Writing Assignment and Instructions
***please see attachment for full instructions ***
During the 1850s, the issues of slavery and U.S. colonization of the West converged to produce a decade of increasingly contentious political debates. Those disputes culminated in 1860 with the election of Abraham Lincoln as president and the subsequent secession of seven slaveholding states between December 1860 and March 1861. Using evidence from this week’s assigned readings, write a paper answering the following question:
What was the primary cause of secession?
DO NOT USE ANY OUTSIDE SOURCES, ONLY THE ASSIGNED READING. SEE ATTACHMENT FOR ASSIGNED READING . ALSO FEEL FREE TO UTILIZE THE COURSE BOOK/TEXT: The Civil War and Reconstruction: A Documentary Collection. Edited by William E. Gienapp. W.W. Norton & Company. 2001. ISBN: 978-0-393-97555-0
Overview and Submitting
Your paper should be about 3 pages in length and include an introduction with a thesis statement and a conclusion.
Papers should be typed, double-spaced with 1” margins. Use Times New Roman 12 point font (or equivalent). Include a title, your name, my name, and the class number.
Make a clear argument, beginning with a thesis statement in the first paragraph of the paper. Underline your thesis statement.
Each body paragraph should present a coherent idea that develops your argument. Paragraphs should begin with topic sentences that clearly establish the main idea of the paragraph.
Use evidence from at least three of the assigned primary sources. No outside research is necessary.
Write in the past tense: “Edmund Ruffin argued…”; not “Edmund Ruffin argues…”
Use Chicago style citations (see, The Chicago Manual of Style Online: Notes and Bibliography: Sample Citations)
Use footnotes. Footnotes go after the period at the end of a sentence. For example. For subsequent citations to the same book, use a shorter form. Like this. Or, this. Footnotes should be single-spaced and use 10-point font. Papers without citations or with grossly inaccurate footnotes will receive an automatic deduction of 5 points. (For help, see Microsoft Office Support: Insert Footnotes and Endnotes)
 Robert Toombs, “The South Must Strike while There is Yet Time (1860),” in William E. Gienapp, ed., The Civil War and Reconstruction: A Documentary Collection (New York: Norton, 2001), 57.
 Toombs, “The South Must Strike,” 58.
Writing Assignment and Instructions ***please see attachment for full instructions *** During the 1850s, the issues of slavery and U.S. colonization of the West converged to produce a decade of inc
Writing Assignment and Instructions LO4 During the 1850s, the issues of slavery and U.S. colonization of the West converged to produce a decade of increasingly contentious political debates. Those disputes culminated in 1860 with the election of Abraham Lincoln as president and the subsequent secession of seven slaveholding states between December 1860 and March 1861. Using evidence from this week’s assigned readings, write a paper answering the following question: What was the primary cause of secession? DO NOT USE ANY OUTSIDE SOURCES ONLY THE ASSIGNED READING. SEE ATTACHMENT FOR ASSIGNED READING . ALSO FEEL FREE TO UTILIZE THE COURSE BOOK/TEXT: The Civil War and Reconstruction: A Documentary Collection. Edited by William E. Gienapp. W.W. Norton & Company. 2001. ISBN: 978-0-393-97555-0 Overview and Submitting Your paper should be about 3 pages in length and include an introduction with a thesis statement and a conclusion. Papers should be typed, double-spaced with 1” margins. Use Times New Roman 12 point font (or equivalent). Include a title, your name, my name, and the class number. Make a clear argument, beginning with a thesis statement in the first paragraph of the paper. Underline your thesis statement. Each body paragraph should present a coherent idea that develops your argument. Paragraphs should begin with topic sentences that clearly establish the main idea of the paragraph. Use evidence from at least three of the assigned primary sources. No outside research is necessary. Write in the past tense: “Edmund Ruffin argued…”; not “Edmund Ruffin argues…” Use Chicago style citations (see, The Chicago Manual of Style Online: Notes and Bibliography: Sample Citations) Use footnotes. Footnotes go after the period at the end of a sentence. For example. For subsequent citations to the same book, use a shorter form. Like this. Or, this. Footnotes should be single-spaced and use 10-point font. Papers without citations or with grossly inaccurate footnotes will receive an automatic deduction of 5 points. (For help, see Microsoft Office Support: Insert Footnotes and Endnotes) Footnote Examples  Robert Toombs, “The South Must Strike while There is Yet Time (1860),” in William E. Gienapp, ed., The Civil War and Reconstruction: A Documentary Collection (New York: Norton, 2001), 57.  Toombs, “The South Must Strike,” 58.  