SLAVERY IN THE TERRITORIES, 1844-1859
Books for Study and Reading
References.--Scribner's Popular History, IV; McMaster's With the Fathers, Coffin's Building the Nation, 314-324.
Home Readings.--Wright's Stories of American Progress; Bolton's Famous Americans; Brooks's Boy Settlers; Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin; Lodge's Webster.
BEGINNING OF THE ANTISLAVERY AGITATION
Antislavery sentiments of the Virginians.
323. Growth of Slavery in the South.--South of Pennsylvania and of the Ohio River slavery had increased greatly since 1787 (p. 136). Washington, Jefferson, Henry, and other great Virginians were opposed to the slave system. But they could find no way to end it, even in Virginia. The South Carolinians and Georgians fought every proposition to limit slavery. They even refused to come into the Union unless they were given representation in Congress for a portion at least of their slaves. And in the first Congress under the Constitution they opposed bitterly every proposal to limit slavery. Then came Whitney's invention of the cotton gin. That at once made slave labor vastly more profitable in the cotton states and put an end to all hopes of peaceful emancipation in the South.
Proposal to end slavery with compensation.
324. Rise of the Abolitionists.--About 1830 a new movement in favor of the negroes began. Some persons in the North, as, for example, William Ellery Channing, proposed that slaves should be set free, and their owners paid for their loss. They suggested that the money received from the sale of the public lands might be used in this way. But nothing came of these suggestions. Soon, however, William Lloyd Garrison began at Boston the publication of a paper called the Liberator. He wished for complete abolition without payment. For a time he labored almost alone. Then slowly others came to his aid, and the Antislavery Society was founded.
Anti-abolitionist sentiment in the North.
325. Opposition to the Abolitionists.--It must not be thought that the abolitionists were not opposed. They were most vigorously opposed. Very few Northern men wished to have slavery reestablished in the North. But very many Northern men objected to the antislavery agitation because they thought it would injure business. Some persons even argued that the antislavery movement would bring about the destruction of the Union. In this idea there was a good deal of truth. For Garrison grew more and more outspoken. He condemned the Union with slaveholders and wished to break down the Constitution, because it permitted slavery. There were anti-abolitionist riots in New York, New Jersey, and New Hampshire. In Boston the rioters seized Garrison and dragged him about the streets (1835).
Nat Turner's Rebellion, 1831.
326. Slave Rebellion in Virginia, 1831.--At about the time that Garrison established the Liberator at Boston, a slave rebellion broke out in Virginia. The rebels were led by a slave named Nat Turner, and the rebellion is often called "Nat Turner's Rebellion." It was a small affair and was easily put down. But the Southerners were alarmed, because they felt that the Northern antislavery agitation would surely lead to more rebellions. They called upon the government to forbid the sending of the Liberator and similar "incendiary publications" through the mails.
Right of petition.
327. The Right of Petition.--One of the most sacred rights of freemen is the right to petition for redress of grievances. In the old colonial days the British Parliament had refused even to listen to petitions presented by the colonists. But the First Amendment to the Constitution forbade Congress to make any law to prevent citizens of the United States from petitioning. John Quincy Adams, once President, was now a member of the House of Representatives. In 1836 he presented petition after petition, praying Congress to forbid slavery in the District of Columbia. Southerners, like Calhoun, thought these petitions were insulting to Southern slaveholders. Congress could not prevent the antislavery people petitioning. They could prevent the petitions being read when presented. This they did by passing "gag-resolutions." Adams protested against these resolutions as an infringement on the rights of his constituents. But the resolutions were passed. Petitions now came pouring into Congress. Adams even presented one from some negro slaves.
Growth of antislavery feeling in the North.
328. Change in Northern Sentiment.--All these happenings brought about a great change of sentiment in the North. Many people, who cared little about negro slaves, cared a great deal about the freedom of the press and the right of petition. Many of these did not sympathize with the abolitionists, but they wished that some limit might be set to the extension of slavery. At the same time the Southerners were uniting to resist all attempts to interfere with slavery. They were even determined to add new slave territory to the United States.
