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The Issue of Slavery in the New Colonies

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Before the South seceded from the union, from 1850-1861, the issue of slavery in the new territories and in the Union was debated between the North and the South, they had turned to the Constitution for answers, but because it was written to be vague that it did not provide much help other than fueling the debate further. Slavery wasn’t directly mentioned in the constitution, which made it very difficult to determine the Constitutions stand on slavery. In the territories that the Union that acquired, whether slavery would exist or not was another issue of debate, since the expansion of slavery was once again not covered in the Constitution either. In some territories like Kansas popular sovereignty was used to determine if it would be slave or free. In 1850 the Compromise of 1850 was passed as well as the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, which made it harder for African Americans to escape the institute of slavery. In the Constitution the word slavery was never directly mentioned. The Northerners used this to support their cause of emancipation for the slaves, saying that the Constitution had never been designed to protect the institute of slavery. (Doc. E) However, the South also used the Constitution to defend the slave system. The Southerners had claimed that the Constitution protects the rights of a citizen’s private property, Fifth Amendment. Since the White Southerners viewed the Black slaves as chattel, slaves were valuable property to them. They said that the Northerners demand to emancipate the slaves was a violation of their rights to property. (Doc. B) By 1850 the United States had achieved their goal of manifest destiny, however there was a slight problem, would the territories that they had acquired be free or slave? Cal... ... middle of paper ... .... C) Ralf Waldo Emerson had said that the Fugitive Slave Law was an immoral law which it was his duty to break, and that an immoral law, such as this one, should be met by civil disobedience. (Doc. D) Before the secession of the south, the issue of slavery was dividing the Union. Since the institute of slavery was not directly mentioned in the Constitution, both the North and South claimed that the Constitution was in their favor. The North claimed it did not protect the institute of slavery, while the South said that it protected a citizen’s property, which they believed that the slaves were. From the Compromise of 1850 the Utah and New Mexico territories were left up to popular sovereignty to determine if they were slave or free. While the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 made it increasingly more difficult for escaping former slaves to hold on to freedom in the North.
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