Alexander Stephens, “Slavery Is the Cornerstone of the Confederacy (1861),” in Gienapp, ed., The Civil War & Reconstruction, 72. LO4 Modules Lesson 4 -Overview- In this lesson, we will examine the tumultuous decade of the 1850s and conclude with the election of 1860 and the secession of seven southern states in the winter of 1860-1861. As you work through this lesson and the readings, keep in mind how the issues of empire and slavery converged during these years and how they led to Civil War. Lesson Objectives Explain the immediate causes of secession and their relation to longstanding issues in the U.S. Summarize and assess the arguments for and against secession Identify who supported secession and why Readings Gienapp, Civil War & Reconstruction, 33-62, 71-74. (Textbook) LO4-Resistance in the North The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 initiated a new era of antislavery resistance in the North. This law strengthened the fugitive slave clause in the Constitution and the Fugitive Slave Law of 1793 in substantial ways. First, it created U.S. commissioners to issue warrants for the arrest of fugitive slaves. Second, it allowed those commissioners to deputize citizens to aid them. Refusal resulted in a fine. Third, it established a sworn statement from the alleged owner as being the only evidence necessary to force someone to return to slavery and forbade the accused from testifying. Finally, the commissioner would receive $5 if he released a fugitive but $10 if he ruled in favor of the owner. Antislavery northerners found the law troubling and offensive. They argued that higher fees received for convicting an alleged fugitive amounted to a bribe in favor of the slaveowner. The clause allowing for the deputization of citizens was disturbing because it meant that anyone could be forced to work as a slave catcher. Immediately, southerners attempted to take advantage of the new law. Bounty hunters appeared across the Midwest and Northeast. In 1850 and 1851 alone, they kidnapped no fewer than 81 African Americans and took them south. Many of the arrested insisted that they had been freed or had never been enslaved. With the burden of proof so low, they had little recourse. As a result, antislavery northerners began mounting a formidable resistance to the new law. In several northern cities, people banded together to hide and protect alleged fugitives. Some offered legal assistance. Others raised money to buy the freedom of those who had been whisked away into slavery. Some states posed political and legal challenges to the law. Vermont’s legislature passed an act declaring the Fugitive Slave Law invalid within the state’s borders. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional. Frederick Douglas in 1855. The law also prompted a split in the abolitionist movement. William Lloyd Garrison and his allies had always insisted on nonviolence. A growing number of abolitionists insisted that the new law was such a threat that they had to rethink their tactics. They could not rely merely on words and pleas to convince slavecatchers not to invade their communities. Frederick Douglass became one of the most ardent advocates of militant resistance against the law and its enforcers. In an 1852 speech, he argued that, because the legal system offered no protection for African Americans, they had to resort to other means to defend their rights as humans. He declared, “The only way to make the Fugitive Slave Law a dead letter is to make half a dozen or more dead kidnappers.”1 Examples of Forcible Resistance to the Fugitive Slave Law In many places, abolitionists did use force to defend fugitive slaves and members of their communities. In 1851, a Maryland slaveowner attempted to capture three men he said were fugitive slaves living on the farm of a free black man in Christiana, Pennsylvania. He was met by a group of 50 to 100 men, mostly African Americans, who refused to let him take the three men. At some point, gunshots were fired, and the Maryland slaveowner was killed. Subsequently, a grand jury indicted thirty-eight members of the group, but only one of them went to trial. He was acquitted, and all the others had their charges dropped. In general, northern juries refused to convict violators of the law. Title Page of Boston Slave Riot and the Trial of Anthony Burns (1855) The most famous example of resistance to the Fugitive Slave Law is probably the case of Anthony Burns, a fugitive slave from Virginia. Burns had escaped from slavery in 1853, and the next year, he was arrested in Boston. An antislavery crowd gathered outside the courthouse and demanded his release. They attempted to free him, and a U.S. marshal was killed. The U.S. government sent in federal troops to ensure that Burns would be returned to Virginia. In 1855, northerners succeeded in buying Burns’s freedom. However, they had to go through intermediaries, because Burns’s owner refused to sell him to abolitionists. These are but two examples of forcible resistance to the Fugitive Slave Law. Across the north, the law rallied support for the abolitionist movement and convinced many people to organize against what they saw as an aggressive proslavery South. Meanwhile, white southerners viewed resistance to the Fugitive Slave Law as more evidence of a growing threat to the institution of slavery, and they demanded that the federal government enforce the law, which it did – in large part, because the government was controlled by southerners and their allies. 