Role of the Mexican-American War in Bridging the Gap between the Abolitionist Movement and the Civil War

815 Words Jan 29th, 2018 3 Pages
history that bridged the gap between the abolitionist movement and the Civil War, which is not always recognized but is in some ways still with us today. Teacher Eric Burnett, for example, outlines a long list of "catalysts" leading up to the Civil War itself but omits the Mexican-American war even though the Civil War catalysts go back through the 1840s all the way back to Eli Whitney inventing the Cotton Gin in 1793 (2010, n.p.). The Mexican-American war, however, aggravated the division between the free, abolitionist North, and the pro-slave South, where the abolitionist Northerners saw the U.S. annexation of Texas and the lands north of the Rio Grande after the decisive victory over Mexico, as "an attempt by the slave states to extend slavery and enhance their power when additional slave states were created out of soon-to-be-acquired Mexican lands" (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2012, n.p.). This re-opened a conflict that had been lying dormant since the Missouri Compromise of 1820, where Missouri and any new states south of the Missouri border would enter the Union as slave states, but anything north of Missouri would enter as free states. This aggravated the political division that would result in the birth of the abolitionist Republican party, and cause the imbalance between the pro-slave South, against the anti-slavery North, that led directly to Jan. 1861…