THE MEXICAN WAR
The Mexican Republic, 1821.
329. The Republic of Texas.--The Mexicans won their independence from Spain in 1821 and founded the Mexican Republic. Soon immigrants from the United States settled in the northeastern part of the new republic. This region was called Texas. The Mexican government gave these settlers large tracts of land, and for a time everything went on happily. Then war broke out between the Mexicans and the Texans. Led by Samuel Houston, a settler from Tennessee, the Texans won the battle of San Jacinto and captured General Santa Anna, the president of the Mexican Republic. The Texans then established the Republic of Texas (1836) and asked to be admitted to the Union as one of the United States.
Question of the admission of Texas to the Union.
330. The Southerners and Texas.--The application of Texas for admission to the Union came as a pleasant surprise to many Southerners. As a part of the Mexican Republic Texas had been free soil. But Texas was well suited to the needs of the cotton plant. If it were admitted to the Union, it would surely be a slave state or, perhaps, several slave states. The question of admitting Texas first came before Jackson. He saw that the admission of Texas would be strongly opposed in the North. So he put the whole matter to one side and would have nothing to do with it. Tyler acted very differently. Under his direction a treaty was made with Texas. This treaty provided for the admission of Texas to the Union. But the Senate refused to ratify the treaty. The matter, therefore, became the most important question in the presidential election of 1844.
[Illustration: JAMES K. POLK.]
Candidates for the presidency, 1844.
331. Election of 1844.--President Tyler would have been glad of a second term. But neither of the great parties wanted him as a leader. The Democrats would have gladly nominated Van Buren had he not opposed the acquisition of Texas. Instead they nominated James K. Polk of Tennessee, an outspoken favorer of the admission of Texas. The Whigs nominated Henry Clay, who had no decided views on the Texas question. He said one thing one day, another thing another day. The result was that the opponents of slavery and of Texas formed a new party. They called it the Liberty party and nominated a candidate for President. The Liberty men did not gain many votes. But they gained enough votes to make Clay's election impossible and Polk was chosen President.
Texas admitted by joint resolution, 1845. McMaster, 325.
332. Acquisition of Texas, 1845.--Tyler now pressed the admission of Texas upon Congress. The two houses passed a joint resolution. This resolution provided for the admission of Texas, and for the formation from the territory included in Texas of four states, in addition to the state of Texas, and with the consent of that state. Before Texas was actually admitted Tyler had ceased to be President. But Polk carried out his policy, and on July 4, 1845, Texas became one of the United States.
Southern boundary of Texas.
333. Beginning of the Mexican War, 1846.--The Mexicans had never acknowledged the independence of Texas. They now protested against its admission to the United States. Disputes also arose as to the southern boundary of Texas. As no agreement could be reached on this point, President Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor to march to the Rio Grande and occupy the disputed territory. Taylor did as he was ordered, and the Mexicans attacked him. Polk reported these facts to Congress, and Congress authorized the President to push on the fighting on the ground that "war exists, and exists by the act of Mexico herself."
The three parts of the Mexican War.
334. Taylor's Campaigns.--The Mexican War easily divides itself into three parts: (1) Taylor's forward movement across the Rio Grande; (2) Scott's campaign, which ended in the capture of the City of Mexico; and (3) the seizure of California. Taylor's object was to maintain the line of the Rio Grande, then to advance into Mexico and injure the Mexicans as much as possible. The battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma (May 8, 9, 1846) were fought before the actual declaration of war. These victories made Taylor master of the Rio Grande. In September he crossed the Rio Grande. So far all had gone well. But in the winter many of Taylor's soldiers were withdrawn to take part in Scott's campaign. This seemed to be the Mexicans' time. They attacked Taylor with four times as many men as he had in his army. This battle was fought at Buena Vista, February, 1847. Taylor beat back the Mexicans with terrible slaughter. This was the last battle of Taylor's campaign.