1Frederick Douglass, “The Fugitive Slave Law,” 11 August 1852, in Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings, ed. Philip S. Foner (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 1999), 207. Lesson 4- Popular Sovereignty and Party Recognition- While northerners struggled against the Fugitive Slave Law, developments in Congress reopened the fight over the future of slavery in the West. In 1854, Senator Stephen A. Douglas, the architect of the Compromise of 1850, proposed creating two new territories, Kansas and Nebraska, from the lands of the Louisiana Purchase. Sitting north of the Missouri Compromise line, slavery would be prohibited in the new territories under existing law. However, Douglas, a Democrat, knew that the southern members of his party would not support the new territories if slavery was outlawed there. Indeed, they had killed a similar bill the previous year. Douglas would have to come up with a solution. Douglas latched onto the idea of “popular sovereignty” as the answer. In abstract terms, “popular sovereignty” was a well-established idea in U.S. politics. Its literal meaning is rule by the people, a notion that most Americans would have found desirable. But, in the context of the 1850s, it was most often used to refer to the idea that people in western territories should be able to decide for themselves whether or not they would permit slavery. “Popular sovereignty” in Kansas and Nebraska threatened to repeal the Missouri Compromise, and it reopened an issue that most politicians had considered closed for more than three decades. Fiery debates raged in the Senate and especially the House of Representatives. At one point, congressmen drew weapons and threatened bloodshed. In the end, the bill passed the Senate easily and cleared the House by a narrow vote. The debates over the Kansas-Nebraska Act and its passage in May 1854 signaled the beginning of a new era of politics. Since the 1830s, two national parties – Whigs and Democrats – had dominated U.S. politics. By the early 1850s, the Whig Party was losing substantial support across the country. In the North, more and more voters demanded an antislavery agenda and supported third parties devoted to opposing the expansion of slavery. In the South, voters embraced the radical proslavery platform of the Democrats. In 1852, the Whig Party’s presidential candidate had won only four of thirty-one states. By the midterms of 1854, the party was in disarray. Still, the 1854 elections were a disaster for northern Democrats. Ninety-one free state Democratic incumbents ran for reelection. Sixty-six of them lost. Only seven representatives who had voted for the Kansas-Nebraska Act won reelection. In some places, Whigs won seats. But, two other parties also gained support. One was the Know-Nothing Party – formally known as the American Party – which was committed to opposing immigration, more than limiting slavery. The other was the Republican Party, which unified around preventing the expansion of slavery into the West. Between the midterms of 1854 and the presidential election of 1856, the Republicans consolidated support from antislavery northerners, including former Whigs and some northern Democrats. The 1856 presidential election was a three-way race between Democrat James Buchanan, Republican John C. Frémont, and Know-Nothing Millard Fillmore. Frémont garnered 1.3 million votes (33% of the popular vote) and carried eleven states. Such a showing was not enough to keep Democrat James Buchanan out of the White House, but it demonstrated the growing popularity of a dedicated antislavery party. Lesson 4- The Republican Party- The Democrats, Know-Nothings, and Whigs had all been national parties with membership and support in the North and in the South. In contrast, the Republican Party was a regional party. Because of its commitment to preventing the spread of slavery into the West, it was popular in large parts of the North, but it hardly existed in the South. The Kansas-Nebraska Act – and especially its repeal of the Missouri Compromise line – provided the issue around which the Republican Party coalesced, but the Republicans had a complex platform. Republicans advocated “free labor.” Free labor stood in obvious contrast with slave labor, but it also meant “labor with economic choices.”2 It promised that wage laborers would be able to work their way out of the wage-earning classes. Republicans insisted that work contained an inherent dignity and virtue that slave labor sullied. By associating work with an enslaved underclass, Republicans argued, southerners diminished the value of all labor. Republicans also promoted “free soil” – that is, a West free of slavery. “Free soil” had two goals. First, it would prevent the expansion of slavery and, thus, hopefully to its demise. Second, it would help free laborers, who could move West, establish farms, and escape the growing inequality in northern cities. Picking up an idea from a Democratic Tennessee tailor-turned-senator named Andrew Johnson, Republicans supported a homestead act, which would distribute cheap federal land in the West to free, white farmers. Republicans believed that a free society created