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The Story of Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act

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As mentioned before, the Market Revolution had a major influence in the changing of the original “unity” that the nation held prior to 1860. During this time, the revolution had led to a divide in America, also known as the “Second Party-System”. The Democrats were threatened by the change going on in the nation, while the Whigs thrived from it. 

The Democrats, lead majorly by Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren, supported free trade and wanted to limit the federal government. This party was made up of the small farmers, poor industrial workers, immigrants and Catholics. There was a massive want and support for expansion westward for farmland, but this was met with conflict between labor and capital. On the opposing side, were the Whigs, led by Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, who supported the “American System” and wanted more government action. This party consisted of the middle-class, native-born, evangelical Protestants, and merchants who wanted harmony between labor and capital. These parties were a testament to what the nation would later go through, however. The decline of the “Second Party-System” was a direct allusion to the soon-to-come destruction of the Union, as it eventually collapsed due to the issue of slavery.

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Past these, only a few extremely major things occurred in the following years. A few other governmental passings, such as the Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854. The Compromise of 1850 gave the new territories of New Mexico and Utah the choice of being a free or slave state. The Kansas-Nebraska was similar, in the fact that it gave those respective states the right to choose, but had an addition as well. This act repealed the Missouri Compromise, the very compromise that “fixed the slavery issue”.

Next is the topic of racial issues and slavery. This, while being intertwined with the political causes, was a major thing and quite possibly the most important factor in the breaking of the nation. Things were already at a crossroads between people about the topic already since even by the start of this, people began thinking about th morality of the situation.

In 1822, the Denmark Vesey rebellion in Charleston, South Carolina was crushed. Although the slaves seemed to have had no progress, the American Colonization Society established Monrovia (Liberia) to promote the emigration of free blacks. This may seem good for those, but the seemed to be the first step to the segregation yet to come (when they are considered “equal”).

One of the biggest turning points in this era was the Nat Turner Rebellion in 1831. This conflict left 60 whites killed and led to Turner’s execution. In the same year, William Lloyd Garrison, began his abolitionist newspaper series, “The Liberator”. This newspaper showed Garrison’s ideas on slavery, being one of the first to speak out against this injustice, and becoming a father of the abolitionist movement. His strict ideas of “no compensation and immediate ending of all slavery” became widely known in the following years, leading others to stand against it, increasing tensions far greater than originally expected. 

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