Cass, Cass And The Cause Of The Civil War

1169 Words 5 Pages
With the rise of sectional differences caused by conflicting views regarding slavery, Lewis Cass, a Democratic Senator from Michigan, proposed a new idea to solve this issue. He introduced the concept of popular sovereignty, in which states decide whether or not to allow slavery based on a majority vote. In 1848, Cass became the Democrat nominee for the presidential election based around his campaign of popular sovereignty, also known as “squatter”. His opponents included Mexican war hero General Zachary Taylor of the Whigs party, along with former president Martin van Buren of the Free-Soil Party, who aimed at preserving the Western land for the whites only (“Vermilya”). Taylor defeated Cass by a narrow margin, but suddenly died in 1850 …show more content…
Previously while Taylor was still in office, Henry Clay proposed the Compromise of 1850, in which (1) California would be admitted as a free state; (2) A stricter Fugitive Slave Law would be created; (3) Utah and New Mexico would decide slavery by popular sovereignty; and (4) Slave trade in the District of Columbia was prohibited. (“Compromise of 1850”). There was much controversy between the North and the South regarding the harsher Fugitive Slave Law, leading to an increase in sectionalism that would later play a strong role as a cause of the Civil War. In the Election of 1852, General Winfield Scott of the Whig party created a campaign that ignored the vital issue of slavery against Southern Democrat Franklin Pierce. Pierce easily defeated Scott and ended the Whig party due to his strong support of the Fugitive Slave Law. With the Democrats having majority control in both the House and Senate, Illinois Senator Stephen A Douglas proposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854) in order to gain southern support for his transcontinental railroad. The Act stated that Nebraska become separate from Kansas and decide slavery by popular sovereignty (“The Kansas-Nebraska Act”). Because Nebraska was above the 36 30 line, this act gave hope to Southerners to break the Missouri Compromise and begin to spread …show more content…
The Republican Party simply wished for slavery to be conducted within the old Missouri Compromise rules. Meanwhile, the Know-Nothing Party was created on the foundation of nativist beliefs, viewing Catholics and foreign immigrants as threats to the economic opportunities of the Americans. Despite the rise of these two parties, the Democrats continued on to win the Election of 1856 as they remained the sole major national party. James Buchanan of Pennsylvania defeated both Republican nominee John Frémont, a California Senator, and current president Millard Fillmore, the Know-Nothing party nominee. However, Frémont gained considerable support, winning 11 out of the 16 Free states in the Electoral College, providing evidence that the Republican Party was a serious threat for future elections to the prominent, longstanding Democratic Party (“The Election of 1856”). Sectionalism continued between the Southern Democrats and Northern Republicans with the Dred Scott Decision. Dred Scott was initially a slave in Missouri, but lived in the free state of Wisconsin for two years before returning to Missouri. Claiming he was a free citizen, Scott sued a Missouri Court; the issue eventually went to the Supreme Court where Southern Democrat Chief Justice Roger Taney ruled (1) Dred Scott did not have the right to sue because he was not a

Related Documents