equality of opportunity and that those who failed to succeed did so because of individual failings. Abraham Lincoln – the one-term Whig congressman and Illinois lawyer – laid out this view in an 1859 speech. He described free labor as the “just and generous, and prosperous system, which opens the way for all.” According to Lincoln, workers begin penniless, but through labor, prudence, and thrift, they acquire wealth and resources to hire employees. Those who failed to thrive had no one to blame but themselves. “If any continue through life in the condition of the hired laborer,” he said, “it is not the fault of the system, but because of either a dependent nature which prefers it, or improvidence, folly, or singular misfortune.”3 In short, “free labor” created opportunity, not success. As a result, the Republicans championed policies like a homestead act, which would provide land to free farmers. But it had little response to crises like the Panic of 1857 when the national economy entered a recession; banks, railroads, and other corporations went bankrupt; and the ranks of the urban poor swelled. From the perspective of the middle-class people who dominated the Republican Party, laborers suffering through the recession needed to tighten their belts and work harder at finding employment. 2Eric Foner, Free Labor, Free Soil, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War (1970; paperback, New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 16.3“Annual Address by Hon. Abra[ha]m Lincoln, of Illinois,” 30 September 1859, in Transactions of the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, vol. 5 (Madison: Carpenter & Hyer, 1860), 296. Lesson 4- Bleeding Kansas- While Republicans built an increasingly powerful political party, the fate of Kansas and Nebraska remained undecided. The program of “popular sovereignty” established that people in the territories would decide whether or not they would allow slavery, but it did not determine when or how that decision would be made. Additionally, at the time the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed, eastern Kansas and Nebraska was part of Indian Territory. It was home to thousands of Native Americans, who had been deported from their eastern homelands during the 1830s and 1840s. Not a single acre of land was legally available for sale under the condition of the many treaties the U.S. had signed with those nations. Map of Nebraska and Kansas Territories showing the location of Indian reserves, according to the treaties of 1854.6 Even so, the creation of Kansas Territory spurred an invasion of Indian Country by white settlers. Under federal law, the U.S. Army was supposed to expel squatters who crossed onto Indian land. However, in a story that repeated again and again in Kansas and Nebraska, the Army refused to take action against white settlers who broke the law. When the president did finally issue orders, he told the soldiers in Kansas to post notices and hold public forums before taking action. Delay only aided the squatters. In short, the U.S. government decided on a course of inaction when it came to upholding treaties and defending Indian land rights. A State Divided The federal government paid more attention to the brewing war between proslavery and antislavery forces in Kansas. In 1854, to help turn the state against slavery, antislavery groups in several northern states recruited emigrants to move to Kansas. Their arrival angered proslavery Missourians, who also moved west. All parties arrived armed and prepared to fight over the slavery question. By 1855, contested elections had produced two competing territorial governments, each seeking recognition from Congress. Proslavery forces gathered at Lecompton, located on what had recently been Wyandot Indian lands. Antislavery settlers congregated at Topeka, where they displaced Potawatomi Indians. Periodic violence between proslavery Missourians and antislavery northerners scarred eastern Kansas. Looting and intimidation were common, but the two sides murdered each other as well. Between 1855 and 1858, approximately 52 people were killed in the fighting and another 200 suffered injuries. The most famous attack came in May 1856, when several hundred Missouri “Border Ruffians” ransacked Lawrence, Kansas, an antislavery town. They destroyed two newspaper offices, destroyed the Free State Hotel, and looted the town. Only one person died – a Missourian killed when part of the hotel fell on his head. Three nights later, a group of antislavery settlers led by abolitionist John Brown rounded up five proslavery men and murdered them with broadswords near Pottawatomie Creek. The attack on Lawrence and the retaliatory murders by Brown and his group sparked a summer of violence, in which 29 people were killed. The Caning of a Senator On the floor of Congress, politicians from the North and the South cheered the invasion of Kansas but lamented the violence between proslavery Missourians and antislavery northerners. In a lengthy speech delivered over two days before the raid on Lawrence, Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner, a vocal abolitionist, celebrated that Kansas – with its rich soil, prime