The Election of 1860

1860photo_uscapitol_washingtoncanalvisiblie
The United States Capitol in 1860. Courtesy: Library of Congress

Every presidential election is consequential, but the Election of 1860 would play a significant role in whether the United States would remain one nation. The division of the North and South on the issue of slavery threatened to cause a secession of the South. The result of the election would determine whether that threat would materialize and cause a Second American Revolution. Read more

The Evolving Political Parties of the 1850s

panoramic-view-of-washington-city-e-sachse-and-co-1856
Panoramic View of Washington, DC in 1856. Courtesy: E. Sachse & Co.

The Democratic Party and Whig Party were the dominant political parties from the early 1830s up until the mid-1850s. Both were institutions in national politics despite not having a coherent national organization by cobbling together a diverse group of states to win elections. While the Democrats had a more populist agenda, the Whigs were more focused on pursuing industrialization and development of the country. See David Potter, The Impending Crisis: America Before the Civil War, 1848-1861, 226. While the Democratic Party would survive to the present day, the Whig Party would not survive the mid-1850s, not as a result of its own ineptness but because of the changing political landscape of that era. Read more

Bleeding Kansas

6615782369_473115a671_o
Tallgrass Prairie, Kansas.

After the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, William Seward proclaimed to the Senate that “[w]e will engage in competition for the virgin soil of Kansas, and God give the victory to the side which is stronger in numbers as it is in right.” Congressional Globe, 33 Cong., 1 sess., appendix, 769. Rather than settling the issue of slavery in Kansas, the Act made Kansas the figurative and literal battleground for the issue of slavery.

Read more

The Role of Slavery in Splitting America

underground_railroad
The Underground Railroad. By: Charles T. Webber.

Since the outbreak of the Civil War and continuing to the present day, the role of slavery in splitting America has been hotly debated. One may wonder whether there was merely a correlation between slavery and the Civil War or whether slavery was the cause. Investigating the nuances of the issue of slavery reveals that the Civil War resulted from sectionalism and slavery, which were practically synonymous.

Read more

The Censure of John Quincy Adams

220px-john_quincy_adams
John Quincy Adams.

In 1842, John Quincy Adams presented to the House of Representatives a petition from 42 residents of Haverhill, Massachusetts, requesting that the Union be dissolved. Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 610. Henry Wise, Congressman from Virginia, “demanded the former president be censured.” Id.

Read more

The Prioritization of Education

edward_everett
Edward Everett.

Education was not always such a prominent issue in every state and every American community in the way that modern Americans experience. Horace Mann, who was secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education in 1837, ensured that all schools would have in common: “tuition-free, tax-supported, meeting statewide standards of curriculum, textbooks, and facilities, staffed with teachers who had been trained in state normal schools, modeled on the French école normale.” Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 453.

Read more