Prelude To Civil War Assignment

Prelude To Civil War Assignment Words: 997

The fact that slavery has been allowed to exist (as a state decision) seems to further validate his view, as does the enactment of Fugitive Slave Laws by the Federal Government with the recognition Of the “right” of people to practice slavery and to have their “property” protected. Document C: A Handbill from Boston warning Blacks concerning slave- catchers Note the date on the Handbill (1851). Again, this gives you a great opportunity to bring in outside information about the Compromise of 1850. Remember that one of the provisions strengthened the Fugitive Slave Law.

This handbill is typical of what one might have seen throughout the North during this period -?? certainly true in Wisconsin which had some Underground OR con injections. Document D: Emerson talking about the Fugitive Slave Law This is really a great document for illustrating the moral position on the Fugitive Slave Act. And just think who and what you can connect Emerson to here? (Think Walden Pond and a particular religious revival as well! ). Also, note his reference to the stoppage of the Slave Trade in 1807 (remember that provision that was decided at the Constitutional Convention regarding the slave trade! ).

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Document E: Garrison talking about the US Constitution Garrison, of course, represents a more radical view. His condemnation of the Constitution itself Was routinely part of his attack when he spoke. Like document D, this one gives you the “moral” position. Document F: Political Cartoon regarding Kansas Boy, there is a lot in this cartoon! I’ll let you play around with that one and see what you can come up with! Be conscious of the names as you do it. Document G: Buchanan 4th Annual Message to Congress This is an excellent document to use because it is the “voice of the President” who was dealing with the secession issue and the South.

Not surprisingly, Buchanan takes a weak position on the issue and was a “waffling’ politician if ever there was one. Document H: Jefferson Davis addressing the Confederate Congress Again, Davis voices the Southern view of the Constitution. Great opportunity for you to bring in the Nullification Theory (remember Jefferson and Madison) and to connect to Document B as well. The last section of the document is really the key to understanding it, believe. Document l: Lincoln message to Congress (same year) Lincoln was elected in November of 1860 (remember -?? as a completely sectional candidate) and this statement from him is from July of 1 861.

He would have been in office for about 5 months at this point and had watched he South secede and seen the outbreak of fighting. An important part of this document is to realize that he sees the 1 20th Amendment as important (he doesn’t say that, but he makes reference to the “reserved powers. ” I challenge you to look that up for some deeper understanding. TO RECAP and Reflect: To get the longer view of things, I definitely recommend that you look up and think about the debates over slavery at the time of the Constitutional Convention -?? those are important for the context of this question.

You need to think of it in the long view. You’re getting views from Garrison, Emerson, Lincoln, Buchanan, Davis, and an anonymous Georgian here. Do these documents “line up” in any particular way? Northern perspective? Southern perspective? Are there natural groupings? One thing that always helps your answer is if you can show interactions between the documents. The shows more complexity in your thinking. Finally, what interpretations of the Constitution are you getting here? There are definitely two pretty clear perspectives (check Davis and Lincoln from 1861).

There is also a 3rd perspective, believe, with William Lloyd Garrison. To conclude, think about HOW the Constitution is often used to either justify position we might hold, or condemn a contrary position. WHY is it possible to do this with the US Constitution? As President, Lincoln had taken an oath to “protect and defend” the Constitution -?? and that’s what he believed he was doing in 1861 when he respelled Fort Sumter -?? the action that prompted Southern rage. From the Southern view, Lincoln, in fact, was violating the Constitution itself when he did this.

If you understand the “gulf’ in the understanding between the two sides, you will understand the Civil War much better than you have to this point in your life. ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS So something else that comes to mind here with this question is WHY each side would see the Constitution as their “ally/’ in the struggle over slavery -?? let’s take them one at a time: TO NORTHERNERS . Their arguments would revolve around the idea that the Framers had destined slavery to be gone with the “sunset” of the slave trade (1807) -?? check Article l, Section 9, Clause 1 .

And, by the way, northerners did have a problem here because the Constitution does seem to sanction slavery. On the other hand, they may argue that rights guaranteed in the first 10 amendments needed to be roadway applied to all people -?? that becomes a moral question. TO SOUTHERNERS … Their arguments could be drawn from several places in the Constitution. Article l, Section 2, Clause 3 -?? the so-called 3/5 clause -?? seemed to accept slavery as a given because it allowed southern states to count a portion of slaves toward population.

Article IV, Section 2, Clause 3 also could be used -?? that’s the Fugitive Slave Clause. Remember that Fugitive Slave Laws were a huge deal at this time and Southerners argued that northerners had violated the Constitution (and subsequent laws) by not mooring the Fugitive Slave Clause. Again, you have two different “world views” here and each could use the document to their ends during the lead- up to the war. The Constitution is tricky that way. That’s what I have for now! I’m still thinking, however!

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