Essay by Stephen GlynnHigh School, 11th gradeB, February 1996

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Throughout the early 1800's the country was split in many areas over many issues. Some of the more severe clashes between differing groups resulting from such issues as slavery, expansion, and internal improvement. With all of these controversial topics to worry about along with the vast diversity in the nation, caused separation and tensions throughout the country.

The most prominent of the previous topics was slavery. This was an issue in the days of the bible and continues to be an issue in the middle 1800's. The divisions in the country brought about by slavery seem to be categorized into two main groups, abolitionists, and slave holders. These two groups also were divided geographically for the most part due to the South's need of slaves for cheap, and reliable man power, and the North, as it was not an agriculturally based economy and needed little in the way of unskilled laborers.

It was very easy for the North to bash the South's slavery because their economy did not depend upon slavery. They had no slaves, no need for slaves, and saw slavery as inhumane and unlawful. The south, however, depended upon slavery as a basis of production, and the only way to operate large farms at the time, primarily being the large cotton plantations of the south.

Several people tried to resolve the issue of slavery with compromises and bills that set clear rules and laws to appeal to both sides. The most prominent being the Missouri compromise. This document set the standard for slavery at the time. It also managed to further divide the country into two opposing groups geographically separated by the 36 degree 30 minute line. The bill clearly stated that no states above the proposed line shall have slavery, with exception to those already in existence.