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Mia Maher

Mr. Widenhofer

Honors United States History

16 January 2018

Long Essay Question

In the mid-1840s, many immigrants began to come to the United States. They were

immigrating to the North to work in factories during the Industrial Revolution. The North, who

made iron tools and other supplies, wanted to expand westward to accommodate the immigrants

as well as sell their tools. The South wanted to expand westward as well. They became nervous

that the immigrants in the North would upset their balance in the House. They also wanted to

expand to increase their plantations, therefore expand slavery. Also at this time, many Americans

believed in Manifest Destiny, or the belief that God wanted the United States to be in control of

North America. These reasons contributed to why expansion seemed necessary for both the

North and South. Disagreements over the land lead to many arguments. It was becoming unlikely

that a compromise could be reached. These arguments began to lead to the Civil War because of

Political Power with the Mexican Cession, Division over Slavery with Harper’s Ferry, and Moral

Division with the Election of 1860.

After the Mexican-American War ended, the United States was granted with the Mexican

Cession, which was land in the west. There became question between whether this land should

be free territory or slave territory. The Wilmont Provoso was presented, stating that there would

be no slavery allowed in the new territory. The South, who wanted to expand, did not like this.

The idea was shot down by the Senate. When California applied for statehood as a free state,
Henry Clay proposed the Compromise of 1850. This stated that California could become a free

state, but the other territories would decide based on popular sovereignty when they became a

state. Years later in 1859, division of the country over slavery is seen in the event of Harper’s

Ferry. John Brown, an abolitionist extremist, seized the federal arsenal in hopes to arm slaves

and start a massive slave revolt. When slave-owners and Southerners heard about this, they knew

to look out for other extremists and were prepared for an attack. This can be considered the

beginning of the Confederate Army. Moral Division is seen in the country with the Election of

1860. Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, was running against a divided Democratic Party. South

Carolina, knowing a Republican president would mean slavery would not expand, threatened that

they would secede if Lincoln won the election. Because of how divided the Democratic Party

was, Lincoln won the election. South Carolina seceded shortly after, followed by other southern

and slave states.

The events leading up to the Civil War, specifically California entering the Union as a

free state in the Compromise of 1850, can be compared to the Missouri Compromise. Similar to

how California wanted to enter the Union as a free state, Missouri wanted to become a slave

state. This would, however, throw off the balance of free states to slave states. Henry Clay

proposed the Missouri Compromise, which stated that Missouri would enter as a slave state, and

Maine would enter as a free state. This would keep the balance fair, and Missouri would be the

only slave state above the 36°30’ line. In both the Missouri Compromise and Compromise of

1850, Henry Clay is able to temporarily settle the division equality of free and slave states.