The United States, back in the 1840s, began expanding its traditional east coast borders when John O’Sullivan presented the world with Manifest Destiny. Adopting this idea prompted the acquisition of new land, both by peaceful and violent means, and commenced the issue of how to best use their newfoundland.
At the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848, the US received the Mexican cession, which constituted much of the modern day southwestern America. However, this victory celebration was cut short when the US plummeted into an era of intense sectionalism. During this time the northern and southern regions of the US remained primarily different and inevitably ambivalent.
The debate over what to do with the new land acquired from Mexico caused political chaos, heightened animosity between the North and South, and was one of the most important events leading the north into the Civil War. The acquisition of the Mexican cession healed political debates over how to handle slavery momentarily, but when the southwest claimed statehood of both sides of the Missouri borders, it caused an imbalance between slave and free states. The uproar of sectionalism settled down around 1848, but when the United States conquered Mexico territory, their act of procrastination proved to be an issue.
In result to the lack of admittance of their new land, the discovery of gold nuggets in the Sacramento Valley was à shared victory. California was soon populated to the point to become à state, and at that, would be à free state. This infuriated the settlers because the balance between free and slave states would diminish. To help redress the debate, Henry Clay proposed the Compromise of 1850.
Clays offer admitted California as à free state alongside other slave states to remain balanced, called for à stricter Fugitive Slave Act, and ended slave trade in DC. Henry Clay’s solution to the slavery imbalance may have temporarily postponed the Civil War, but as more states appeared to be added to the union, more problems arouse, like the Kansas-Nebraska Act and Bleeding Kansas. In response, Congress showed no mercy, essentially using double the force and incapability to find peace. The caning of Charles Sumner embodies the political tensions that slavery expansion had created. Consequently, starting with the purchase of the land, slavery created à divide within political leaders like none before. After 1848, the Northern and Southern regions became further opposed to each other.
The regions had become so different economically, with the north relying on industrial factories and the south on agriculture, especially after the pre-antebellum era market revolution. The south was underdeveloped and agricultural, which depended on manual labor, therefore, the south suffered an attack from those who opposed slavery. This increased the internal animosity, shown with John Brown’s Raid on Harpers Ferry, where he and his followers caused à mass destruction. Their destruction caused à major turning point because now the south felt as though the northerners only goal was to destroy them, when in reality, the raid was only an act of radicalism. Nevertheless, stemming from the issue of expansion of the institution of slavery, bad blood between the two regions continued to build. Many aspects of slavery issues remained the same, despite the intense changes in both the political and social climate. Slavery had been à problem in America since before the revolutionary war and remained to be one until the end of the Civil War.
During this time of sectionalism, the differences developed between the north and south became even more enduring as neither side wanted to secede to the other. Although it instilled à remarkable amount of change, the divisions slavery created between the north and south remained enriched in the hearts of people for years to come. Even though some aspects of southern and northern life remained unchanged, the overwhelming amount that did change was due to Manifest Destiny. Although the United States was awarded with the Mexican cession, the country still had to deal with the hardest issues in history; slavery. Following the Civil War, the regions issues were found to be persistent throughout reconstruction and beyond. This is much like the civil rights movement in the 1960, while America went through à drastic time and African Americans revealed à great amount of advantages and proved importance in society.
Issues of racism continue to carry on today, especially hand in hand with the issue of police brutality. As slavery goes, the more we try to change things, the more they go back to what it was before.