Sectional Compromises In The 19th Century

1303 words - 6 pages

There are two mind paths to choose when considering the statement that the compromises of the 1800s were not really compromises, but sectional sellouts by the North, that continually gave in to the South's wishes. The first is that the compromises really were compromises, and the second is that the compromises were modes of the North selling out. Really, there is only one correct mind path of these two, and that is that the North sold out during these compromises and gave the South what it wanted for minimal returns. The three main compromises of the 19th century, the compromises of 1820 (Missouri) and 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 each were ways for the south to gain more ...view middle of the document...

Likewise, the Compromise of 1850 was made to benefit both regions but really only benefited the south. The north got their wish, which was California to be admitted free, but other than that, the only beneficial provision was the abolishment of slavery auctions in Washington, D.C. This promise really didn't do anything but move the Washington slave auctions to Arlington, across the river in Virginia. Texas' boundary was limited in this compromise, but then the government paid Texas $10 million, which eventually went towards the southern cause. Also, a stronger fugitive slave law was passed, which just helped slavery because it forced the north to accept that it was a functioning system and promoted the growth due to the slaves being returned so they can produce more slaves. The compromise additionally made the New Mexico and Utah territories open to slavery. Even though they weren't influential territories, it still showed the southern dominance over the north. In fact, all of these provisions showed southern dominance over the north. They got what they wanted and allowed the south to have whatever it wanted.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 also benefited the south and showed the north's inability to fight for what was considered by the abolitionists as right. This act erased the Missouri Compromise line, allowing all territories to be open to slavery. This upset the north because it meant that slavery could be allowed in the north where the majority of people didn't approve of it. Then, if the territories allowed it, the entire plains section of the country could be slave. This act was then considered proslavery, and if the northern politicians were so against slavery, they could have prevented it. However, they had already been pushed around so much that they couldn't hold their own and allowed it to be passed.

These three major acts all show that the north became weaker after the compromises, and it also ‘sold out,' so to speak, by letting the south have anything it wanted after it got what it wanted. In 1820, the north wanted a free state and got it. In 1850, the north wanted California and got it. In each of these instances, the north gave the south more provisions that helped them and left satisfied with another free state. They were, for the majority, fighting for the abolition of slavery, and in each compromise, they didn't succeed in getting any abolition provisions passed, only more free state provisions. The north was totally unsuccessful in any effort at all to abolish slavery in these compromises, and they allowed the south to push them around. They were weak and could not hold their own in the political circles.

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