Scott's campaign. Eggleston, 284-286;
335. Scott's Invasion of Mexico.--The plan of Scott's campaign was that he should land at Vera Cruz, march to the city of Mexico,--two hundred miles away,--capture that city, and force the Mexicans to make peace. Everything fell out precisely as it was planned. With the help of the navy Scott captured Vera Cruz. He had only about one-quarter as many men as the Mexicans. But he overthrew them at Cerro Gordo, where the road to the City of Mexico crosses the coast mountains (April, 1847). With the greatest care and skill he pressed on and at length came within sight of the City of Mexico. The capital of the Mexican Republic stood in the midst of marshes, and could be reached only over narrow causeways which joined it to the solid land. August 20, 1847, Scott beat the Mexicans in three pitched battles, and on September 14 he entered the city with his army, now numbering only six thousand men fit for active service.
[Illustration: THE BEAR FLAG.]
336. Seizure of California.--California was the name given to the Mexican possessions on the Pacific coast north of Mexico itself. There were now many American settlers there, especially at Monterey. Hearing of the outbreak of the Mexican War, they Set up a republic of their own. Their flag had a figure of a grizzly bear painted on it, and hence their republic is often spoken of as the Bear Republic. Commodore Stockton with a small fleet was on the Pacific coast. He and John C. Frémont assisted the Bear Republicans until soldiers under Colonel Kearney reached them from the United States by way of Santa Fé.
[Illustration: JOHN C. FRÉMONT.]
Mexican cessions, 1848.
337. Treaty of Peace, 1848.--The direct cause of the Mexican War was Mexico's unwillingness to give up Texas without a struggle. But the Mexicans had treated many Americans very unjustly and owed them large sums of money. A treaty of peace was made in 1848. Mexico agreed to abandon her claims to Texas, California, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. The United States agreed to withdraw its armies from Mexico, to pay Mexico fifteen million dollars, and to pay the claims of American citizens on Mexico. These claims proved to amount to three and one-half million dollars, In the end, therefore, the United States paid eighteen and one-half million dollars for this enormous and exceedingly valuable addition to its territory. When the time came to run the boundary line, the American and Mexican commissioners could not agree. So the United States paid ten million dollars more and received an additional strip of land between the Rio Grande and the Colorado rivers. This gave the United States its present southern boundary. This agreement was made in 1853 by James Gadsden for the United States, and the land bought is usually called the Gadsden Purchase.
338. The Oregon Question.--It was not only in the Southwest that boundaries were disputed; in the Northwest also there was a long controversy which was settled while Polk was President. Oregon was the name given to the whole region, between Spanish and Mexican California and the Russian Alaska. The United States and Great Britain each claimed to have the best right to Oregon. As they could not agree as to their claims, they decided to occupy the region jointly. As time went on American settlers and missionaries began to go over the mountains to Oregon. In 1847 seven thousand Americans were living in the Northwest.
"All Oregon or none."
339. The Oregon Treaty, 1846.--The matter was now taken up in earnest. "All Oregon or none," "Fifty-four forty or fight," became popular cries. The United States gave notice of the ending of the joint occupation. The British government suggested that Oregon should be divided between the two nations. In 1818 he boundary between the United States and British North America had been fixed as the forty-ninth parallel from the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky Mountains. It was now proposed to continue this line to the Pacific. The British government, however, insisted that the western end of the line should follow the channel between Vancouver's Island and the mainland so as to make that island entirely British. The Mexican War was now coming on. It would hardly do to have two wars at one time. So the United States gave way and a treaty was signed in 1846. Instead of "all Oregon," the United States received about one-half. But it was a splendid region and included not merely the present state of Oregon, but all the territory west of the Rocky Mountains between the forty-second and the forty-ninth parallels of latitude.
