Election of 1856




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Presidency Chart: James Buchanan [15th] (1857 - 1861)

Election of 1856:


Issue: Whether Congress should legislate against slavery in the new territories?

Candidates:

1. Democratic Party = James Buchanan (beat Douglas for nomination)



2. Republican Party = John C. Fremont

  • Party Platform = no slavery in new territories

3. Know-Nothing = Fillmore

    • Party Platform = Wants legislation to stop immigrants (Catholics) from entering U.S.

Major Items during Buchanan’s Presidency:




Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857):

Chief Justice = Roger Taney

Facts: 1. Dred Scott is a slave who lived in Ill. (free state) and Minnesota (a free territory) for a time.

  1. His master takes Scott to Missouri (slave state) and then dies.

  2. Scott sues for his freedom in Minnesota.

  3. Scott argues he was free in Ill. and Minnesota.

Court Stated:

  1. All black people are property; therefore they can never be citizens of the U.S. If they aren’t citizens then they aren’t protected under the Constitution.

  2. The Missouri Compromise is unconstitutional. Why? It excluded slavery in U.S. territory. Slaves are property and people were deprived of their property without due process of law violating the 5th Amendment.

    • Therefore, Congress has no constitutional power to exclude slavery in territories (BUT think about what this means for popular sovereignty as well!!!!!!!! Is it constitutional?)

  3. Dred Scott is not a free black person because he was in Missouri (slave state) and he was never granted his freedom. No matter where you live, if you are a slave you remain a slave unless you are set free! Then you are free property.

Why is this case important?

*Upsets Northern Democrats & Republicans!

    • Northern Democrats supported pop. sov. (Douglas) – cause split in Demo.

    • GOP claims they don’t have to obey the Supreme Ct decision! It’s an opinion NOT law.

    • Southern Democrats say if the North refuses to obey the Constitution then they might as well secede (irony)


Lecompton Constitution (1857):

What is it?

  • The territory of Kansas applied for statehood as a slave state.

  • The Lecompton territorial government created a state constitution allowing slavery and had the people of Kansas vote for or against it.

    • Anti-slavery (Lawrence) supporters boycotted the vote b/c they didn’t acknowledge the Lecompton government as legitimate.

    • The Lecompton Constitution was approved by the voters with slavery and sent to Congress for approval.

How did Congress respond to the Lecompton Constitution?

  • Congress debated whether to ratify the pro-slavery Lecompton Constitution:

      • Pres. Buchanan liked it & lobbied for it. (He was Pro-SOUTH & Pro-slavery)

      • Sen. Stephen Douglas hated it & fought against it. (Pro-NORTH)

Douglas’s Compromise of 1857:

  • Make Kansas revote on the constitution.

  • Pro-slavery (Lecompton) Kansas refused to revote.

  • So, Anti-slavery (Lawrence) won.

  • The Lecompton Constitution was CRUSHED.

  • Southern Democrats angry & now HATE at Douglas!


Why is the Lecompton state Constitution so important?

  • Compromise FAILED for the 1st time  South LOST.

  • Kansas is denied statehood until after the South succeeds in 1861. (Kansas finally enters as a free state)

  • Democratic Party splits – Northern Demo. Party & Southern Demo. Party – now united Republicans will win!

  • Nobody (person or party) is left to hold the Union together


Panic of 1857:

-Buchanan is a Democrat, so he lowers the tariffs.

-Not enough $ revenue w/o tariff, so deficit spending begins (defies Democratic policy of hard money spending) 

-Less severe than Panic of 1837 but creeps everybody out, especially North (industry).

-Next time they will vote Republican instead of Democrat. (Need change)

-Leads to Homestead Act of 1860 b/c of Western whining.


Election of 1858:

-Republicans won control of the House.

-Democrats kept control Senate & Presidency. (Big Senate Race in Illinois = Lincoln v. Douglass)

-NOTHING gets passed w/ divided gov’t. VETO each other. 


Lincoln-Douglas Debates (1858):

 - Stephen Douglas (Democrat) v. Abe Lincoln (Republican) for Ill. U.S. Senate seat.

- Douglas is running for reelection.

- Major Issue: Slavery in new territories

- Democrat Douglas is for popular sovereignty (Kansas-Nebraska Act)

- Republican Lincoln is for no slavery at all.

- They have debates over this. Lincoln wins debates BUT loses the Senate seat.

- Important stuff from debates:



  • Lincoln’s famous quote: “A house divided can not stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.”

  • Lincoln tried to force Douglas to choose between the principle of popular sovereignty proposed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the U.S. Supreme Court case of Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), stated that slavery could not legally be excluded from the territories.

  • Instead of making a direct choice, Douglas's response (Freeport Doctrine) stated that despite the court's ruling, slavery could be prevented from any territory by the refusal of the people living in that territory to pass laws favorable to slavery.

    • He was trying to please both slavery & anti-slavery.

  • Freeport Doctrine angers Southern Demo. who want strict support of the Dred case. So, Douglas loses the presidential election in 1860.

