Territorial Issues and Compromises

Compromise- that thing that says “I’ll give up something and then you’ll give up something and we will drop the issue because we have come to a mutual agreement that gives you some of what you want and I have some of what I want.” The role that compromise played in delaying the Civil War could almost be described as a nagging woman. Something that keeps telling you that something needs to be done and done right over and over again, but then it doesn’t. Then you stop listening to the woman all together and nothing gets done. This leads to either a divorce or a big fight. That could also describe the beginning of the War itself. Truly, most of the “compromises” weren’t compromises at all because neither side wanted to give up what was most important.

The Missouri Compromise allowed Missouri to join the Union as a slave state even though that didn’t help the cause of the North, so they added Maine as a free state. This compromise wasn’t really a great deal for the South because now slavery wasn’t allowed to spread westward. The Compromise of 1850 said that California could join the Union as a free state. Once again, the Southerners got the bad end of the deal because to keep the balance Utah was going to join as a slave state, but only through popular sovereignty. For the north, they got the slave markets in the US capital banned and the south got a tougher Fugitive Slave Act passed so that people wouldn’t want to help slaves escape due to the larger punishment.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act was made because a transcontinental railroad was going to be built to connect the East to the West. This meant that the area west of Iowa and Missouri had to be settled. The south didn’t like this at all because then those states would join the Union as freed states. So, they broke the Missouri compromise and Stephen A. Douglas said, “Why don’t we let them choose by popular sovereignty?” This was a VERY bad idea and was another compromise that didn’t get anything done that cleaned up the mess and fixed the main issue. In fact, it led to Bleeding Kansas because many northerners and southerners came to influence the vote and that led to many attacks by the actual residents in Kansas.

Finally, two factors in almost every single compromise were slavery and popular sovereignty. Slavery was the free and forced labor of mainly black people in the south United States. It cause many feuds and led to every compromise because the north saw it as wrong and inhumane. The south saw it as a boost in economy, help, and free labor that they had control over. They didn’t care if they were really human or not. Popular sovereignty let settlers of a state, or other areas, make the choice if they wanted slavery in their state or not. This played a part in only some of the compromises and led to the event of bleeding Kansas. Even though I believe that the government should be in the hands of the people I also agree that if something bad or cruel is occurring the government should just nip it in the bud. What should have happened was the government should have banned slavery in the first place and then helped the south rebuild up its economy.

In conclusion, all of the compromises didn’t deal with the problem and that is why the Civil War was prolonged. The government made it seem like the compromises would help so people dropped the issue until it exploded again. Slavery caused many people to lose their lives. Popular sovereignty was used at the very wrong time. The Civil War became inevitable and happened. The north won! It would have happened a lot sooner if the compromises hadn’t happened and I guess that made the compromises somewhat useful for the people that didn’t want to go ahead and get it over with. I really hope that history doesn’t repeat itself in the form of a “Civil” war and that we can resolve things by doing what’s right. We need to stop compromising the values and biblical foundation this country was founded on.





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