.. to resist the reenslaving a man on the coast of America.’ In the flyer created by an abolitionist, it pointed out that man was able to capture free or runaway slaves’ to be on the lookout. This flyer had no right to allow whites to kidnap a man due to the color of his skin, free or runaway. Transcendentalists such as Emerson and Thoreau, both supported a variety of reforms, especially the antislavery movement. Emerson’s essays argued for self-reliance, independent thinking and the primacy of spiritual, matters over material ones.
Thoreau used observations of nature to discover essential truths about life and the universe. The Fugitive Slave Law is definitely a reason why the Constitution ended up in national discord. It was in reaction to the Fugitive Slave Law that made the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe so popular and made Pierce’s ‘hope’ unlikely. In her book she tried to portray the entire range experiences a slave could have, from good owners to bad, from being bought and sold to attempts to escape to freedom. Southerners condemned the untruths in the novel and looked upon it one more proof of the North’s incurable prejudice against the South’s way of life. Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Fugitive Slave Law both led to national discord in the Constitution. Due to the proposal of extending the Missouri Compromise line, many alternatives were drawn up against doing so.
Lewis Cass, a Democratic Senator, proposed a Compromise solution that soon won considerable support from both moderate northerners and moderate southerners. Instead of Congress determining whether to allow slavery in a new western territory or state, Cass suggested that the matter be determined by a vote of the people who settled the territory. Cass’ approach to the problem was known as popular sovereignty. Popular sovereignty being one of the alternatives, ‘relieved Congress of the responsibility of addressing the slavery issue by passing it on to territorial governments, popular sovereignty won support from many northern Democrats who otherwise might have converted to free soil.’ Popular sovereignty didn’t really specify at what point the people of a territory could legalize or prohibit slavery. It also did not say how much authority territorial governments could exercise in regulating slavery. Popular sovereignty held the greatest possibility for maintaining the unity of the Democratic Party and national unity on the slavery issue.
With the Democrats firmly in control of national policy both in control of national policy both in the White House and in Congress, a new law was passed that would have disastrous consequences. A bill was proposed that the Nebraska Territory to be divided into the Kansas territory and Nebraska territory and the settlers there to be free to decide whether or not to allow slavery. These territories however were located north of the 36* 30′ line and gave southern slave owners an opportunity that had previously been closed to them by the Missouri Compromise. The Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed and the Missouri Compromise of 1820. The overriding purpose was to express opposition to the spread of slavery in territories.
‘In 1856 the case of Dred Scott, a slave suing for is freedom, reached the Supreme Court.’ Scott, had lived for a period of time in the free state of Illinois and the Wisconsin territory, where the Northwest Ordinance and the Missouri Compromise prohibited slavery. Scott claimed that his residence was in a free state and a free territory had made him a free man. The majority of the Court decided against Scott claiming that 1. Scott had no right to sue in a federal court because the Framers of the Constitution did not intend people of African American decent to be U.S. citizens. 2.
Congress did not have the power to deprive any person of property without due process of the law; and, if slaves were a form of property, then Congress could not exclude slavery from any federal territory. A lot of Southerner Democrats were thrilled with the Courts ruling. Republicans denounced the Dread Scott decision of the greatest crime in the annals of the republic. Though the Dred Scott decision was considered a ‘crime in the annals of the republic,’ many wondered if Buchanan had planned the Dred Scott Decision. After all it did occur right after he was inaugurated into office.
The Dred Scott Decision helped disunify the country because it was just the beginning of the slavery questions that would go on for years to come .The decision increased northerners suspicions of a slave powered conspiracy and ‘induced’ thousands of former Democrats to vote Republican. The Dred Scott Decision helped lead to disunify the country and the Constitution as well did popular sovereignty. Presidents in the early years did not have great qualities of leadership nor did they receive high standings from others. When elected President, ‘Millard Fillmore gladly supported the Compromise of 1850 which had been drafted by Henry Clay.’ However, when Fillmore decided to try and enforce the Fugitive Slave Law, he received nothing but criticism from northern abolitionists. Franklin Pierce, our country’s 17th president, was dominated by southerners such as Jefferson Davis and William Marcy, both of whom hoped to maneuver Pierce into obtaining new land, to create new slave states. Another one of our country’s early Presidents was James Buchanan rejoiced because he ‘believed that the Dred Scott decision would end the problem of slavery forever.’ He believed that it was ‘illegal for the South to secede but told northerners he would not use force to make the South stay in the Union since the Constitution did not give him that power.’ It’s no wonder why these 3 presidents were rated so lowly.
The 58 historians surveyed by C-SPAN, assessed the 41 men who have served in the Oval Office on 10 qualities of presidential leadership, from managing the economy to providing moral authorities. They rated Fillmore 35th, Pierce 39th, and Buchanan dead last at 41. President Lincoln did however receive the highest rating, #1. In a speech Lincoln gave to Congress in 1861 he said ‘the sophism itself is, that any state of the Union may, consistently with the national Constitution, and therefore lawfully, and peacefully, withdraw from the Union, without the consent of the Union, or any other state.’ Lincoln continues to say that ‘ having never been States, either in substance, or in mane, outside of the Union, whence this magical omnipotence of the State’s Rights, asserting a claim of power to lawfully destroy the Union itself.’ Lincoln saw it himself that the Union would be destroyed if it continued to go on the way it did. It’s no wonder why Lincoln received the high rating he did. By the 1850’s the Constitution had become a source of sectional discord and tension, contributed to the failure of the union, and no longer was an instrument of national unity.
Although the compromises helped solve the problems of the time, however, they were delaying the inevitable and these helped lead to the Civil War. Therefore, there were many leading key factors that helped to the national and sectional discord in our Constitution. These compromises had both its ups and downs but still managed to contribute to the downfall of the Constitution. By the three-fifths compromise it was agreed that three fifths of the number of slaves would be counted for representation and for levying direct taxes. It unified the nation in a way because it allowed the slaves to vote.
The Missouri Compromise was nothing more than a truce that announced the opening of fight to the finish. The Missouri Compromise preserved sectional balance for over 30 years and provided time for the nation to mature. The Fugitive Slave Law however, helped lead to the disunification of both the country and the Constitution. The F.S.L. stated that any captured person who claimed to be a free black and not a runaway slave was denied the right to trial by jury. Popular Sovereignty held the greatest possibility maintaining the unity of the Democratic Party and national unity, but that like a lot of other things was proven to be wrong. Buchanan presumably premeditated the Dred Scott Decision but no one really proved it.
In conclusion, like stated in the thesis, there were many factors that led to the nation’s sectional discord and the unity within the nation. Some of which are still around today but work better. History Essays.