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The Expansion of Slavery (Essay Sample)


How did the issue of slavery, specifically slavery expansion into the federal territories, deepen sectionalism and impact the political system?

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How did the issue of slavery, especially slavery expansion into the federal territories, deepen sectionalism and impact the political system?
Between 1800 and 1865, the debates over the expansion of slavery in new territories influenced the constitutional issues of federalism, the balance of power between the state and federal governments. Rothman explains that the issue of slavery and the need of expansion influenced increased sectionalism between the south and north that promoted political views, economic practices and social movements (356). In the south, racist stereotyping created a complex hierarchy and influenced political actions, whereas in the north, abolitionist movements influence political parties and literature. U.S cultural and racial superiority ideological perception promoted expansion westward through Manifest Destiny (Carlisle 96). The expansion was also influenced by the desire to gain economic development and resources. The expansion of U.S westward through the Mexican cession and several treaties with Britain during the era of Polk’s presidency developed domestic debates between the south and north over the expansion of slavery in the west, which resulted into sectionalism.
As a result of many issues of slavery, sectionalism began to develop between the south and north due to differences in political interests, culture and economy (Rothman 374). Differences between the south and north initially developed during the colonial era as a consequence of the different geographies of the areas. The north had small farms and therefore relied on trade and industries to develop its economy while the South relied on agriculture and plantations to sustain its economy (Carlisle 99). The south depended on slave labor to develop its agriculture and plantation systems while the north discouraged slavery. Slavery manifested itself greater in the south than in the north.
The two regions had different political beliefs. Carlisle views that Republicans identified themselves as belonging to the party of the north, thus developing business and industries and promoting anti-slavery advocacy to oppose the expansion of slavery to new regions (103). The democrats were divided between the south and north. The northern democrats promoted a long-term harmonious relationship between free and slave states in new territories whereas southern democrats wanted federal government ...
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