Liberty Challenged in Nineteenth Century America

HIS 104: American History to 1865

February 13, 2017


Thesis Statement

With the birth of a constitutional republic, the peculiar institution of slavery was instrumental in the shaping of the American way of life. The economic, social and political lives of slaves were changed and slaves struggled to gain natural human order as white Americans opposed their humanization.

Describe two (2) outcomes of the 3/5ths Compromise, Missouri Compromise of 1820, Compromise of 1850, Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the Dred Scott Decision.

· 3/5ths Compromise

· Compromise reached between northern and southern states during the 1787 American Constitutional Convention.

· Representatives and direct taxes apportioned among the states within the Union in accordance to their respected numbers.

· Slave states had incommensurable representation in the House of Representation in relation to free states until the American Civil War.

· Missouri Compromise

· Way to keep balance of power between slave states and free states.

· Missouri (slave state) and Maine (anti-slavery state) were added to the union to maintain balance.

· Amendment placed an imaginary line across Louisiana Territory, dividing the territory into separate regions, slavery region and anti-slavery region.

· Compromise of 1850

· Congressed passed 5 separate bills which helped diffuse tension between slave states and free states; territories acquired during Mexican – American War.

· Stricter Fugitive Slave Law enacted.

· California admitted to Union as free state; Utah and New Mexico territories were determined by popular sovereignty, in reference to slavery.

· Kansas – Nebraska Act

· Initially created to open up new farms and make feasible a Transcontinental Railroad. Served to repeal sections of the Missouri Compromise of 1820 (Brinkley, 2015).

· The Kansas–Nebraska Act divided the nation and pointed it toward civil war (Huntington, 2009).

· People in the Nebraska Territory and Kansas Territory were able to decide on the issues of slavery or anti-slavery.

· Dred Scott Decision

· The decision reached in 1857 created more tension surrounding the issues of slave trade and slavery in the United States, where the Supreme Court determined that Scott would still be a slave (Brinkley, 2015).

· According to the constitution drafted in 1787, black people were not considered as a person. With 5 of the 9 justices from the pro-slavery South, clearly marking the government’s position on the issue of slavery.

· The decision inflamed regional tensions, which burned for another four years before exploding into the Civil War (History.com).

Suggest 3 reasons why slavery was and is incompatible with our political and economic system.

Slavery was around from as early times as history records furnish us information about the conditions of mankind. The south was not seeking profits from the slave trade and hence it was incompatible with the economic system and the politics of America (Randall, & Donald, 2016). Slave owners were more about showing off their vast plantations and huge number of slave than worrying about profits and investments. This in turn hindered the development of southern capitalism. Next, slavery drove a stake between Northern and Southern States which brought about tension. The tension between the two led to the union separating and eventually to violence. Lastly, slavery forced planters to diversify their economic activities (Anderson & Gallman, 1977). This diversification posed problems for the South. The South found it rather difficult to develop any kind of manufacturing industry and was dependent upon imports from the North, thus suppressing economic growth in the South.

List three to five (3-5) driving forces that led to the Civil War.

· Slavery

· Tension between Northern States and Southern States over the issues of slavery caused an unbalance in the union.

· The strategy of the anti-slavery forces was containment—to stop the expansion and thus put slavery on a path to gradual extinction (Weeks, 2013).

· State Rights

· The South argued that the right to leave the union rested with each state. The North rejected and opposed the notion stating they were setting up a perpetual union.

· Lincoln’s election

· South feared that the election of Abraham Lincoln would cause a halt in the expansion of slavery.


Anderson, R. V., & Gallman, R. E. (1977). Slaves as Fixed Capital: Slave Labor and Southern Economic Development. The Journal of American History, 64(I), 24-26.

Brinkley, A. (2015). The Unfinished Nation: A Concise History of the American People, Volume I (Vol. 11, p. 7271). McGraw-Hill.

History.com. (n.d.). Dred Scott Case – Black History. Retrieved from: http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/dred-scott-case

Huntington, T. (2009). “Civil War Chronicles: Abolitionist John Doy”, American Heritage.

Randall, J. G., & Donald, D. (2016). The Civil War and Reconstruction. Pickle Partners Publishing.

Weeks, William E. (2013). The New Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-107-00590-7.

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