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American Civil War (Essay Sample)


The Coining of Western Expansion with Slavery Precipitated Civil War

The Coining of Western Expansion with Slavery Precipitated Civil WarName:Instructor:Subject:Institution:Date
The Coining of Western Expansion with Slavery Precipitated Civil War
The peculiarity, supremacy and resilience of the American institutions have successfully held the Americans together in spite of the changing conditions. The fast and rapidly growing population as per 1803 necessitated President Thomas Jefferson to commission an expedition to Louisiana to seek frontier lines to settle the swelling population. This marked the beginning of western expansion which has cut through all the American history. The political, social and economic development of America was based on its success in maximizing settlements in the frontier lines. The western expansion became a precursor and an agitator to the American civil war because of political and social stances taken by both the political elites and the citizens. This paper will discuss how the coining of Western Expansion with slavery precipitated the American Civil War of 1861-1865 and its aftermath in the History of United States of America.[Turner, 1893 para. 1, "Frontier Thesis”] [Turner, 1893 para 2]
The Adoption of the Manifest Destiny in the 19th Century kindled a social-political belief that the American settlers bore the responsibility of remaking the west through Americanism. Research has articulated that the 19th Century American History embodied three themes which were at the center of the Manifest Destiny. These themes included the America's obligation to assimilate the west into bearing agrarian America's image, special virtues that was associated with America and her citizens and lastly, the resilience and dedication to Americanize the west. Because of these, the frontier spirit started to gain favor and soon the American started to spread "Empire Liberty" into the west.[Miller, 2006-: Thomas Jefferson, Lewis & Clark, and Manifest] [Miller, 2006-Americanism virtues.]
The Manifest Destiny became a major political tempestuousness as it wrought rift among political elites and the general Public. Majority of the Democrats who perceived Manifest Destiny as a mission of saving man through establishment of moral dignity as defined by values like equality, establishment of personal enfranchisement and right of conscience, strongly defended its perceived cause. On the other hand, their counterparts, the Republicans resented the American imperialism as they perceived it to be an anachronistic evil. Citizens were also divided in line to different stances assumed by various leaders but the Manifest Destiny continued to venture into the west at the expense of national unity as asserted by Howe (2007).[Howe, 2007, p.705-706] [John, 1839]
Turner (1893) theorizes that the America's social development undergoes perennial rebirth, supporting the American fluidity of life in frontier lines. This was evident through the unwavering determination of the American settlers to seek new opportunities in frontier lines. The resentment against territorial expansion as it was presented by the Whig party were in vain as the Democrats continued spreading the American way of life through the North American continent. In conquest, they went south and they established slaver and this brought more political turmoil among antislavery politicians and the proslavery. In turn, it escalated the tension between the South and the North both as freedom for slaves threatened the decline of cotton-based economy hence this became a major grievance into the Civil War.[F. Merk & L. Merk, 1963] [Michael, 1997]
Slavery became the focus of both the North and the South as their rivalry escalated because of their different stances on the issues. The Republicans, majority from the North- could not withstand the Democrats claim that Slavery was state-based property scheme that was recognized and protected by the constitution. The South wanted to be left free with their agriculture-based economy that dependent a lot on slaves. This is the reason why they never wanted to let go off the frontier sprit to seek settlement for the rapidly growing number of salves and extend slavery in the west. On the contrary, the Northerners through the Republic leaders desired to stop annexing slave states and solve the disdainful slave evil through containment. This meant that slavery was to be gradually faced out through stopping its expansion. This inferred the halting of America's Westward Expansion and hence undermining the Southerners. All these attempts were considered malicious by the slave holding interests and they accused the Northerners of infringing their constitutional right. As Slavery was abolished in the North, its urban centers and border states, it intensified in the south and cotton farming flourished due to availability of surplus manual labor in the farms.[Green, 1930] [weeks, 2013, P.240] [Oslen, 2002]
