[2015] Kiana Iwahiro (AB 67): A Divided Nation

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by BrookeValenzuela
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Social Studies
African-American History

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[2015] Kiana Iwahiro (AB 67): A Divided Nation

A Divided Nation

Compromise of 1850 Senator Henry Clay devised a plan to please both sides. Eventually, California was able to join Union as a free state and the remainder of the Mexican Cession was divided into two territories- Utah and New Mexico. This was the beginning of a fight over slavery.

Antislavery Literature Many northern abolitionists spread stories to gain sympathy for slaves. One novel written by Harriet Beecher exposed the harsh and cruel reality and mistreatment of slaves. This book shook the nation and created outrage in the South, making several controversies on whether slavery was good or bad.

Kansas-Nebraska Act Stephen Douglas supported the idea of building a railroad on land that was said to be free but needing help from southerners, they said they'd help if slavery was allowed there. Northerners were angered that the proposal would end with a land without freedom. They protested but the South prevailed. This act made the north and south realize their conflicting desires.

Bleeding Kansas The conflicts in Kansas between the two opposing sides grew hostile. The pro-slavery settlers owned guns and 800 men went to Lawrence to arrest antislavery leaders but found that they'd already fled. They let their frustration out on the city of Lawrence and one man was killed. In response to the murder, John Brown and 5 men killed five pro-slavery men in Kansas. These events showed how violence and brutality sprouted because of slavery.

Dred Scott Decision When the slaveholder of Dred Scott had passed away, he'd become the slave of his owner's wife. When he tried to sue for his freedom in Missouri, it was in his favor but the case was turned to the Supreme Court. There, the Chief Justice firmly stated Scott had no right to sue because he claimed that slaves were property, not citizens. In the end, the Chief declared that the Congress had no right to prohibit slavery from the people since slaves were just mere possession. This ruling confused many northerners but southerners were happy with the fact that their cause was supported.

Election of 1860 For the 1860 election, northern Democrats chose Stephen Douglas, southern Democrats picked John C. Breckinridge, and the Constitutional Union Party selected John Bell, all whom supported or spread slavery. However, Abraham Lincoln, who did not encourage the spread of slavery, had the Republican Party behind him which helped him win the election 180 out of 183 electoral votes. The election results angered southerners.

The South Secedes Southerners believed that slave labor was needed to support the economy so after Lincoln was chosen president, South Carolina called for a secession because they thought they had a right to leave the Union. Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas later seceded to form the Confederate States of America, which guaranteed citizens rights to own slaves. Lincoln said that the states did not have the right to leave Union as they wished and hoped for the South to return. He also did not want war. However, these constant fights over slavery grew rapidly aggressive and soon lead to a Civil War.

The title, A Divided Nation, means how the U.S. was separated and turned against each other to fight for their beliefs. It was a period where slavery was the sole cause for all of the conflict and violence between pro-slavery and antislavery men. There was too much hate and chaos that order could not be restored and soon these following events led to America’s bloodiest Civil war.


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