Prior to 1848, slave and free states were equal and had equal representation in the Senate.
The California Gold Rush sent tens of thousands of unruly people to the newly acquired territory. Needing a solution to rampant crime, the people drafted a quick Constitution for admittance into the Union -- a Constitution that banned slavery.
This outraged Southerners – now the South was outnumbered in the House and Senate, and California set a precedent for the other Mexican Cession territories to be free states as well.Their outrage added to their outrage of Northerners helping slaves escape. They wanted more slave territories and a stricter slave law.This led to the Compromise of 1850.
Compromise of 1850 • Remainder of SouthNorth • California admitted as a Mexican free state. Cession land open to popular • Slave trade, but sovereignty. not slavery, abolished in DC. • Stricter fugitive slave laws.
Northerners were enraged. The new fugitive slave laws were essentially bribes for Northerners to convict and return slaves. Northern moderates turned into fierce Abolitionists. Southerners still wanted more land for slavery, so they looked to Central America. Their plan to get Cuba, the Ostend Manifesto, was leaked, and Northerners became even more angry.
Gadsden PurchaseThe West was cut offfrom the rest of theUnion. James Gadsdennegotiated to purchasethis area from Mexicofor $10 million so theSouth could build arailroad from Houstonto Los Angeles.This frustrated theNorth. They wanted arailroad to the west, sothey hurriedlyorganized Nebraska.
Kansas-Nebraska Senator Stephen Douglas proposed the Kansas- Nebraska act to solve the North-South conflicts. The act said that the Kansas and Nebraska territories would be open to slavery by popular sovereignty. The Act angered Northerners who thought the Nebraska Territory would have slavery banned due to the Missouri Compromise. This finally pushed into bloodshed in Kansas and Nebraska.
The ideas of Manifest Destiny and popular sovereignty led into fierce debates on whether the new territories would be open to slavery. This deepened sectionalism between North and South and led to bloodshed.