The severe consequences of America's western expansion were felt in 1850s when controversies surrounding the admission of Missouri into slavery in 1820, conquest and annexation of Texas as a slave state in 1845 and the deplorable state of the slave states acquired after the American-Mexican War besides the 1850 compromise erupted, . The conquest and control over Mexico precipitated the aggression between the North and the South because the North desired to exterminate slavery in the newly acquired western states, an opinion which was shared with the House but never got majority back up from the Senate. The Northerners condemned the horror slavery status as asserted by Stowe but; their agitation could not benefit the slaves due to the continued supremacy of slavery in the South. The heated disagreements over slavery later on led to the decline of the Whig and Know Nothing political parties, division of Democrats into North and South while Republicans stayed focused on their cause of containing and abolishing slavery in all the slave states.[Foner, 1995] [William, n.d] [Stowe, 1953, P.53] [Stowe, 1953]
The South slave holding interests continued using their advocates to champion America's imperialism in the west in order to acquire newer and fresh soils to replenish their farm-based economy. According to Freehling, the South was alarmed by the rate at which they lost their slaves through escape and manumission hence increasing the number of freed slaves in the North. To make it worse, their cotton and tobacco based economy was declining due to wearing out of the soil hence they risked the unity of the Democrat party –it further split into North and South- to push for expansion of slavery and opening of more lands in the west through their advocates. They further intensified the tension in the North by demanding slave codes in the newly annexed territories hence widening the margins between them and this escalated the furry among the antislavery citizens and their leaders in the North.[Freehling, 2008, pp. 9–24] [Sinha, 2000] [Potter, 2011, pp. 503–505]
There rose the need to amicably solve the disputes between the pro-slave Southerners and the abolitionists from the North through democracy in Kansas. Despite the efforts to reunite the disintegrated states upon pro-slave and abolition stances, the North refused to be played through the Lecompton Constitution hence they reiterated by rejecting it in 1857 thwarting any chances of consensus. Because it had been witnessed that even the searing House and the Senate were in antagonistic to each other, both the North and South schemed keenly concerning presidential candidates in the 1860 presidential election. It was clear that the Americans were divided between the pro-slave and abolitionist who respectively, supported and resented American imperialism.[Potter, 2011]
In support for pro-slavery and by extension, Western Expansion, Chief Justice Taney while giving a ruling over the Dred Scott case, pointed out that slavery in the territories was a state-bound property which could be rightfully owned by any potential setter. This decision was resented by the Republicans, spearheaded by Abraham Lincoln because it was in contradiction with the already established and thriving Missouri Compromise. According to the compromise, no slavery activities were allowed in the territories occupying 36°30' parallel of North. Fehrenbacher asserts that Chief Justice Taney articulated that the salves were too inferior to claim any right from the white settlers –especially those who used them in the South for farm labor- and thus contradicting the moral values which founded the Manifest Destiny.[Fehrenbacher, 1981] [Fehrenbacher 1981]
The Ideological rivalry between the North and the South were heightened by the stances taken by government institutions. For instance, the Dred Scott case precipitated agitation from Republicans who publicly denounced its ruling and addressed slavery as a national evil. Contrary, the Democrats and the Southern citizens cherished slavery and by extension, Western Expansion. The Republican's conviction about abolishing slavery by containment was partially challenged and partially supported by Democrat's Freeport Doctrine by Stephen A. Douglas. The Doctrine stated that the congress- a government institution- was not in a position to support or decide against slavery before establishment of territories- frontier line. This could be interpreted that if the government institutions could avoid advocating slavery, as it was evident in the Dred Scott case, the difficulty and pressure of containing and abolishing slavery through Americanization was achievable. On the other hand, Douglas had inferred that it was only after successfully expanding the American territories -through conquest in the name of manifest Destiny- that the Congress and other government institutions could decide for or against slavery in the annexed territories. This meant that the South continu...
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