Opinions About Slavery in the Territories Acquired from Mexico (Essay Sample)
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The slavery institution played a divisive role in the United States by dividing the nation into two groups, the Northerners and Southerners with each group having diverse opinions about slavery in the territories acquired from Mexico. The uncompromising differences between the two groups resulted to Civil War that addressed the slavery issue (The American Yawp, 2013).
Opinions about slavery in the territories acquired from Mexico
After the United States, acquired western territories following the end of Mexican-American war sectional differences emerged within the United States concerning the expansion of slavery into the western territories and the role of the federal government in protecting the interests of slaveholders. The Constitution granted the federal government the right to eradicate the international slave trade, but no authority to control or demolish the establishment of slavery where it already existed. Furthermore, the constitution did not provide any provision about the status of slavery in potential states. Settlement of the Great Plains rose swiftly during the 1850s, several people moved to Texas, and other parts of the territory acquired from Mexico in the 1840s. Congress frequently debated whether slavery should be permitted into the huge territories that were not yet structured into states (The American Yawp, 2013).
Opponents of slavery opposed arrangements of slave owners who wanted to initiate slavery into the territories obtained from Mexico. During the1850s, they became more suspicious that slaveholders had a plot of populating the Great Plains with slavery, establish more slave states, and demolish the American system of republican government. Furthermore, Northerners believed that slavery repressed wages and took land that could have been utilized by deprived white Americans to attain economic independence. On the other hand, White Southerners who supported slavery were worried that limitation on slavery in western territories would leave many slaves in the southern states, hence making slavery not profitable and as a result tearing down the region's economy. In addition, Southerners were worried that without slavery extension, the abolitionists group would come to take over national politics and an exceedingly dense population of slaves would result to bloody rebellion and race conflict (Halabi, et al., 2016).
However, since Congress directed the process of admission it could control the expansion of slavery before a territory became a state and had done it in the Missouri compromise of 1820 when Henry Clay of Kentucky temporarily solved the issue. He designed the Missouri Compromise, which brought Missouri into the Union as a Slave State and Maine as a Free State. Therefore, compromise was feasible to the issue of slavery and its westward expansion into the territories acquired as a result of the war with Mexico provided that both free North and the slave South had some opportunities for growth. Representative Wilmot of Pennsylvania introduced a potential solution to the problem in 1846. His proviso proposed that slavery should be outlawed in any territories acquired from Mexico. This would encourage white farmers to move west and meant that slavery was not an institution, which should extend ahead of its borders. This mix of racist and antislavery sentiment attracted several Northerners concerned to maintain new lands for Whites. Furthermore, afraid of the Southern slave power in Congress, numerous Northern politicians swiftly supported Wilmot’s amendment. Nevertheless, Southern politicians argued that the Act was unconstitutional and strongly stopped the approval of the Wilmot Proviso. Congress was compelled to re-examine the issue again when California appe...
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