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Political Views on Slavery in the US

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Mark Dawod

Political Compromise DBQ

Economics, politics, and society played the biggest roles when it came to making the compromise of slavery agonizingly difficult for the north and south.

Economics played its role when it came to making compromise between the two opposing forces difficult. For one, the South's society depended on slavery to make their economy prosper, it was basically the foundation to their entire economy. So much so that they resented a free society (Doc 6). Herald, who was quoted in the New York Tribune in 1856 stated, "Free society! We sicken at the name," in which he would go on bashing the north along with their "greasy mechanics and filthy operatives." The purpose of this article was to show the South's hatred toward a society without slaves, which is reliable because without those men laboring in their fields, they would all be living in poverty. Although the North's economy was prospering and catching up, it was nothing compared to the South's economy, ranked number four worldwide. During the Second Great Awakening, antislavery movements became more and more common, which angered the South. The Declaration of the National Anti-Slavery Convention (Doc 2) wanted to abolish slavery, saying that all laws allowing slavery would therefore be null in void before God. Their purpose for writing this report being that slavery was morally wrong, and therefore it should be terminated once and for all, also since this was written by a small group of people for all to read, I think it was fairly accurate concerning their true beliefs on slavery. This was something the South surely would not have agreed with, however, the Resolution of the Pinckney Committee (Doc 3) was more likely approved by them as it was more like their mindset. Pinckney's Committee's Resolution was to keep any further action against slavery from taking place, basically they did not want any more petitions, memorials, propositions, etc. relating to slavery. This document's audience, being the house of representatives, and Pinckney's background with South Carolina, makes this document biased because he was likely a slave owner himself.

Differing political views also made compromise difficult. For example, the imbalance of states would lead to angry southerners, or northerners, and cause much more devastating occurrences, for instance, Bleeding Kansas. Popular Sovereignty was strongly supported by the South, and when it was declared that Kansas would not be a slave state, Southerners resented and went ahead making their own legislature in the state, which eventually led to the death of many persons who inhabited Kansas. This wasn't the only time the South resented the federal government. Senator Henry Clay of South Carolina, in his speech to the Senate (Doc 1), argues that South Carolina has the right to defeat certain laws it deems unconstitutional. Since South Carolina believed so heavily in states' rights, and that their audience was the Senate, it was likely very biased to support their motives in keeping their slaves and not being absurdly taxed. In Daniel Webster's speech to the Senate (Doc 4), he attempts to speak as an American, he sides with the south when it came to the North not fully fulfilling their constitutional duties because they refused to follow the Fugitive Slave Act. He also went on to describe how it would be morally impossible to separate the north and south. Since Daniel Webster took the side of both forces, and had the point of view of an American citizen, this source can be considered reliable in viewing the situation from both halves of the country. In Abraham Lincoln's speech at Alton, Illinois (Doc 7) he attempts to defend politicians describing how northern politicians and officiers shouldn't be blamed for this difficulty regarding the issue of slavery, but this same power that operates in the minds of these men, is also all around them, in books, religions, and morals. One of these books being Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Society and the differing beliefs among the common people also played a big role in making compromise difficult, Uncle Tom's Cabin, a true story about a slave's experience in the South sparked a major outbreak in antislavery believers, their motives to end slavery suddenly became stronger. The Dred Scott decision also had differing views, for example, the Northern abolitionists saw this as a conspiracy, being that the South had set this up to forever keep slavery in their society as these African American men had no constitutional rights as they were not even citizens, not only that, but they were considered white man's property. The South, however, applauded this Supreme Court decision, as once and for all-or so they thought-they would be able to keep their slaves. Depicted in the illustration in Document 5, Sumner is being attacked by Brooks for verbally attacking Democrats, who the south despised. The purpose of this illustration was likely to depict how the South would result to such childish actions to get what they desired. Brooks wasn't just applauded by the South, he was praised, which would make this illustration a reliable forefront to the South's internal motives.

This difficulty in compromising between two differing forces can also relate back to Britain's control over the colonists. They wanted, by any means, to tax the colonists as they thought they had the right to do whatever they wanted since the colonies basically belonged to them. This connects back to the issue of slavery and coming to a compromise because each side tried to make it so that they had control and keep what they desired, they would even come to such desperate actions such as starting battles and hitting one another with canes, just as the colonists kept moving west of the proclamation line and the british soldiers being given the right live in any colonist's house. Both situations would also eventually lead to a war, required to make peace.


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