 

John Brown’s Raid (Oct. 1859):

  • John Brown was the first white American abolitionist to advocate and practice insurrection (violence) as a means to the abolition of slavery. He gained notoriety in “Bleeding Kansas.”

  • He tried to start a rebellion among enslaved African Americans in Harpers Ferry, Virginia (W.VA today). He (a white Northerner) invaded the South & raided the town and took over the armory. The goal was to liberate slaves throughout the entire south one plantation at a time. It electrified the nation, even though not a single slave answered his call.

  • He was captured by Lt. Colonel Robert E. Lee & tried for treason against the state of Virginia and hanged, but his behavior at the trial seemed heroic to millions of Americans. (martyr)

  • Southerners alleged that his rebellion was the tip of an abolitionist iceberg and represented the wishes of the Republican Party, but those charges were vehemently denied by the Republicans. The South believed their worst fears were finally happening. The North was trying to take away the Southern states’ right to slavery.

  • Historians agree that the Harpers Ferry raid escalated tensions that a year later led to secession and the Civil War.



National Conventions (1860):

  • Democratic party splits in two: North & South

  1. Northern Democratic = Stephen Douglas

    • Platform: pop. sov. in new territories

    • South hate him b/c of ‘ruining’ the Lecompton Constitution w/ compromise & Freeport Doctrine

  1. Southern Democratic = Breckinridge

- Platform = for slavery in new territories, annex Cuba, NO succession

  • Constitutional Union Party = John Bell

- He’s the compromise candidate from the West – vote for me if you don’t want the South to secede.

  • Republicans = Lincoln

- Republican platform:

1. No extension of slavery (Free-Soilers )

2. Protective tariffs (northern industrialists )

3. Immigrants don’t lose rights (Know-Nothings )

4. Pacific RR = northern transcontinental rr (West )

5. Federally funded Internal Improvements (West )

6. Free homesteads (West )



Secession of SC (1860):


  • Threat: South said if Lincoln (GOP) was elected they would secede.

  • Why? Fear Lincoln is an abolitionist & will abolish slavery in the states even though he isn’t & wouldn’t have.

Candidate

Party

Electoral Votes

%

Popular Votes

%

Lincoln

Republican

180

59%

1,866,452

39%

Breckinridge

Democrat

72

24%

849,781

18%

Bell

Union

39

13%

588,879

13%

Douglas

Democrat

12

4%

1,376,957

30%

  • Lincoln wins 1860 Presidential Election!

  • Buchanan is still President- “Lame Duck” period: Nov. 1860 – March 1861

  • Dec. 1860 South Carolina unanimously votes to secede (separate) from the Union.

  • 6 weeks later 6 states follow: MS, FL, AL, GA, LA & TX

  • As southern states declared their secession in the lead-up to the Civil War, Buchanan said that secession was illegal, but that going to war to stop it was also illegal.

  • So, he does nothing to stop the Civil War from happening!!!!!! Here are some other reasons be does nothing:

1. Believed Constitution did not give him authority to stop secession with force.

2. More significantly, northern army was not ready to fight a war.

3. Many of his advisors were Pro-Southern

4. Northern sentiment favored a peaceful settlement rather than war.

5. Lincoln continued Buchanan’s policy when he became president.

6. Use of force would likely have driven border states of MD and KY to secede (would probably have meant the end of the Union).



  • After the 7 Southern states seceded, all federal arsenals and forts in the seceded states were lost as well (except Fort Sumter and two remote ones), and a fourth of all federal soldiers surrendered to Texas troops. The government decided to hold on to Fort Sumter, which was located in Charleston harbor, the most visible spot in the Confederacy.

  • On January 5, 1861, Buchanan sent a civilian steamer Star of the West to carry reinforcements and supplies to Fort Sumter. On January 9, South Carolina state batteries opened fire on the Star of the West, which returned to New York. Paralyzed, Buchanan made no further moves to prepare for war.

Creation of the Confederacy States of America (CSA):

Jefferson Davis, Pres. of the C.S.A.

  • C.S.A. was formed in Montgomery, AL; moved capital to Richmond, VA almost immediately

  • Jefferson Davis was elected president; Alexander Stephens of Georgia (VP)

  • Composed of 11 states total (1861-1865)

  • Confederation form of government: states more powerful than central government

Crittenden Compromise(1861):

 - Last try at compromise between North & South.



    • Lincoln refuses to compromise.

    • Why? Elected on principle of non-extension of slavery & refuses to compromise on this.

- What was the Compromise?

1. A proposal by Sen. Crittenden (KY) to resolve the secession crisis.



2. The proposal had 6 constitutional amendments & 4 resolutions for Congressional bills

  • Above the 36-30 = no slavery

  • Slavery federally protected below 36-30 (even new territories below line)

  • Popular Sovereignty for future states.

3. The HR, Senate & President all rejected this proposal!

- VERY SIMILAR to MISSOURI COMPROMISE but TOO late!  Nothing can stop the war now (except for possibly letting the South leave/secede.








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