Discusses possible causes for the Civil War. Emotional or Rational? Cites historians.

Essay by neveragain1High School, 11th gradeA+, January 2004

download word file, 5 pages 5.0

Downloaded 72 times

Subsequent to the Mexican War, America had acquired a vast majority of land in the West. With slavery in full swing in the southern states, there was much dispute over what to do with this land in regard to slavery. Should it be slave, free, or be decided by popular sovereignty? Ever since the 1820 Missouri Compromise, the balance between slave and free states had remained equal, and any new states could potentially disrupt this balance. Notably, there were a few key instances - Texas claimed possession over some land that it acquired from Mexico; California had a massive population growth after the 1849 gold rush and was now lobbying to be admitted as a state; Washington D.C. held the largest slave market in the country but had not yet been declared slave or free since it was not a state. In 1850, seventy year old Henry Clay, the same person who resolved the fiery debate over the spread of slavery in 1820 with the Missouri Compromise was now trying to find a solution to this issue and presented Congress with a compromise that was debated over for eight months.

After finally being pushed through Congress, the compromise came into effect and basically said this: Texas would give up all land that was in dispute and the U.S. would pay 10 million dollars to Mexico which would help pay down the debts owed to them. California would be admitted as a free state. The slave trade in Washington would be abolished but Washington would remain a slave state. And to tide over the pro-slavers, the Fugitive Slave Act would be issued. The Fugitive Slave Act said that any citizen must assist in the capture of fugitive slaves. This act was met with a lot of controversy because many abolitionists were...