THE COMPROMISE OF 1850
Should Oregon and Mexican cessions be free
340. The Wilmot Proviso, 1846.--What should be done with Oregon and with the immense territory received from Mexico? Should it be free soil or should it be slave soil? To understand the history of the dispute which arose out of this question we must go back a bit and study the Wilmot Proviso. Even before the Mexican War was fairly begun, this question came before Congress. Every one admitted that Texas must be a slave state. Most people were agreed that Oregon would be free soil. For it was too far north for negroes to thrive. But what should be done with California and with New Mexico? David Wilmot of Pennsylvania thought that they should be free soil. He was a member of the House of Representatives. In 1846 he moved to add to a bill giving the President money to purchase land from Mexico a proviso that none of the territory to be acquired at the national expense should be open to slavery. This proviso was finally defeated. But the matter was one on which people held very strong opinions, and the question became the most important issue in the election of 1848.
[Illustration: ZACHARY TAYLOR.]
Candidates for the presidency, 1848.
341. Taylor elected President, 1848.--Three candidates contested the election of 1848. First there was Lewis Cass of Michigan, the Democratic candidate. He was in favor of "squatter sovereignty," that is, allowing the people of each territory to have slavery or not as they chose. The Whig candidate was General Taylor, the victor of Buena Vista. The Whigs put forth no statement of principles. The third candidate was Martin Van Buren, already once President. Although a Democrat, he did not favor the extension of slavery. He was nominated by Democrats who did not believe in "squatter sovereignty," and by a new party which called itself the Free Soil party. The abolitionists or Liberty party also nominated a candidate, but he withdrew in favor of Van Buren. The Whigs had nominated Millard Fillmore of New York for Vice-President. He attracted to the Whig ticket a good many votes in New York. Van Buren also drew a good many votes from the Democrats. In this way New York was carried for Taylor and Fillmore. This decided the election, and the Whig candidates were chosen.
[Illustration: THE SITE OF SAN FRANCISCO IN 1847. From an original drawing.]
Discovery of gold in California, 1848.
342. California.--Before the treaty of peace with Mexico was ratified, even before it was signed, gold was discovered in California. Reports of the discovery soon reached the towns on the western seacoast. At once men left whatever they were doing and hastened to the hills to dig for gold. Months later rumors of this discovery began to reach the eastern part of the United States. At first people paid little attention to them. But when President Polk said that gold had been found, people began to think that it must be true. Soon hundreds of gold-seekers started for California. Then thousands became eager to go. These first comers were called the Forty-Niners, because most of them came in the year 1849. By the end of that year there were eighty thousand immigrants in California.
California constitutional convention, 1849.
343. California seeks Admission to the Union.--There were eighty thousand white people in California, and they had almost no government of any kind. So in November, 1849, they held a convention, drew up a constitution, and demanded admission the Union as a state. The peculiar thing about this constitution was that it forbade slavery in California. Many of the Forty-Niners were Southerners. But even they did not want slavery. The reason was that they wished to dig in the earth and win gold. They would not allow slave holders to work their mining claims with slave labor, for free white laborers had never been able to work alongside of negro slaves. So they did not want slavery in California.
Divisions on the question of the extension of slavery. McMaster, 335-336.
344. A Divided Country.--This action of the people of California at once brought the question of slavery before the people. Many Southerners were eager to found a slave confederacy apart from the Union. Many abolitionists were eager to found a free republic in the North. Many Northerners, who loved the Union, thought that slavery should be confined to the states where it existed. They thought that slavery should not be permitted in the territories, which belonged to the people of the United States as a whole. They argued that if the territories could be kept free, the people of those territories, when they came to form state constitutions, would forbid slavery as the people of California had just done. They were probably right, and for this very reason the Southerners wished to have slavery in the territories. So strong was the feeling over these points that it seemed as if the Union would split into pieces.
345. President Taylor's Policy.--General Taylor was now President. He was alarmed by the growing excitement. He determined to settle the matter at once before people could get any more excited. So he sent agents to California and to New Mexico to urge the people to demand admission to the Union at once. When Congress met in 1850, he stated that California demanded admission as a free state. The Southerners were angry. For they had thought that California would surely be a slave state.
Clay's compromise scheme, 1850. McMaster, 339-341; Source-Book, 279-281.
