Territorial Expansion Made The Divisive Issue Of Slavery Impossible

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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, “America 's Manifest Destiny,” employed his zest as an “expansionist” and admitted Texas into the union in 1845. To settle the dispute of who Texas belonged to, Polk engineered a war with Mexico and after the “Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo” in 1848, was the proud owner of not only what we recognize as present day Texas, but also California, New Mexico, and Utah. With new lands came old questions swirling around the legitimacy of establishing slavery in new territories. The territories were not covered under the “Missouri Compromise” and therefore seen as fair game to Southerners and Northerners. In response to the war with Mexico and the prospect of overtake in Texas, David Wilmont, a senator in 1846, attached a provision to “one of the war 's appropriation bills.” The attachment, called the “Wilmot Proviso,” failed but became a fixture on every war bill after the first it was included on. Wilmot 's motivation for the amendment was to prevent slavery from spreading to the new territories so tha... ... middle of paper ... ...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 secede. In summation, territorial expansion was like a board game set up to played over and over again between two opponents. Every time a game was finished, a new one presented itself. As the games progressed the opponents got angrier and angrier at each other. The reasons for Civil War may seem trivial from the surface, but the way the emotions and opinions erupted from the exposure over territorial expansion, shows our country had two very different visions for America that at some point could not co-exist with one another.

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