location for transcontinental travel, and “healthgiving climate, calculated to nurture a powerful and generous people” – had been taken from “the savage who ran wild in its woods and prairies.” (Like so many cheerleaders for empire, Sumner’s descriptions of the Indians of Kansas were based on his imagination and his prejudices more than on the lives or practices of Native peoples.) Yet, Sumner condemned the proslavery settlers, who would force the territory into “the hateful embrace of Slavery.”4 What Sumner termed “the crime against Kansas” was not the dispossession of Native peoples but, instead, the attempts by southerners to expand slavery into that area. However, Sumner’s speech is more famous for another reason. In it, he attacked and insulted South Carolina Senator Andrew Butler, including mocking a speech impediment that caused the elderly Butler to drool. On May 22, 1856 – the day after the attack on Lawrence – Butler’s relative, U.S. Representative Preston S. Brooks, confronted Sumner over the insults the abolitionist had delivered in his speech. Then, Brooks began to strike Sumner with a cane, and soon beat the senator to a pulp. Sumner was so badly injured that he did not return to the Senate for two and a half years. Charles Sumner’s caning became a national sensation. Northerners condemned Brooks’s violence and brutality and declared Sumner a martyr for the cause of abolition. Brooks resigned his House seat, but South Carolinians reelected him. Across the South, people praised Brooks, and they sent him canes as gifts, some inscribed with statements like, “Hit him again!” Writing of the attack, the Richmond Enquirer declared, “We consider the act good in conception, better in execution, and best of all in consequences. These vulgar abolitionists in the Senate … will soon learn to behave themselves like decent dogs – they never can be gentlemen.”5 Other southern newspapers made recommendations for other northern politicians who should be assaulted. White Americans- North and South- agreed that colonization of the West was a good thing. They only disagreed in what form of society Americans should introduce once they had dispossessed Native peoples. During the late spring and summer of 1856, northerners and southerners demonstrated that they were willing to shed blood to further their cause. 4Charles Sumner, “The Crime Against Kansas,” 19-20 May 1856. Available at http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=3&psid=3915. 5Quoted in David Grimstead, American Mobbing, 1828-1861: Toward Civil War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), 100.6Eastman’s map of Nebraska and Kansas Territories. Eastman, Seth. 1854. (Source: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University) Less one 4 Dred Scott- The conflict over slavery escalated further in 1857 when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in the case Dred Scott v. Sandford. Dred Scott had been enslaved by a man named John Emerson, an army officer who, in the 1830s, took Scott from his home in Missouri to military posts in Illinois and present-day Minnesota – free territory. Starting in 1846, Scott filed a series of lawsuits against Emerson’s widow and his current owner, John Sanford. (Although John Sanford’s name was spelled with only one “d,” a clerical error led to the misspelling, never corrected, in the title of the lawsuit.) In 1857, Scott’s suit reached the Supreme Court. There were three principal questions before the court. First, as an African American man, was Scott a citizen with a right to sue in federal court? Second, had prolonged residence in free territory made Scott free? Third, were the places Scott lived actually free territory – i.e., could Congress legally prohibit slavery in parts of the U.S.? Chief Justice Roger B. Taney During the 1850s, a southern majority controlled the Supreme Court. The chief justice was eighty-year-old Roger B. Taney of Maryland. Earlier in his life, Taney had freed his own slaves, but in the ensuing years, Taney had grown bitter and resentful about the growing antislavery movement in the North. He penned the majority opinion in the Dred Scott case. Taney declared that Scott was not a citizen and had no legal standing to sue. Indeed, Taney declared, African Americans “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”7Additionally, Taney wrote that temporary residence in a state without slavery did not grant freedom to an enslaved person. Moreover, he continued, Congress had no power to limit slavery. The Constitution had enshrined a right to property, including the ownership of enslaved people, and Congress could not limit that power geographically. In effect, the Dred Scott decision overturned the Missouri Compromise and rendered the idea of “popular sovereignty” null and void. Under the court’s ruling, slavery could expand anywhere in the United States. 