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Ghost of Civil War Past 1850-1859 Analytical Essay

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Updated: Jan 17th, 2019

The United States has gone through several challenges to be what it is currently. The following story shows that the country has come from far as far as political development is concerned. Between 1850 and 1859, compromises were made to prevent secession and subsequent wars that would follow.

Within the period, five bills were enacted, particularly in 1950 leading to the diffusion of the war that had lasted for four years. The period is considered one of the chaotic in the American history since the slave states of the South engaged in confrontations with the Free States of the North. The two regions differed over the ownership of the new states acquired through the Mexican-American War of 1846.

The Whig senator Henry Clay of Kentucky introduced the compromise document while Clay acted as a mediator. The Democrat representative Stephen Douglas participated in drafting the document, which prevented secession and continued conflicts that threatened the peace of the country. The compromise document had several provisions, even though each party had issues with certain clauses. The 1850s compromise pushed the country towards war when Texas was convinced to drop its ambition of acquiring New Mexico.

The key events of 1850s, such as the drafting of the Compromise document and the Kansas-Nebraska Act complicated the security of the country because states were unwilling to drop their ambitions of controlling major resources in the neighboring regions. The Compromise document of 1850 suggested that southern states had to do away with slave trade, but they were allowed to hold slaves. The north was unhappy with the idea of helping the south control slaves.

The south saw it wise to fight for its rightful place instead of relying on the government, which was reluctant to offer any form of help to the region. The sudden death of Taylor complicated the situation further because he had been relied upon to prevent the interests of the south, but the incoming president was opposed to slavery.

The South ensured that the Wilmot Proviso was avoided implying that the New Mexico Territory and Utah had the powers to decide whether to be free states or slave states in the future. The Missouri Compromise Line had banned slavery in the northern territories several years ago implying that there was no way Utah could become a slave state. The land around Utah was unfertile and it could not accommodate any form of agriculture. Additionally, the inhabitants were not southerners hence they were never interested in slavery.

Through the compromise document, the southern states approved the Fugitive Slave Act, which permitted slavery in the region. However, slave trade was proscribed and it could not be one of the forms of business in the country. Based on this, slaves could simply be used in the production process, but not as goods of trade. Finally, the draft document banned slavery in the country’s capital Washington D.C. The implementation of the compromise document was faced with several challenges because the government was reluctant to support it.

The sudden death of President Zachary Taylor facilitated the application of the compromise document. The president was slave owner, but he never approved slave trade in the country. Henry Clay first tabled the compromise document in 1850, but both the pro-slavery legislators and southern democrats shut it down. The Illinois senator Stephen Douglas took it upon himself to break down the bill into several pieces, which were passed without much opposition

The congress resumed its sessions on 3 December 1849 and the Whig senator Henry Clay delivered a powerful speech urging the house members to compromise in order to prevent the breakage of the union.

The bill could not be adopted right away because of the nature of the document, something that forced the Illinois senator to break it into smaller pieces. Through this, the smaller bills were approved separately. Clay was overpowered and his influence could no longer be felt in the congress, something that forced him to invite the services of Douglas.

The Northern Whigs, including William Seward, had separate views as regards to the compromise document. Seward delivered a speech on the higher law that challenged the credibility of the compromise. His main concern was the fugitive law and the existence of the Wilmot proviso in the west. The president Zachary Taylor kept off from the issue during his 1848 presidential campaigns, but came in strongly to support the admission of California as the Free State.

The president surprised the southerners because they never expected him to support antislavery policies, having been the slave owner for several years. The discussion of the compromise document nearly turned violent in the house when Senator Benton took on the Vice president, accusing him of trying to force the passage of the bill. On his part, the floor leader of the bill Foote of Mississippi threatened to shoot Benton if he continued misbehaving in the house.

At least nine slave-holding states from the south sent a powerful delegation to the Nashville Convention to establish the next course of action in case the compromise document was to be implemented.

Most of these delegates preferred secession because abolition of slave holding was a threat to their survival, but a few of them suggested further compromises. One of the options was to extend the geographic dividing line that Missouri Compromise of 1820 designated. Clay combined several bills into a single omnibus bill, something that his fellow Whigs opposed.

He could not continue fronting the bill because of the deteriorating health. With the death of the president and the subsequent accession of Fillmore, the passage and implementation of the compromise bill was inevitable. The new government was in full support of the compromise. The advocates of the bill were able to marshal support by talking to the Northern Democrats and requesting the southern Whigs to vote for the compromise document as soon as it was table in the house.

In the history of the United States, secession has always been prevented by opting for other options. In this case, the Compromise solved many issues that could have to major divisions in the country. For instance, the problems related to boundaries were getting out of hand and the federal government was unable to tackle them effectively.

The compromise played a major role in ironing out some of the issues that could have brought serious conflicts leading to wars and claims of secession. Additionally, the compromise resolved the issue slavery because it allowed the southern states to use slaves in their plantations, but they could not sell them to other regions.

Ghost of Civil War Present (1860-1861)

The actions of the southern states were unacceptable upon the election of Lincoln meaning that the 1960 presidential elections triggered the secession movements because several compromise documents never convened their major aims. The southern states ensured that they seceded before Lincoln was sworn in as President because he opposed slavery. One of the Compromise proposals presented after the election of Lincoln as President was the Corwin Amendment.