346. Clay's Compromise Plan.--Henry Clay now stepped forward to bring about a "union of hearts." His plan was to end all disputes between Northerners and Southerners by having the people of each section give way to the people of the other section. For example, the Southerners were to permit the admission of California as a free state, and to consent to the abolition of the slave trade in the District of Columbia. In return, the Northerners were to give way to the Southerners on all other points. They were to allow slavery in the District of Columbia. They were to consent to the organization of New Mexico and Utah as territories without any provision for or against slavery. Texas claimed that a part of the proposed Territory of New Mexico belonged to her. So Clay suggested that the United States should pay Texas for this land. Finally Clay proposed that Congress should pass a severe Fugitive Slave Act. It is easily seen that Clay's plan as a whole was distinctly favorable to the South. Few persons favored the passage of the whole scheme. But when votes were taken on each part separately, they all passed. In the midst of the excitement over this compromise President Taylor died, and Millard Fillmore, the Vice-President, became President.
[Illustration: MILLARD FILLMORE.]
Art. IV, sec. 2.
347. The Fugitive Slave Act.--The Constitution provides that persons held to service in one state escaping into another state shall be delivered up upon claim of the person to whom such service may be due. Congress, in 1793, had passed an act to carry out this provision of the Constitution. But this law had seldom been enforced, because its enforcement had been left to the states, and public opinion in the North was opposed to the return of fugitive slaves. The law of 1850 gave the enforcement of the act to United States officials. The agents of slave owners claimed many persons as fugitives. But few were returned to the South. The important result of these attempts to enforce the law was to strengthen Northern public opinion against slavery. It led to redoubled efforts to help runaway slaves through the Northern states to Canada. A regular system was established. This was called the "Underground Railway." In short, instead of bringing about "a union of hearts," the Compromise of 1850 increased the ill feeling between the people of the two sections of the country.
"Uncle Tom's Cabin."
348. "Uncle Tom's Cabin."--It was at this time that Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin." In this story she set forth the pleasant side of slavery--the light-heartedness and kind-heartedness of the negroes. In it she also set forth the unpleasant side of slavery--the whipping of human beings, the selling of human beings, the hunting of human beings. Of course, there never was such a slave as Uncle Tom. The story is simply a wonderful picture of slavery as it appeared to a brilliant woman of the North. Hundreds of thousands of copies of this book were sold in the South as well as in the North. Plays founded on the book were acted on the stage. Southern people when reading "Uncle Tom" thought little of the unpleasant things in it: they liked the pleasant things in it. Northern people laughed at the pretty pictures of plantation life: they were moved to tears by the tales of cruelty. "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and the Fugitive Slave Law convinced the people of the North that bounds must be set to the extension of slavery.
THE STRUGGLE FOR KANSAS
Campaign of 1852.
349. Pierce elected President, 1852.--It was now Campaign time for a new election. The Whigs had been successful with two old soldiers, so they thought they would try again with another soldier and nominated General Winfield Scott, the conqueror of Mexico. The Democrats also nominated a soldier, Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire, who had been in northern Mexico with Taylor. The Democrats and Whigs both said that they would stand by the Compromise of 1850. But many voters thought that there would be less danger of excitement with a Democrat in the White House and voted for Pierce for that reason. They soon found that they were terribly mistaken in their belief.
The Nebraska bill, 1854. Source-Book,
350. Douglas's Nebraska Bill.--President Pierce began his term of office quietly enough. But in 1854 Senator Douglas of Illinois brought in a bill to organize the Territory of Nebraska. It will be remembered that in 1820 Missouri had been admitted to the Union as a slave state. In 1848 Iowa had been admitted as a free state. North of Iowa was the free Territory of Minnesota. Westward from Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota was an immense region without any government of any kind. It all lay north of the compromise line of 1820 (p. 222), and had been forever devoted to freedom by that compromise. But Douglas said that the Compromise of 1820 had been repealed by the Compromise of 1850. So he proposed that the settlers of Nebraska should say whether that territory should be free soil or slave soil, precisely as if the Compromise of 1820 had never been passed. Instantly there was a tremendous uproar.
[Illustration: FRANKLIN PIERCE.]
