Political Action on Slavery
Missouri Compromise, Wilmot
Proviso, Compromise of 1850
• The Missouri Compromise was passed in
1820 and prohibited slavery in the former
Louisiana Territory north of the 36 30’
parallel except within the boundaries of the
proposed state of Missouri. To balance the
number of "slave states" and "free states,"
the northern region of what was then
Massachusetts was admitted into the United
States as a free state to become Maine.
Adding to the Slave Issue
• Tariff of Abominations (Tariff of 1828) - The clash between John C.
Calhoun and Andrew Jackson. South Carolina felt controlled by the
Federal Government (an unfair tariff).
• Nat Turner's Rebellion - A black minister who led a massacre of
50+ southerners. REACTION - white militias killed hundreds of
• The Nullification Crisis (1832) - Similar to VA and KY Resolutions,
stating a Constitution law "null and void." In this case federal tariffs.
More anger and resentment from the South.
The Amistad Case
• Noted by historian, Samuel Eliot
Morison as, "... The most important
court case involving slavery before
being eclipsed by that of Dred Scott.”
• Involved the non-importation law of
1807. African slaves took over the
clipper ship, La Armistad. They were
granted their freedom as the Spanish
violated this law.
• Video includes: John Quincy Adams
and Martin Van Buren
• John Quincy Adams connecting equal
rights and the Declaration of
• The Wilmot Proviso, one of the major events leading to the
American Civil War, would have banned slavery in any
territory to be acquired from Mexico in the Mexican War or in
the future, including the area later known as the Mexican
Cession, but which some proponents construed to also include
the disputed lands in south Texas and New Mexico east of the
Compromise of 1850
• California statehood
Railroad and issues
over the Fugitive
• Proposed by Henry
The Compromise of 1850 overturned the
Missouri Compromise and left the overall issue
of slavery unsettled.
• Started by Stephen Douglas
• Introduced the idea of
popular sovereignty to
decide whether a state would
• Led to Bleeding Kansas, as
northerners and southerners
rushed to inhabit the territory.
• Passing of the bill split the
Whig party, leading to the
modern Republican party.
The “Little Giant”
Caning of Charles Sumner
Southern Representative from South Carolina Preston Brooks
attacked the northern Senator from Massachusetts over his
“Crime Against Kansas” speech.
Trends in Antebellum America,
1. New intellectual and religious movements.
(Shakers, transcendentalists, etc.)
2. Social reforms. (Lowell System, Seneca
Falls, William Lloyd Garrison, etc.)
3. Industrial Revolution
4. Second Party System (Popular vote increased)
5. Federalists Legacy (Marshall decisions & small
stumble of states’ rights)
6. Increase in American Nationalism (Manifest
Destiny, War of 1812)
7. Expansionism (Pioneers, internal improvements)
Economic and Religious Reasons to move westward.
Major Pioneer Settlers
• Donner Party – Took all possible measures to
survive an unexpected winter.
• Sutter’s Mill, 1848 (GOLD!)
• Between April
• Could receive
letters within 10
• Moving from New
York, to Missouri,
to San Francisco.
Dred Scott Decision, was a landmark
decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. It
held that the federal government had
no power to regulate slavery in the
territories, and that people of African
descent (both slave and free) were not
protected by the Constitution and were
not U.S. citizens.