The amendment was expected to prevent the occurrence of any war and help states achieve their ambitions in order to drop their secession claims. The president was against slavery and he had indicated clearly in his campaign message that slavery was demeaning the status of the United States. Therefore, the southern plantation farmers were convinced that the president would ban slavery leading to its extinction.

To worsen the matter, the slave states had become the minority in the House of Representatives, something that convinced them to seek self-rule through secession. The north had become powerful in both houses. Because of this, seven states withdrew their support from the union and decided to join the Confederacy before the swearing in of Lincoln.

The first state to declare self-rule and secession was South Carolina. The state adopted the statement titled declaration of the immediate causes, which induce and justify the secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union. South Carolina advocated for the rights of the Southern states as regards to ownership of slaves.

Additionally, the secessionist states were against the Fugitive Slave Act, which prevented workers from seeking refuge in the northern states. Based on this, the northern states were accused of not fulfilling their constitutional mandates of helping the south return back fugitive workers. The seven states formed a southern government before Lincoln was sworn in, having seceded from the union to form the Confederate of America on 4 February 1861.

The outgoing president James Buchanan never prevented the secessionist states from taking over the ownership of federal resources in their respective regions. Buchanan was sympathetic to the southern states because he declared that they had no sufficient reason to seceded, but went on to claim that the congress had no power to prevent any state from withdrawing its support to the union.

For instance, the army commander in Texas was forced to hand over the entire garrison to the state government whereby the military leader was convinced to join the Confederacy. All southern legislators in the senate and the house resigned, which gave Republicans from the North an opportunity to pass bills that had been blocked for several years. For instance, changes were brought in to adjust the Morrill Tariff. Furthermore, the Homestead Act was passed and the transcontinental railroad was commissioned.

The southern states expected some form of assistance from Britain because slave owners were mainly from the United Kingdom, but the deal never materialized because the British government never wanted to destabilize the American government. The seven Deep South states that were popularly known for producing cotton seceded in February 1861, including South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas.

The states formed the Confederate of America, with Jefferson Davis serving as the first head of state. The administrative structure was similar to the one contained in the US constitution. In the same year, Fort Sumter was attacked, something that forced President Lincoln to request the states to volunteer their armies. Towards the end of the year, four southern states seceded to join the Confederacy, including Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

Unfortunately, Virginia encountered internal resistance leading to the formation of another state referred to as West Virginia, which decided to remain in the Union. On the other hand, at least twenty-three states decided to remain in the union, including California and Kentucky. Secession was affecting the fulfillment of the American dream because the south accused the north of trying to interfere with its interests while the north criticized the south for misusing human labor.

This could not be tolerated further because conflicts were witnessed on daily basis, with the president controlling only the states in the union. The Confederate states could engage in unlawful activities, yet the federal government could not intervene to bring sanity. While the union tried as much as possible to convince states to join the federal government, the Confederacy resisted such attempts through military intervention.

Ghost of Civil War-Yet to Come (1861-1865)

The North and the South prepared amicably for the war with both the Confederacy and the Union preparing their soldiers and militias to engage in the battle. Governors were instructed to mobilize resources in the north while the south organized their militias. President Lincoln requested the well-wishers in the north to offer their services under the volunteer program.

Many Americans volunteered to offer their services to an extent that both the Confederate and the Union lacked the capacity to train and equip them. All young men and women aged between eighteen were recruited under the compulsory conscription program.

In 862, the Confederacy passed a law that made it compulsory for all men aged 18-35 years to train with the militias. The Civil War attracted foreigners, with over one-seventy thousand Germans and one-forty Irish citizens joining the war. In 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation act was enacted allowing the states to recruit slaves as soldiers. The locals were forced to fund the war through heavy taxation and direct deposits to government covers.

Secession led to Civil Conflicts that cost the lives of many people and loss of property. The government should never allow secession because it does not help any party. Whenever a state feels that its objectives are not being met, it is encouraged that dialogue is embraced because it facilitates compromises instead of rising up to fight one another.

By 1865, the United States was facing serious humanitarian crisis because many people were in need of assistance. The government failed to offer protection to the citizens because of the existence of militias controlled by the secessionist states.

The south lost the battle whereby it was forced to abandon Shiloh, New Orleans, Antietam, and Vicksburg. When it lost the major battlefields, the south had no option, but to stop for the day and surrender to the Union forces. President Lincoln seized the opportunity to draft some of the most important policies that would prevent the civil war in the future.

The president read a Gettysburg address whereby he affirmed that there is no superior race or individual in the country, but instead people had to embrace equality. In this regard, several constitutional amendments had to follow to ensure that slavery is never exercised in the country.

Additionally, strong laws had to be enacted to ensure that peace and security is preserved in the country. The emancipation proclamation freed all slaves in the country and it was declared illegal for any individual to hold another as slave. On 17 June 1865, the last Confederate hanged boots at Trans-Mississippi Theatre and the president appointed Starkey as the governor of Mississippi. In the same year, peace was restored in the state and fire-eater Edmund Ruffin died in his firm.

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