Development of the American Constitution

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The Constitution was originally constructed as a document to unify a young nation, ensure rights, and prevent one man from having too much power. In order for the Constitution to be ratified, it evaded addressing divisive issues between the north and south, as to keep both sections of the union in favor of the Constitution. As the nation as well as its dependency on slavery grew, the ambiguity of the Constitution gave way to tension on three major issues between the abolitionist north and the pro-slavery south-what the protocol should be pertaining to runaway slaves, the slave status of newly formed states, and could states legally and peacefully secede from the Union. Because of the Constitution’s inability to directly address these pertinent issues it created a sectionalism mentality that led to the failure of the union it created. Henry Clay created the Compromise of 1850, in order to pacify northern and southern states in regards to slavery in order to keep the Union together. There were many key elements in which Clay had to consider before reaching a compromise. One issue was in 1848 the Mexican-American War had officially ended, resulting in America amassing an enormous territory. The nation was divided on whether the territory should be a free state, a slave state, or be allowed to choose for themselves. Another issue was the territory California. It experienced a huge population surge because of the gold rush of 1849 and petitioned to become a free state. California entering the Union as a free state would disrupt the balance of free states and slave states-and anything that endangered the balance would not win in Congress. A third issue was that Texas claimed its new territory stretched all to the way to Santa Fe.... ... middle of paper ... ...between states, but was in effect national government, set up above and over the states.” The constitution did not specifically state whether it was illegal or legal for states to secede from the union. The wait-and-see policy of Buchanan combined with the ambiguity of the constitution forged the way for the southern states to secede from the union. In conclusion the Constitution’s inability to regulate its laws regarding slavery led to the downfall of the union it had created. It caused deep rifts between the north and south- first beginning with the Compromise of 1860, then Bleeding Kansas, abolitionist John Brown, and the fact that the Constitution left no provisions as to the slave status of newly formed states and whether it is legal or possible for states to secede form the union all culminated in the secession of the south and the destruction of the union.
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