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The United States’ struggle for compromise during the 19th century During the early 19th century

America was able to solve most of its political disputes via means of compromise; however by the year 1860 this was no longer possible. During this time span there were many issues which divided the North and South, these disagreements lead to violent outbreaks, petitions, and rebellions which eventually lead to the American Civil War. It is said that Americans were no longer able to reside their political disputes with compromise because of Sectionalism, Westward Expansion, the Peculiar Institutions, and the Secession of the southern colonies. These events were dividing the colonies in the years predating 1860, making it harder for Americans to make decisions that could satisfy everyone and with the addition of Sectionalism the colonies were ready to separate by 1860. One can justify this by analyzing key events during this time period, looking for examples of the division which disabled America’s previous ability to solve its problems via compromise. One of the key events in this time period which was a major contributor of America’s inability to compromise was Sectionalism. Sectionalism caused the Northern colonies to divide from the south because of their political disagreements. This also caused the American people to become more loyal to their own region’s interests rather than the nations interests as a whole [Doc A and Doc D]. Therefore Sectionalism made the compromise of political issues leading to 1860 very difficult for America because it caused a large portion of the United States to disagree completely with the other. One example can be seen when American Politician’s were trying to decide which of the new western states would be free, or slave states. Even though this was near impossible to compromise; American politicians managed to satisfy both parties with the Missouri Compromise of 1820. However, American politician’s behavior towards during this time was


As these opportunities became available to the American people.characterized as being distracted from the bigger picture. Westward Expansion encouraged many people to move west which opened new land and opportunities. This would be addressed later by Abraham Lincoln in during his speech in Illinois during 1858. Other compromises in the future got even more heated. this group was called the Peculiar Institution. such as the Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska act. Another one key event during this time span which can be used to show the decline of America’s ability to compromise was Westward Expansion. it also abolished slavery in states north of the 36°30' parallel. 2 . With the addition of the North questioning the humanity of slavery. while the South wanted the opposite. the issue of expanding slavery into the new land grew [Doc B]. This violence showed division and the willingness of the South to fight for their rights against the North. A good example of this is the Missouri Compromise where the North did not want slavery to expand into Missouri or Maine. The North decided to compromise by admitting Missouri as a slave state and admitting Maine into the Union as a free state. the demand for slaves to harvest the new land also grew. who wanted compromise [Doc E]. where he calls the other Politian’s cowards [Doc G]. where people in Kansas got so agitated with the Kansas-Nebraska act laws that an event called “Bleeding Kansas” caused a mass eruption of violence to occur. Events like that which did not favor slavery were grouped among other laws and acts. solutions were only temporary. This declined America’s ability to compromise because it created many issues surrounding wither the new states should be free or slave states.

however this would not have worked because slavery would have spread to the tip of South America. The events line up to show a trend that America wasn’t able to compromise because they were too divided. Abraham wanted to preserve the union via means of compromise. which caused the South to start to form militias and eventually succeed from the Union. which was shortly followed by the American Civil war. which was the problem that the government was facing during this time period. however the South wanted to keep their way by whatever means possible [Doc E]. Abraham Lincoln won the election with 39% of the popular vote [Doc H]. and they were being suppressed. and ignored every petition regarding slavery sent to them. 3 . They felt as if their word was not getting out. This can be seen with the Gag rule [Doc C]. This literally divided the Union. Being divided on so many issues causes the American government system to fail.The peculiar institution was what pro-slavery people referred to a group of that they thought were unfair towards them. One can say that this isn’t true because the Northern states could have let the Southern states keep slavery below the Parallel 36°30'. With election of 1860. and were not being treated fairly by the north. This enraged the south because they felt that everyone was picking on them. this enraged the south and was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The final reason which shows America’s declining ability to compromise was successionism. This showed that the Electoral College overruled the popular vote. where congress tabled. This shows that if the government cannot agree on anything then it will be impossible to create a compromise. this is because the system is designed upon the concept of compromise.