Increased Sectional Tension between the Notrht and the South

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Increased Sectional Tension Between the North and the South Between 1840 and 1860, the issue of slavery was in the spotlight of American politics. With the nation’s westward expansion, whether slavery should be allowed in new territories provoked a series of fierce debates between the northern free states and the southern slave states. Witnessed by the Wilmot Proviso of 1846, the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, the sectional tension was continually intensified. Despite the fact that the Wilmot Proviso failed in the Senate, it politicized the issue of slavery in the territories. Since the United States gained a large amount of land as a result of the victory over Mexico, the westward expansion of slavery became a major concern. Hoping to settle this problem once and for all, David Wilmot from Pennsylvania proposed Wilmot Proviso, which stated that no slavery would be allowed in territory acquired from Mexico, because Mexico had abolished slavery when it gained this land from Spain, and slavery should not be replanted. However, this proposal evoked furious debate. On one hand, intending to protect slavery, senator John C. Calhoun from South Carolina made the Fifth Amendment argument that Congress had no right to prevent any citizens from taking their properties into territories. In this case, prohibiting southerners from taking their slaves into new western territories would be a violation of the Fifth Amendment. On the other

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