Essay On Civil War And Sectionalism

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United States history from 1800 to 1859 was demonstrating national greatness and national unity. Yet, by 1860 North and South were so polarized that the lower South seceded immediately upon Lincoln’s election. Historians argue that divisions or sectionalism between the free and slave states led to the civil war. However, there is evidence that divisions were not limited to just the North and South, but divisions within and between political parties, and differing memories Americans felt long after the war was over. This paper discusses the political and cultural tension in America leading up to the civil war and beyond, by discussing the expansionist period of the 1840s, the compromise period of the 1850s, and how Americans dealt and interpreted the war through until the end of the nineteenth century. The expansionist period of the 1840s demonstrates the national greatness and national unity of America. However, a growing tension and sectionalism between free and slave states began to materialize. Thomas Hietala’s book Manifest Design …show more content…
Both decisions granting greater power to the slave states over free-states. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 helped eliminate the effects of the Supreme Court Decision on Prigg v. Pennsylvania (1842). The court ruled the obligation of enforcement of the fugitive-slave clause of the Constitution was federal, not relying on states for law-enforcement. The Northern states created “personal liberty laws” to help in the prevention of recapturing runaway slaves by forbidding state officials to participate in the enforcement of the law or the use of their jails. The passage of the new Fugitive Slave Law “carefully avoided any attempt to employ state officials in its enforcement,” granting Slaveowners more freedom to recapture runaways. The other Supreme Court decision that Potter discusses is the Dred Scott v. Sandford

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