Western Expansion

1208 Words 5 Pages
The Constitution of the United States, although originally framed for national unity, eventually had become a source for sectional conflict and tension that resulted in the Union 's failure by the 1850’s. There are many factors that led up to the failure of the Union one of the most important and controversial ones being slavery. Debates on the slavery issue ever since the Constitutional Convention had caused major issues throughout the continent, affecting the nation as a whole economically, socially, and politically. The slavery issue along with other factors, including the moral views of the Constitution, and what was and what was not clearly stated in the document all support the claim that the Constitution ultimately contributed to the …show more content…
Western expansion was a movement to spread both a political system and racially defined society as race was used as a justification as to why expansion should take place at this time. Henry Clay and other politicians feared that expansion would reopen the dreadful controversy over slavery and threaten the stability of the U. This along with other issues regarding slavery led to sectional discord, the most evident in many cases being between the North and South. Rising tempers and tensions led multiple Southern leaders to talk about secession from the U leading to the Compromise of 1850. This is important because secession from the Union would increase national instability economically, politically, and socially. Northern states passed the Personal Liberty Laws in an attempt to counter the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. This act was among the provisions of the Compromise of 1850 and caused issues between the North and the South (Doc A). The South in response to the Personal Liberty Laws passed in the North, demanded a law that required Northern states to return fugitive slaves to their owners. Slavery became the leading divider between North and Southern states. Seeing that the …show more content…
The Atlantic Slave Trade was immensely managed based on the economic interests of Americans, especially in the South. Ralph Waldo Emerson in his address on the Fugitive Slave Law in 1851 reflects his moral perspective on the matter (Doc D). Emerson clearly states the laws violation of the Constitution as it enacts the crime of kidnapping and violates a man 's right to liberty. A provision decided at the Constitutional Convention in regards to the slave trade, the law of Congress in 1807 proclaimed it to be illegal and unconstitutional to enslave a man on the coast of Africa. Contradicting this law is the Fugitive Slave Law and the right to punish anyone who resists the re-enslaving a man on the coast of America. This indicated that the same Constitution Americans used to protect human rights is the same Constitution Americans used to justify their unconstitutional actions. William Lloyd Garrison provides another moral point of view in “The United States Constitution” (Doc E). Many use the fact that the word slavery is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution to justify slavery. Garrison in this document, however, clearly states his belief that the government is the enemy of slaves. Many argue that

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