7Roger B. Taney, “Opinion of the Court in Dred Scott, Plaintiff in Error v. John F. A. Sandford,” in Dred Scott v. Sandford: A Brief History with Documents, ed. Paul Finkelman (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1997) 61 Lesson 4 -The Slave Power- Taney’s opinion in the Dred Scott decision provided fuel for the Republican Party. They condemned southern slaveholders and their representatives in the federal government as the “Slave Power” – a conspiratorial cabal of southerners and their northern allies who had taken control of the government and perverted the Constitution for their own benefit. Since the founding of the Republican Party, its members had warned about the Slave Power, but after Dred Scott, their declarations became more convincing. In 1858, Abraham Lincoln, then an Illinois candidate for the U.S. Senate, made this argument to the Illinois state convention of the Republican Party. Lincoln had stepped away from politics after one term in the U.S. House of Representatives, but the Kansas-Nebraska Act prompted the lawyer to run against the bill’s author, Stephen A. Douglas, when he came up for reelection in 1858. As he addressed the convention, Lincoln recounted the developments of the previous years that had led to the strengthening of federal protections for slavery, especially the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Dred Scottdecision. He explained, “We cannot absolutely know that all these exact adaptations are the result of preconcert.” But, he said, imagine you found a bunch of boards, all laid out at different times and cut by different workers. Then, you notice that they all fit together. They “exactly make the frame of a house or a mill … all the lengths and proportions of the different pieces exactly adapted to their respective places.” At that point, you would have to conclude that the workers had followed “a common plan.”8And, so it was with the Slave Power. They had conspired to undo more than half a century of limits on the expansion of slavery. Lincoln lost his attempt to unseat Douglas, but by the end of the campaign, he had established himself as a powerful critic of the Slave Power and a rising star in the growing Republican Party. 8Abraham Lincoln, “House Divided Speech,” 16 June 1858. Available at https://www.nps.gov/liho/learn/historyculture/housedivided.htm. Lesson 4 – Harper’s Ferry After the militant resistance to the Fugitive Slave Law and the violence in Kansas, a small cohort of abolitionists came to believe that revolution was the only way slavery could be destroyed. In October 1859, a group of just over twenty abolitionists raided Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, the site of a federal armory. Headed by John Brown, who had helped murder the proslavery settlers on Pottawatomie Creek in Kansas, the group planned to seize arms to ignite a slave revolt. Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry quickly failed. Enslaved Virginians did not flock to Harper’s Ferry to join the rebellion, as Brown had hoped. Instead, white Virginians surrounded Brown and his men. Then, U.S. Marines commanded by Col. Robert E. Lee arrived. The day after the raid began, Lee’s soldiers stormed the building where Brown’s group took shelter. Several of Brown’s supporters were killed; Brown was badly injured. John Brown’s Trial In the six weeks that followed, Brown was imprisoned, tried, and executed. As an effort to spark armed rebellion, Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry was a disaster. Yet, Brown became a hero to many antislavery northerners. During his trial and in his weeks in prison, Brown received many visitors, including a number of newspapers reporter. Brown spoke eloquently about his cause and his motivations. On one occasion, he declared, “I claim to be here in carrying out a measure I believe perfectly justifiable … to aid those suffering under a great wrong.”9 Another day, he stated, “I pity the poor in bondage, that have none to help them; that is why I am here.”10 Reprinted in newspapers and abolitionist publications, Brown’s statements portrayed him as a martyr for the cause of abolition, a man willing to give up his own life to help the enslaved millions of the South. When he was hanged on December 2, 1859, Brown was mourned across the North. Ministers and preachers gave sermons commemorating his sacrifice. Church bells tolled in mourning. Other northerners publicly condemned Brown. Some thought him insane. Others believed he was well-intentioned but misguided. Republicans used his attack on Harper’s Ferry as a rhetorical tool. Abraham Lincoln, for example, held up Brown as an example of what would happen if peaceful steps toward limiting the expansion of slavery failed. He was not a model to follow but a warning of what might happen again if slavery continued to grow unabated. Many southerners also saw Brown as a warning. Yet, to them, he was little more than a terrorist and the logical outgrowth of the antislavery movement. He was not the product of white southern commitment to slavery at all costs, as Lincoln suggested. Instead, they argued, he was a symbol of a North intent on subjugating and destroying the slaveholding South. Southerners took northern celebrations of Brown as evidence of their ill-intentions toward the South and slavery, and a growing number of them believed they could no longer remain in the Union if they wanted to preserve slavery. 