Conflicts over Slavery


US History The Civil War Conflicts over Slavery
Students learn about the conflicts over slavery in the western territories during the 1800s and how these conflicts were temporarily resolved with the provisions outlined in the Compromise of 1850. Students also learn about the Free Soil Party and why it did not support slavery. Finally, students read about Anthony Burns, who was tried in Boston under the Fugitive Slave Act.

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Overview

In this experience, students learn about the conflicts over slavery in the western territories during the 1800s and how these conflicts were temporarily resolved with the provisions outlined in the Compromise of 1850. Students also learn about the Free Soil Party and why it did not support slavery. Finally, students read about Anthony Burns, who was tried in Boston under the Fugitive Slave Act.

Students begin this experience by recalling what they know about the Missouri Compromise of 1820, covered in the experience The Era of Good Feelings and The Missouri Compromise.

Objectives:

  • Explain why conflict arose over the issue of slavery in western territories.
  • Explain how the Compromise of 1850 tried to resolve the issue of slavery.
  • Identify why the Free Soil Party was founded.


Prior to the Civil War, the issue of slavery divided the country, causing disputes between the North and the South. Over the years, efforts were made to resolve these conflicts. In the early 1800s, when Missouri petitioned the government for statehood as a slave state, a new dispute over slavery arose. To help solve this conflict, the government passed the Missouri Compromise of 1820.​

Objectives:

  • Explain why conflict arose over the issue of slavery in western territories.
  • Explain how the Compromise of 1850 tried to resolve the issue of slavery.
  • Identify why the Free Soil Party was founded.




Map of the Missouri Compromise of 1820


Recall what you know about the Missouri Compromise of 1820.

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Discuss with students some of their responses. Remind students that the Missouri Compromise allowed Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state while allowing Maine to be admitted as a free state. Additionally, slavery was prohibited in the unorganized territory of the Great Plains (indicated by Missouri Territory on the map) and permitted it in the state of Missouri and the Arkansas Territory (indicated by the yellow and light blue on the map). The area north of the 36 parallel within the lands of the Louisiana Purchase outlawed slavery. South of that parallel, no restrictions were put on slavery.


The Missouri Compromise helped to settle disputes over slavery in 1820, but by the late 1840s things began to grow more volatile as new territories were added to the Union.


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