Westward Expansion And The Rights Of The United States
Southerners feared an increase in free states would create an imbalance of power and create an advantage to the abolition of slavery. …show more content…
The Missouri compromise had prohibited slavery north of 36 degrees do north, but groups of settlers in Kansas who had come from slave states, like Missouri, believed slavery should be permitted in the territory. Other settlers were from the North and wanted to make the area a free state. The result was upheaval and rioting. The fighting carried east by abolitionist John Brown who believed the will of God justified violence and would overthrow slavery. Brown and his followers, seven of whom were black, attacked and occupied the federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry in 1859 in a failed attempt to arm a slave rebellion. Brown was captured and executed and his efforts became a symbol of abolition in the North. (494)
In 1845 the United States Congress voted to annex Texas, then fought and won a war to claim land north of the Rio Grande. The first of many attempts to restrict slavery in territories grew out of the Mexican-American War. California had entered the U. S. as a free state in The Compromise of 1850. That same year, Texas claimed the New Mexico territory. The Rio Grande, was boundary between slavery and freedom for Texas’ African Americans both freed and enslaved. In a negotiation for a land swap for a Texan slave, Guy M Bryan discussed the problems with holding slaves so near the Mexico border where the idea of freedom was tantalizingly close.
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