The Kansas-Nebraska Act, 1854.
351. The Kansas-Nebraska Act, 1854.--Douglas now changed his bill so as to provide for the formation of two territories. One of these he named Kansas. It had nearly the same boundaries as the present state of Kansas, except that it extended westward to the Rocky Mountains. The other territory was named Nebraska. It included all the land north of Kansas and between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains. The antislavery leaders in the North attacked the bill with great fury. Chase of Ohio said that it was a violation of faith. Sumner of Massachusetts rejoiced in the fight, for he said men must now take sides for freedom or for slavery. Some, independent Democrats published "An Appeal." They asked their fellow-citizens to take their maps and see what an immense region Douglas had proposed to open to slavery. They denied that the Missouri Compromise had been repealed. Nevertheless, the bill passed Congress and was signed by President Pierce.
[Illustration: Territory opened to slavery.]
Abraham Lincoln, Hero Tales, 325-335.
352. Abraham Lincoln.--Born in Kentucky, Abraham Lincoln went with his parents to Indiana and then to Illinois. As a boy he was very poor and had to work hard. But he lost no opportunity to read and to study. At the plow or in the long evenings at home by the firelight he was ever thinking and studying. Growing to manhood he became a lawyer and served one term in Congress. The passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act aroused his indignation as nothing had ever aroused it before. He denied that any man had the right to govern another man, be he white or be he black, without that man's consent. He thought that blood would surely be shed before the slavery question would be settled in Kansas, and the first shedding of blood would be the beginning of the end of the Union.
Seward's challenge to the Southerners.
353. Settlement of Kansas.--In the debate on the Kansas-Nebraska bill Senator Seward of New York said to the Southerners: "Come on, then.... We will engage in competition for the soil of Kansas, and God give the victory to the side that is strong in numbers as it is in right." Seward spoke truly. The victory came to those opposed to the extension of slavery. But it was a long time in coming. As soon as the act was passed, armed "Sons of the South" crossed the frontier of Missouri and founded the town of Atchison. Then came large bands of armed settlers from the North and the East. They founded the towns of Lawrence and Topeka. An election was held. Hundreds of men poured over the boundary of Missouri, outvoted the free-soil settlers in Kansas, and then went home. The territorial legislature, chosen in this way, adopted the laws of Missouri, slave code and all, as the laws of Kansas. It seemed as if Kansas were lost to freedom.
354. The Topeka Convention.--The free-state voters now held a convention at Topeka. They drew up a constitution and applied to Congress for admission to the Union as the free state of Kansas. The free-state men and the slave-state men each elected a Delegate to Congress. The House of Representatives now took the matter up and appointed a committee of investigation. The committee reported in favor of the free-state men, and the House voted to admit Kansas as a free state. But the Senate would not consent to anything of the kind. The contest in Kansas went on and became more bitter every month.
Origin of the Republican party. McMaster,
355. The Republican Party.--The most important result of the Kansas-Nebraska fight was the formation of the Republican party. It was made up of men from all the other parties who agreed in opposing Douglas's Kansas-Nebraska policy. Slowly they began to think of themselves as a party and to adopt the name of the old party of Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe--Republican.
Presidential candidates, 1856.
356. Buchanan elected President, 1856.--The Whigs and the Know-Nothings nominated Millard Fillmore for President and said nothing about slavery. The Democrats nominated James Buchanan of Pennsylvania for President and John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky for Vice-President. They declared their approval of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and favored a strict construction of the Constitution. The Republicans nominated John C. Frémont. They protested against the extension of slavery and declared for a policy of internal improvements at the expense of the nation. The Democrats won; but the Republicans carried all the Northern states save four.
Dred Scott decision, 1857. McMaster,
355-357; Source-Book, 290-291.
357. The Dred Scott Decision, 1857.--The Supreme Court of the United States now gave a decision in the Dred Scott case that put an end to all hope of compromise on the slavery question. Dred Scott had been born a slave. The majority of the judges declared that a person once a slave could never become a citizen of the United States and bring suit in the United States courts. They also declared that the Missouri Compromise was unlawful. Slave owners had a clear right to carry their property, including slaves, into the territories, and Congress could not stop them.
