Podcast Reaction Paper
National Public Radio’s (NPR’s) Talk of the Nation, ‘America’s Great Debate’ Saved Union from the War, presents the issues that occurred in the1850s and the events that prevented the Civil War. Even though some of the information was discussed in class, it was important to learn more about the Compromise of 1850 and the role of the law regarding fugitive slaves. The latter decision turned the federal government into an active hunter for African American fugitives. The federal commissioners considered the claims of slave owners and also appointed people, whose functions included the detention of runaway slaves (“’America’s Great Debate’ Saved Union From War”). The podcast helped to understand the role of the mentioned law, namely, its consequences and the intention to expand slavery.
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The given podcast confirms the understanding of the crises of the 1850s by providing essential details. For example, the fact that Zachary Taylor, the US President of that time, expressed his readiness to head the army that primarily consisted of Texans to enter New Mexico, thus upholding slavery, proves pro-slavery views. At the same time, it is noted that he was against slavery expansion but has his own slaves. Such ambiguity seems to be ironic to some extent. Nevertheless, this shows that the Civil War was close to begin 12 years earlier than it actually happened and that it was unlikely that North could win in such conditions. It seems to be interesting to explore the impact of Fugitive Slavery Law in Northern states and how it then was abolished. The question remaining after the listening to the podcast is as follows: what were the key factors that forced politicians who achieved the Compromise of 1850 to decide as they did?
“’America’s Great Debate’ Saved Union From War.” NPR Books. 2012, Web.