Sectionalism

The Theories of Slavery

In the 15 years leading up to the Civil War, a wide variety of theories emerged for how the federal government should deal with slavery expanding, or not expanding, into the territories acquired by the United States.

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America in 1848

In 1848, when word spread to America that a revolution was breaking out in France, President James Polk wrote: “The great principles of popular sovereignty which were proclaimed in 1776 by the immortal author of our Declaration of Independence, seem now to be in the course of rapid development throughout the world.” James Knox Polk […]

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The Wilmot Proviso

President James Polk, expecting a fast resolution to the Mexican-American War, “requested from Congress in August 1846 a $2 million appropriation for ‘defraying any extraordinary expenses which may be incurred in the intercourse between the United States and foreign nations.’” Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 766 quoting James Polk, Diary, II, 76-77 (Aug. […]

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