9 James Redpath, The Public Life of Captain John Brown (London: Thickbroom & Stapelton, 1860), 203.10 Quoted in The Anti-Slavery History of the John-Brown Year; Being the Twenty-Seventh Annual Report of the American Anti-Slavery Society (New York: American Anti-Slavery Society, 1861), 94. Lesson 4- the Election of 1860- By April 1860, when the Democratic Party convened in South Carolina to choose a presidential candidate, southern Democrats believed that the South faced a growing threat from northern abolitionists. It did not matter that they and their allies had succeeded in striking down restrictions on slavery, first, in Congress and, then, in the Supreme Court. They felt embattled and in danger, and John Brown’s raid added to that sentiment. As a result, southern delegates to the Democratic convention demanded that the party support a federal law to guarantee the right to own slaves in the territories. The ultimatum split the party. In the end, southern Democrats adopted a strong proslavery platform and nominated John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky for president. Northern Democrats refused to back this agenda and nominated Stephen Douglas as their candidate. Some southern politicians expected that Breckinridge’s campaign would fail. But, they didn’t care. One South Carolina newspaper proclaimed, “We do not care a fig about the Convention or election of another president, as we are convinced that the safety of the South lies only outside the present Union.”11 In short, a growing number of radical southerners believed that they would have to leave the United States if they hoped to protect slavery. In contrast to the radical platform of the southern Democrats, the Republicans attempted to set a moderate tone. They remained committed to preventing the expansion of slavery into the West, but they reaffirmed the right of southerners to own slaves, and they condemned John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry. They also promoted a range of issues that did not touch directly on the issue of slavery. They supported a homestead act, the construction of a transcontinental railroad, citizenship for immigrants, and investment in infrastructure. Joining Breckinridge, Douglas, and Lincoln, a fourth candidate – John Bell of Tennessee, representing the Constitutional Union Party – entered the race. The Constitutional Union Party attempted to bridge the growing divide. A crude nonpartisan satire, parodying all four candidates in the 1860 presidential election12 Lincoln and the Republican Party cruised to victory in the North. Lincoln received 54% of the popular vote in the free states. However, Lincoln and the Republicans weren’t even on the ballot in ten southern states. In Lincoln’s birth state of Kentucky, he received less than 1% of the vote. As a result, he only received about 40% of all votes cast in the election. Yet, the free states carried Lincoln into the White House. He won every free state except New Jersey, which he split with Douglas, and received 180 electoral votes. Stephen Douglas came in second in the popular vote but last in the electoral college, winning only Missouri and a few electors from New Jersey. John Bell’s message of unity carried the three Upper South states: Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. Breckinridge won the Deep South along with Maryland and Delaware. The results of the election of 1860 highlighted the stark divide between the proslavery politics of the Deep South, the antislavery politics of the North, and the desire for unity along the border between the two regions. 11 Quoted in Charles Joyner, “‘Guilty of the Holiest Crime’: The Passion of John Brown,” in His Soul Goes Marching On: Responses to John Brown and the Harpers Ferry Raid, ed. Paul Finkelman (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1995), 314.12 Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington [Cincinnati? : s.n.], 1860. Lesson 4- Apostles of Disunion- During the campaign of 1860, Lincoln wrote, “The people of the South have too much of good sense and good temper than to attempt the ruin of the government.”12 Like many northerners, he believed that southern threats of disunion were bluster, a bullying tactic intended to scare and intimidate the North. Yet, even before Lincoln was inaugurated as president in March 1861, the Deep South proved him wrong. Between December 1860 and February 1861, seven states declared their independence from the United States – South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. Justifying Secession The secession convention of South Carolina, the first state to secede, issued a lengthy explanation of its actions, Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union. First, the South Carolinians stated that their state had won its independence during the American Revolution and that it had not surrendered its sovereignty when it ratified the U.S. Constitution in 1788. They argued that the state had a right to leave the U.S. because it was only a compact of states, not a singular nation. Second, Declaration of the Immediate Causes included a litany of protections for slavery included in the U.S. Constitution and in U.S. law. “For many years,” the document read, “these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the