358. The Lincoln and Douglas Debates, 1858.--The question of the reëlection of Douglas to the Senate now came before the people of Illinois. Abraham Lincoln stepped forward to contest the election with him. "A house divided against itself cannot stand," said Lincoln. "This government cannot endure half slave and half free.... It will become all one thing or all the other." He challenged Douglas to debate the issues with him before the people, and Douglas accepted the challenge. Seven joint debates were held in the presence of immense crowds. Lincoln forced Douglas to defend the doctrine of "popular sovereignty." This Douglas did by declaring that the legislatures of the territories could make laws hostile to slavery. This idea, of course, was opposed to the Dred Scott decision. Douglas won the election and was returned to the Senate. But Lincoln had made a national reputation.
[Illustration: HARPER'S FERRY.]
Civil war in Kansas. McMaster, 357.
359. "Bleeding Kansas."--Meantime civil war had broken out in Kansas, Slavery men attacked Lawrence, killed a few free-state settlers, and burned several buildings. Led by John Brown, an immigrant from New York, free-state men attacked a party of slave-state men and killed five of them. By 1857 the free-state voters had become so numerous that it was no longer possible to outvote them by bringing men from Missouri, and they chose a free-state legislature. But the fraudulent slave-state legislature had already provided for holding a constitutional convention at Lecompton. This convention was controlled by the slave-state men and adopted a constitution providing for slavery. President Buchanan sent this constitution to Congress and asked to have Kansas admitted as a slave state. But Douglas could not bear to see the wishes of the settlers of Kansas outraged. He opposed the proposition vigorously and it was defeated. It was not until 1861 that Kansas was admitted to the Union as a free state.
John Brown's Raid, 1859. Higginson, 286-289;
360. John Brown's Raid, 1859.--While in Kansas John Brown had conceived a bold plan. It was to seize a strong place in the mountains of the South, and there protect any slaves who should run away from their masters. In this way he expected to break slavery in pieces within two years. With only nineteen men he seized Harper's Ferry, in Virginia, and secured the United States arsenal at that place. But he and most of his men were immediately captured. He was executed by the Virginian authorities as a traitor and murderer. The Republican leaders denounced his act as "the gravest of crimes." But the Southern leaders were convinced that now the time had come to secede from the Union and to establish a Southern Confederacy.
QUESTIONS AND TOPICS
§ 323.--a. Why were the people of South Carolina so opposed to any limitation of slavery? How did they show their opposition?
b. Had slavery disappeared in the North because people thought that it was wrong?
§§ 324, 325.--a. What suggestions were made by some in the North for the ending of slavery? What do you think of these suggestions?
b. For what did Garrison contend, and how did he make his views known? Why were these views opposed in the North?
§ 326.--a. Why were the Southerners so alarmed by Nat Turner's Rebellion?
b. What power had Congress over the mails? How would you have voted on this question?
§§ 327, 328.--a. Why is the right of petition so important? How is this right secured to citizens of the United States?
b. Why should these petitions be considered as insulting to slaveholders?
c. Why were the Southerners so afraid of any discussion of slavery?
§§ 329, 330.--a. Show by the map the extent of the Mexican Republic.
b. Why did Texas wish to join the United States? What attitude had Mexico taken on slavery?
§§ 331, 332.--a. Explain carefully how the Texas question influenced the election of 1844.
b. What was the Liberty party? How did its formation make the election of Polk possible?
c. What is a "joint resolution"?
§ 333.--How did the Mexicans regard the admission of Texas? What dispute with Mexico arose? Did Mexico begin the war?
§§ 334, 335.--a. What was the plan of Taylor's campaign? Of Scott's campaign?
b. Mention the leading battles of Taylor's campaign. Of Scott's campaign.
§§ 336, 337.--a. What action did the American settlers in California take? With what result?
b. Explain by a map the Mexican cessions of 1848 and 1853.
