antislavery, many of the south sought this to be unfair. 

They wanted a resolution so with California being a free state, New Mexico and Utah emerged as territories where the fate of slavery would be determined by common sovereignty. (395) This produced the 1850 compromise, passing legislation to settle disagreements over the role of slavery in the country. The country had relief since the Agreement retained the Union and stability for the time being. (395) Creating another push in the union but in the wrong direction. The Kanas-Nebraska act also played a role in the push of the unions end. 

The lack of sectional peace from the compromise of 1850 lead to the creation of the Kansas-Nebraska act. The act took place in 1854 dividing the huge indian territory into Kansas and Nebraska where these newly left territories can vote and decide if there going to be a slave state based on popular soverignty. (398) This pushed the union because of Dougalus drive for a slave state to push the south and drive for slavery pushing the expansion of it. (398) This caused the union to potentially become unbalanced with the demand for slave state or free state.

Slavery in territories was a push that slave states wanted to push. Dred Scott, a former slave to a army doctor sued with the help of white folks to prove that his family and him were entitled to the freedom the they legally obtained. (407) Dred Scott argued that since he was living in the free state and free territory of Illinos and Minisota that him and his family would be free. (407) In 1857 the Dred Scott decision came about and the ruling made many republican outraged, especially the younger republican. Due to the ruling of the south, Scott was not free because of Mr. Scott not being a citizen in the free state making him not free. 

Also if he moved in free states doesnt make him free with rights. Taneys court decision was not correct in the overral decision, instead it caused republicans to become outraged with the proslavery decision and denying federal government to prohibit slavery in territorys. (407) in this point of thime, the decision lead the south in victory with the court decision. The souths decision helped in the push for proslavery and that congress in terms of slavery dis not have the authority to exlude it. 

Even with the multiple compromises made to help keep the balance, the south determined to push proslavery went with the decision and won the court ruling leaving them with a vicory. The emergence of the republican party was up and coming. They knew that the democratic south would do anything for proslavery. Abraham Lincoln was a major role in the republican party while Stephen Douglas represented the democratic pary. Lincoln challenged him in a face to face debate over the topic of slavery and freedom. Douglas won as the senate but in the end this allowed for Lincoln to gain national spotlight. (409, 410)

Once the election 1860 came about, this is when the union had its final runs and broke apart. In the time given for the election there were two democrats running for presidency. There names being John C. Breckinridge and Stephen A. Douglas. The south believed they would have the win but even with two democratic party leaders in election Abraham Lincoln won the election and became the newest president of America. This left the south in disrest because of all the effort put into proslavery could now be endangered due to Abrahm Lincolns views of antislavery. this election upsetted the south so much that at this point the union was already broken up, it was just a matter of time before states pulled out. 

The south agreed that they had to protect slavery because they cannot function without it.(413) In order to continue there views of proslavery, South Carolina succeeded from the union in December of 1860 leading to six more lower states succeeding in Feburary of 1861. (414) this would cause he lower south to become the confederate states of America while the north continued to be the union. With Lincolns promise, the south initiated in war. With the attack of Fort Sumter, this caused the north to be uneased and angered for destroying federal property. 

Lincoln knew that the Fort needed supplies badly so he ordered a peaceful expedition to deliver supplies without military reinforcement to keep peace within the nation (422) Lincoln promised in his inauguration speech that he will defend and not use military force on federal property unless attacked first. (422) With the confederate south knowing that in mind, they went ahead and demolished Fort Sumter before the supplies reached. Just like Lincoln promised, he must defend the nation against attack on federal property. From there is when the civl war broke out leading to the end of the union.

To conclude, there were many events that caused the uprise of sectionalsm to grow and build build. Not just events but people involved as well. Throughout the nineteenth century the feud between slavery, land and territory cause sectionalism within the union bringing them to a breaking point and ultimately ending.

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