In 1787 the Constitution was written in Independence Hall. The Constitutional Convention met over a course of four months, with about thirty-five delegates at one time. The Constitution was signed by thirty-nine delegates out of fifty-five on September 17, 1787. The American Constitution set up the boundaries and guidlines for America's new democratic government.
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Allston, MA, United States
John Brown had a scheme to invade the South with his followers armed and assist the slaves to rise against the slave owners and the government. On October 16, 1857, John Brown and his followers set out to Harper's Ferry where he seized the federal arsenal. Brown and his men were captured by U.S. Marines and was put on trial. This violent uproar angered the South and created chaos within the Union.
The Constitution assumed that slavery would die out, but this was not the case. The issue of slavery therefore was not resolved in the Constitution, so it remained a dispute throughout the nation. When the population of the Missouri Territory was admitted into the Union as a state, Congress, against many wishes, admitted it as a Slave State. At the same time, Maine was admitted into the Union as a Free State, creating a balance between North and South. In 1820 a compromise was created; although Missouri was allowed slaves, in 1820 a law was passed that permitted no future bondage north of the 36˚30’ line was permitted (the southern boundary of Missouri). Both North and South gained and lost something in the Missouri Compromise. Neither was completely satisfied with the compromise, reinforcing the bitter feud of slavery.
Virginia and Kentuckey Resolution
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Jefferson City, MO, United States
In opposition to the Alien and Sedition Laws, Jefferson made up secret resolutions which were passed by the Kentucky legislature in 1798. Madison also adapted a similar resolution, which was adapted by the Virginian legislature in the same year. These laws made up the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions. Both arguments believed that the individual states had to power to overrule the federal government. They believed that the states should be the final judge of conviction within their borders and therefore nullification of the Alien and Sedition Acts was a proper resolution. Although Jefferson and Madison were simply trying to preserve unity, they ended up doing the opposite. Southern states later used this argument of nullification for their succession.
The Creation of the Confederate Constitution
In 1861, this symbolized the final seperation of the southern states from the north. This constitution explains basic rights of the states and includes a great amount of John C. Calhoun's opinions and ideas. It was very similar to the original Constitution of the United States, but focused much more of States' individual rights. A convention was held for the writing of this Confederate Constittuion for the seven seceeded states in Montgomery, Alabama.
The Invention of the Cotton Gin
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New Haven, CT 06517, US
In 1793 Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin. This is a machine that seperates the cotton fibers from the seeds. Cotton soon became the biggest crop of the Southern economy, creating a great use for slave labor. The Constitution had assumed that slavery would die out, but the cotton gin actually increased the need for slavery. As slaves became more and more popular, the abolitionist North became increasingly angry. Slavery became the way of life for the South, without it, the economy would crumble. This further divided the North from the South.
The Dred Scott Case
In 1846 two slaves, Dred Scott and his wife Harriet, filed a suit for freedom in the St. Louis Circuit Court. He believed he deserved freedom because he had lived on free soil for 5 years. This case lasted 11 years, and ended up at the US Supreme Court. In 1857 the Supreme Court declared that Dred Scott was a black slave, not a citizen, and therefore could not sue in federal courts. This decision was a symbol for the much larger issue at hand; slavery. It angered the North and created rising tension among the North and South.
The Nullification in South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
The Tariff of 1828 and the new Tariff of 1832 greatly angered South Carolina. For nullification in the South Carolina Legislature, they needed a two-thirds vote which they emerged with in the election of 1832. The delegates met in Columbia to declare the tariff void within their borders. Andrew Jackson arranged army reinforcements to invade South Carolina and kill the nullifiers. Henry Clay of Kentucky wanted to put a stop to this, so he created the compromise Tariff of 1833 which passed in Congress. At the same time, Congress also passed the Force Bill, which allowed the president to use the army in order to collect federal tariffs. Although violence was avoided, the issue still remained.
The Compromise of 1850
NJ & Indep AVS Se
Washington, DC, United States
The Compromise of 1850 was made up of a series of five laws regulating the spread of slavery in the territories received in the Mexican-American War. Firstly, California was admitted at a free state. Texas received compensation for handing over lands to what is now New Mexico. Nevada, Arizona, and Utah were organized without mention of slavery; it would be decided by its population later on. Lastly, the Fugitive Slave Law was passed, requiring all citizens of the nation to return all runaway slaves. This compromise did not settle well with northerners, especially the Fugitive Slave law. This law made the north determined to avoid secession by the south, gave them the strength they needed for triumph.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act
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Washington, DC, United States
When Kansas and Nebraska were admitted into the United States, Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois created a scheme regarding slavery in these territories. Because of the Missouri Compromise of 1820, no land north of the 36˚30’ line was permitted to have slavery. Therefore, since the Nebraska Territory lay north of this line, it should have been admitted as a Free State. Douglas decided to fight this; he wanted people of the Kansas- Nebraska land to decide for themselves whether or not they wanted slavery. His proposition was passed in the Kansas-Nebraska Act on May 30, 1854. This Act repealed the Missouri Compromise and infuriated the North, while it was strongly supported by the South.