§§ 338, 339.--a. What was the extent of Oregon in 1845?
b. How was the dispute finally settled? Explain by a map.
c. What was the extent of Oregon in 1847? Is it the same to-day?
d. Of what value was this region to the United States?
§§ 340, 341.--a. Why was there little question whether Oregon would be slave or free?
b. Explain carefully Wilmot's suggestion. What would be the arguments in Congress for and against this "proviso"?
c. What is meant by "squatter sovereignty"? What do you think of the wisdom and justice of such a plan?
§§ 342, 343.--a. Describe the discovery of gold in California and the rush thither. What difference did one year make in the population of California?
b. What attitude did California take on the slavery question? Why?
§§ 344, 345.--a. How had the question of slavery already divided the country?
b. What extreme parties were there in the North and the South?
c. Why was the question about the territories so important?
d. What action did President Taylor take? Why? What do you think of the wisdom of this policy?
§§ 346, 347.--a. State the provisions of Clay's compromise plan. Which of these favored the North? The South?
b. What law had been made as to fugitive slaves? Why had it not been enforced? Why was the change made in 1850 so important?
c. How would you have acted had you been a United States officer called to carry out the Fugitive Slave Law?
§ 348.--a. Who was Mrs. Stowe? What view did she take of slavery?
b. Were there any good points in the slave system?
c. Why is this book so important?
§§ 349-351.--a. Who were the candidates in 1852? Who was chosen? Why?
b. What doctrine did Douglas apply to Kansas and Nebraska?
c. Why did Chase call this bill "a violation of faith"?
d. Was Douglas a patriot? Chase? Sumner? Pierce?
§ 352.--a. Give an account of the early life and training of Abraham Lincoln.
b. What did he think of the Kansas-Nebraska Act?
§§ 353, 354.--a. What effect did the Kansas-Nebraska Act have on the settlement of Kansas?
b. Describe the election. Do you think that laws made by a legislature so elected were binding?
d. Explain the difference in the attitude of the Senate and House on the Kansas question.
§§ 355, 356.--a. How was the Republican party formed? b. Were its principles like or unlike those of the Republican party of Jefferson's time? Give your reasons.
§ 357.--a. What rights did the Supreme Court declare a slave could not possess? Was a slave a person or a thing?
b. What power does the Constitution give Congress over a territory? (Art. IV, Sec. 3.)
§ 358.--a. Explain carefully the quotations from Lincoln's speeches.
b. Was the doctrine of popular sovereignty necessarily favorable to slavery? Give illustrations to support your reasons.
c. Was Douglas's declaration in harmony with the decision of the Supreme Court?
§§ 359, 360.--a. Compare the attitude of Douglas and Buchanan upon the admission of Kansas.
b. Describe John Brown's raid. Was he a traitor?
a. Give, with dates, the important laws as to slavery since 1783.
b. What were the arguments in favor of the extension of slavery? Against it?
c. Find and learn a poem against slavery by Whittier, Lowell, or Longfellow.
d. Make a table of elections since 1788, with the leading parties, candidates, and principal issues. Underline the name of the candidate elected.
TOPICS FOR SPECIAL WORK
a. John Brown in Kansas or at Harper's Ferry.
b. The career, to this time, of any man mentioned in Chapters 33 and 34.
c. Any one fugitive slave case: Jerry McHenry in Syracuse (A.J. May's Antislavery Conflicts), Shadrach, Anthony Burns.
Preparation is especially important in teaching this period. The teacher will find references to larger books in Channing's Students' History.
Show how the question of slavery was really at the basis of the Mexican War. Geographical conditions and the settlement of the Western country should be carefully noted. A limited use of the writings and speeches of prominent men and writers is especially valuable at this point.
Have a large map of the United States in the class room, cut out and fasten upon this map pieces of white and black paper to illustrate the effects of legislation under discussion, and also to illustrate the various elections.
The horrors of slavery should be but lightly touched. Emphasize especially the fact that slavery prevented rather than aided the development of the South, and was an evil economically as well as socially.