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Ap History Slavery

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Essay title: Ap History Slavery

The Constitution of the United States was first created in 1787, to create a structure and establish the responsibilities of the American government. The goals of its drafters were to protect the inherent rights of citizens of the United States of America, establish a Government run by the people, and separate the government’s powers between three different branches (Executive, Legislative and Judicial). By accomplishing the goals of the Constitution, its drafters unified the people of the United States and created a bond between the states. However, after decades of constant bickering between the American people regarding the Constitution; the union its creators initially set out to form was completely dismantled. The Constitution of the United States inevitably lead to the secession of the Southern states by implementing laws and compromises that constantly dealt with the issue of slavery, but never actually confronting the controversy until it had become unmanageable.

When Missouri requested to be allowed to enter the Union, it opened up a heated debate whether or not the expansion of slavery would be allowed there. It was all a matter of power. If Missouri came in as a slave state, it would shift balance of power in the South's favor. When the request came to enter the Union, there was an effort to keep an even balance among free and slave holding states; 11 free and 11 slave. This meant that there was an even vote in the Senate. It also meant that there was no state to match Missouri to make the balance even. In 1820, Congress sat down and created the Missouri Compromise. It added Missouri to the Union as a slave state, and Maine a free state. At the same time it drew a line through all the rest of the new territories excluding slavery forever above the Mason Dixon Line. The Missouri Compromise was the beginning of the Constitution’s drastic effect on slavery in the South. It preserved sectional balance for over 30 thirty years and provided time for the nation to mature. Therefore the Missouri Compromise was an immediate solution to maintain unity in our country and still avoid the issue of slavery.

In 1849, Californians submitted a constitution for their state that banned slavery. Even though President Taylor was a slaveholder himself, he supported the immediate admission of both California and New Mexico, as free states. Southern extremists met in Nashville in 1850 to discuss secession. Henry Clay in an attempt to once again keep our country united submitted a proposal that would admit California to the Union as a free state, adopt a Fugitive Slave Law, ban slave trade in Washington D.C., and allow settlers of Utah and New Mexico to decide the slavery issue by popular sovereignty. This Compromise of 1850 again set the issued of slavery aside while keeping the country united.

Although the Compromise of 1850 helped to solve the problem of the time, the new Fugitive Slave Law greatly upset the Northerners. It denied slaves trial by a jury, the right to testify on their own behalf, did not safe guard against false slave accusations, and did not prevent blacks who were legally free from being kidnapped and enslaved. State after state passed Personal Liberty Laws. Any captured person who claimed to be a free black and not a runaway slave was denied the right to trial by jury. Citizens who attempted to hide a runaway or obstruct enforcement of the law were subject to heavy penalties. The South demanded that

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