Download Politics and America in Crisis: The Coming of the Civil War by Michael Green PDF

By Michael Green

This booklet unravels the political advancements that made the Civil conflict unavoidable.

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Additional info for Politics and America in Crisis: The Coming of the Civil War (Reflections on the Civil War Era)

Sample text

One of the Whigs suggested that if Democrats wanted to prove their good intentions, they should amend Polk’s proposal and ban slavery from any territory the United States acquired from Mexico. Wilmot took the challenge. The House approved the Wilmot Proviso 83–64, and agreed to the amended bill by a closer margin, 85–79, with 52 northern Democrats for it and 4 joining all 50 southern Democrats to oppose it. ” This was no attack on the war and expansion, because northern Democrats voiced no opposition to adding western territory, nor was it an assault on the South and slavery, because Democrats hoped to strengthen their party, which would be likelier to protect southern interests than the Whigs.

But would Democrats overcome their differences and Whigs continue to ignore their differences? The answer to these questions helps explain why a Whig became president and suggests that party ties were weakening over the key issues of the era. For Whigs, 1848 offered opportunity. Polk made clear that he would serve only one term. The economy, still recovering from the Panic of 1837, had taken a slight downturn. When its revival deprived the Whigs of the chance to use it as an issue, controversy surrounded the reasons for fighting the Mexican-American War.

He even accepted the endorsement of a nativist party, the Native Americans, that saw his popularity as their chance to break down the Democrats and Whigs. On the era’s biggest issue, he seemed lacking: northern Whigs wanted an antislavery candidate, but Taylor owned a Louisiana plantation with about 100 slaves. But southerners, led by Calhoun, sought to create a regional, proslavery political party, and Taylor’s southern heritage could help stall any Whig defections—especially with Clay trying to appeal to antislavery Whigs, drawing adoring crowds as he toured northern states, and believing that as the party’s senior eminence he was entitled to lead the ticket.

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