Institution of Slavery has led to a disregard of their obligations.” According to the secessionists, the “non-slaveholding states” and the abolitionist movement had violated the Constitution and U.S. law by taking action to end or even limit slavery. Finally, the South Carolinians declared, “A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery.” In short, South Carolina believed that the federal government had become its “enemy,” because the Republican administration led by Lincoln threatened slavery.13 As you prepare for this lesson’s writing assignment, you should be able to answer the following question: What arguments did South Carolinians and other southerners use to justify secession? South Carolina and other six states tried to convince the eight states of the Upper South – Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware – to join them, but the voters and politicians of those states were reluctant to leave the United States. Indeed, even in the Deep South, many people rejected secession. About 45% of voters in Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana opposed disunion. Only three of the Upper South states called a convention to consider the question of secession, and all three decided in favor of the Union. White upper southerners were reluctant to join the Union, in no small part, because they believed slavery was more secure within the United States than outside of it. The Fugitive Slave Law promised to return enslaved people who fled northward. That would no longer be the case if they crossed an international boundary. John Brown’s raid had been scary, but it had been defeated – thanks to the U.S. military – and he had been executed. Additionally, the Dred Scott decision had made slavery legal in all the territories of the Union. A Republican in the White House didn’t change those facts. The North’s Response Northerners insisted that secession was illegal, and many there and in the Upper South attempted to assure the Deep South that the Republican administration posed no threat to slavery. In his December 1860 message to Congress, Pennsylvania Democrat and lame-duck president James Buchanan asserted that it was foolish to think that secession was legal under the Constitution. “Its framers,” he stated, “never intended to implant in its bosom the seeds of its own destruction, nor were they at its creation guilty of the absurdity of providing for its own dissolution.”14 Lincoln agreed with Buchanan that secession was illegal. Indeed, he never acknowledged the legitimacy of secession or the legality of the new nation they created, the Confederate States of America. In the years that followed, Lincoln insisted that the states of the Confederacy had never left the U.S. Instead, he argued that insurrectionists within those states had launched a rebellion against the United States. That fact, however, did not change the status of the states as legal entities. According to Lincoln, the southern states remained part of a perpetual union. Meanwhile, Upper South politicians led by Kentucky’s John J. Crittenden proposed new laws they hoped would reassure southerners, including an “unamendable” constitutional amendment that extended the Missouri Compromise line to the Pacific Ocean, securing slavery south of the line in perpetuity. However, the expansion of slavery was one issue Lincoln and the Republicans in Congress considered non-negotiable. No compromise would defuse the crisis. 13 Abraham Lincoln to John B. Fry, 15 August 1860, in Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, ed. John G. Nicolay and John Hay, vol. 1 (New York: The Century, 1894), 648.14 Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union, 24 December 1860. Available at http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_scarsec.asp. Lesson 4-Summary- During the 1850s, the conflict over slavery intensified and threatened to tear apart the United States. Many white southerners, especially in the Deep South, feared the growing abolitionist movement and the popularity of the new Republican Party, and they took action to strengthen slavery in the U.S. They believed that their society and economy depended upon slavery for its survival. In response, antislavery northerners condemned the corrupt “Slave Power” that intended to spread slavery throughout the nation. Driven by a moral opposition to slavery born out of the Second Great Awakening, many of them refused to compromise on the issue. To them, slavery was a crime that needed to be eradicated as soon as possible. As a result, by the time of Lincoln’s inauguration in March 1861, seven states declared that they had left the United States and formed an independent nation, the Confederate States of America. Eight other slave states had either rejected or refused to consider the question of secession, but the problem of disunion was far from settled. As he took office, Lincoln recognized that his actions might push other states to join the Confederacy. At the same time, since no blood had been shed, he hoped that he might succeed in convincing southerners to relent and give up their ambitions of a new nation centered on the preservation and protection of slavery.