Secession and Slavery
The years leading to the outbreak of Civil War in the young United States of America was a time of indecision, struggle and public outrage. Throughout the Northern states, many citizens stood against the institution of slavery while the citizens of the Southern states supported slavery and depended on it for their way of life. During the dispute that eventually divided the country, politicians were forced into the differences of opinions between sides and made to defend the people they represented in Congress. They were forced into walking the line of supporting and opposing slavery. With the many levels of people involved, it is important to recognize and understand the entire spectrum of events and circumstances surrounding slavery and the reasons for secession preceding the Civil War. Due to the many different points of view across the spectrum, many citizens and politicians alike felt a closer allegiance to their state versus their country.
In many cases, differences of opinion on the topic of slavery were the topic of heated debate even within the thoughts of slavery or abolition. While supporting abolition, many Northern states still felt there should not be rights for African Americans. The Southern states depended on slavery for their economic production and incorporated it into their way of life.
During this struggle of abolition versus slavery, the politicians of the day also struggled with whether to become involved or to stand aside from the debate. From the acquisition of new states and the compromises accompanying them, to the elections platforms, slavery and abolition played a major role in each part of the political proceedings over the course of several decades.
With the election of James Knox Polk, came the question of the acquisition of the newly independent territory of Texas. In his...