.All men are created equal, x but were they treated equally during the pre-civil war period? Since the beginning of the colonization of America, blacks were considered properties and were never given any rights white men had. Even the Founding Fathers decided not to touch the slavery issue, wishing that it will die out eventually. However, after the Constitution officially legalized slavery, this issue became more complex. As a result of the problems of slavery, there was a growing sectionalism between the North (free states) and the South (slave states).
The first example of sectionalism caused by the slavery issue is the Missouri Compromise of 1820. It divided the land acquired in the Louisiana Purchase along the 36 30 line. All territories north of this line forbid slavery except for Missouri. To balance this out, Maine was admitted as a free state. This compromise was an example of a strict sectionalism caused because of the balancing of the numbers of free and slave states.
The Compromise of 1850 also arose sectionalism by stating that California would be admitted as a free state. Of course the Southerners weren t happy with this so Henry Clay proposed several resolutions. All the other territories acquired from Mexico would not have any restrictions on slavery and slavery in the Districts of Colombia was prohibited with the consent of the residents. The resolution also stated that the Congress had no power to interfere with the interstate slave trade. Most importantly, a more effective Fugitive Slave Act was to be adopted. As a result, the Compromise of 1850 was passed and led a further step in separating the free states from the slave states.
Another bill that divided up a territory because of the different stance on the slavery issue was the Kansas-Nebraska Bill of 1854. The Southerners didn t support this bill from the start. As a result, Douglas allowed .popular sovereignty x in the territories of the Louisiana Purchase. This bill also admitted Nebraska as a free state and Kansas as a slave state. The Democratic party and the antislavery Whigs were against this bill because it ignored the Missouri Compromise of 1820. The Constitutionality of the Missouri Compromise was also questioned in the Dred Scott Decision. These issues were all presented because of the different stances the Northerners and the Southerners took in regards to slavery.
In conclusion, the issue of slavery was the major cause of the growing sectionalism in the pre-civil war US. Many bills and compromises were made to satisfy the different opinions of the free and slave states. This caused a gradual increase in sectionalism in the US. As a result, the government was unable to become stable and reliable. The different opinions of slavery have to diminish in order for sectionalism to disappear and stabilize the country.