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Title Page and Essay

by rmhsclaire
Last updated 3 years ago

Discipline:
Social Studies
Subject:
American History
Grade:
10

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Conflict inCalifornia

Becoming a Free State after the Gold Rush

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How did the political, social, and cultural conflicts of the early 19th century, and the success and failure of Americans to compromise over those conflicts, cause the Civil War? AND SPECIFICALLYHow did the states' failure to compromise over California's admission as a free state contribute to the much larger conflict over the expansion of slavery, known as the Civil War?

By Claire Walsh

In 1849, because of the gold rush, a small, loosely populated area in the west became a rich, successful, densely populated territory ready for statehood. This state-to-be, called California, became the peak of interest considering slavery. The states' attempt to compromise over California's position on slavery widened the conflict between the north and south and resulted in compromising laws which also contributed to the conflict. After the Mexican War and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 many people moved to the new land of California to try their luck at striking gold, and towns and cities developed rapidly. California was going to be admitted soon, and traditionally to promote equality of state representation between the North and South, free states could only be admitted when accompanied with slave states. This created a dilemma because California wanted to be a free state. The soil and climate of California were simply not suited for the products mainly produced by slaves. However, the territory’s growth and success motivated the South to win California over as a slave-holding state, in hopes that the South might gain more political power. Californians contributed to the conflict by publishing their beliefs in newspapers like The California Star and Alta California. Some, in order to resolve the issue, wanted to impose the Missouri Compromise line from 1820. Others were more innovative and created their own plans. Henry Clay, a senator, proposed the California bill, which was denied due to the Southern powers present but was eventually put into place as the Compromise of 1850 and other following bills. There was a Constitutional Convention at Monterey in 1850, in which Senator Gwin played a large part by speaking on behalf of the Californians and deciding the boundaries of California. Here, the official request that California be admitted into the American Union was made by Fremont, Gwin, Gilbert, and Wright. California was finally admitted and became a state on October 29th, 1850. The Compromise of 1850 was the major resolution of the meetings concerning slavery in California and was a compromise that changed the future of conflict over slavery in the United States because of the certain boundaries and rules that it set. Unfortunately, it just ended up creating more conflict between the North and South, leading inevitably to war. As a result of the new conflicts that surfaced during California’s admission as a free state and the imposition of the Compromise of 1850, many laws were passed in an effort towards compromise. The Fugitive slave law and other personal liberty laws were created on September 18, 1850, and other states began to be allowed to choose if they were free or slave-owning. In addition, the South was angered and reacted viciously. The Southern rights association was created on Oct 25 1850, and Calhoun, the South’s greatest weapon, warned Senator Gwin of War. However, the admission of California is said to have marked the final stand of the South before the Civil War. California later fought against the Confederation in the Civil war and funded the Northern effort, upheld the US Sanitary commission, and rallied 17,000 men to fight. Overall, the gold rush and California’s admission as a free state was only an attempt at compromise and fueled new and old conflicts between the North and South.

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