The Issue Of Slavery During The 19th Century

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Throughout the 19th century, the issue of slavery had been an ongoing hot-button controversy, one that eventually divided a once united country in half. The South held the institution of slavery dearly and were very reactionary of it, refusing to change their policies on it. The North, on the other hand, favored their territory to be free states as opposed to slave states, yet did not outright reject the South’s pro-slavery stance. In fact, the North did not want total abolition, instead allowed the South to have their slavery policy so long as they agreed not to expand slavery into further territories and to keep it within their respective boundaries as per the Missouri Compromise (parallel 36 degrees 30′ north). Alas, it resulted in an aftermath which saw one of the most savage wars in American history. Before such events played out in the Civil War’s inception, the North and South became increasingly tense towards each other, from one compromise to another, rebellions, bloodshed and of course, debates.
Of all the debates that were had regarding slavery, none were more significant than the ones between Democrat candidate Stephen A. Douglas and Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln, who have debated against each other for 20 years prior. The two would duke it out seven times in debates throughout the 1850s, resulting in a political feud of the ages. The two were very different from one another. Douglas, short in stature but not in force (dubbed “the Little Giant”), was, according to Eric Niderost in his article “The Great Debate”, a “dynamic personality” who had great political notoriety as well as being a “major force on the political scene” (Niderost 1-2). Lincoln, on the other hand, towered Douglas in height but clearly not in...

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...utionalist Union, comprising of “die-hard Whigs” (Niderost 7).
Ultimately, Lincoln defeated his archrival, Douglas, and won the presidential election of 1860, becoming the 16th US president, partly due to the Freeport Doctrine. The once dynamic “Little Giant”, a powerful political force, witnessed his defeat by his former rival and lost his chance of becoming president. Despite receiving virtually no votes in the South, Lincoln had the majority of the North. Lincoln’s election into office eventually spurred the South into secession and an inevitable Civil War. Douglas and Lincoln, however, did put their rivalry to rest, welcomed each other and Douglas began to become Lincoln’s supporter. Unfortunately for Douglas, he fell ill and passed away before he could see the country reunite, as the Civil War’s bloodshed over a country’s divide by slavery had continued on.

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