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Impact Of Territorial Expansion

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Territorial expansion made the divisive issue of slavery impossible to ignore. The North and South each had different visions for the new territories acquired by the United States and neither side was willing to let the other become the dominate force in America. Key events regarding territorial expansion, and the figures who enacted them, drove the wedge between the North and South farther and farther until the eruption of the Civil War. Some of these events included the war with Mexico, the “Wilmot Proviso”, the “Compromise of 1850”, the “Kansas Nebraska Act”, the “Dredd Scott Decision,” the formation of the “free soil party” or the new Republicans, and John Brown 's attacks on pro-slavers. President James K. Polk, a true supporter of,…show more content…
As a matter of fact, “By 1849, California had well over 100,00 people.” With this many people flocking to the new territories, government was needed for structure. In order to create government however, the issue of slavery had to be revisited. President Zachary Taylor adopted a policy of “Popular Sovereignty” or letting the people of the states decides if they wanted slavery. All the new territories created their state constitutions without it. This enraged Southerners, once again their way of life was being insulted by exclusion. This enragement gelled Southerners to become even more fierce in the protection of their way of life. In order to smooth over hurt feelings, Henry Clay, a nationalist Southern Democrat, came up with the “Compromise of 1850.” The compromise gave the South concessions for allowing the new territories to be slave free. One of the victories for the South was the “Fugitive Slave Act,” which gave Southerners the authority to retrieve run-aways from the North and gave the law permission to punish those who helped runaway slaves. As a result of the “Compromise of 1850” Northerners got a personal taste for what slavery entailed through witnessing the retrieval of slaves due to the “Fugitive Slave Act” that was a part of it. The sight turned Northerners into abolitionists and impassioned them with repulsion for slavery and the South. Once again, dispute over whether territories should allow…show more content…
After John Brown, Southerners believed all Northerners were violent abolitionists, ready and willing conquer the South and its way of life. Brown 's zealous beliefs that slavery was evil was fought out over territorial expansion, it gave him the opportunity to poke the hornet 's nest of Southern paranoia and fear, which were large factors that led to the divide of the country and the South 's decision to
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