The Long-Stemed Roots of the Debate Over Slavery Essay

Better Essays

The debate of slavery is often considered a crisis of the 1850s, acting as the major instigator for the Civil War, but conflict has roots that stem back farther. Mason argues that the reality of the slave debate's importance in the young republic was much more prominent than traditionally perceived. Instead of simply appearing during the Missouri debates of 1819, the battle over slavery, along with its fate, was a heated topic even in during the foundation of the nation. In no way had it been smooth sailing for the union up until the Missouri crisis, Mason argues, but that the "bitterness" of released in the battle over Missouri's fate was "many years in the making" (3). Politically, the increasing sectionalized north and south …show more content…

He admitted though, he felt that the "immediate abolition" of slaves in America was an issue would face too many obstacles and not worth pursuing. He insisted that the institution was a "necessary evil" that would continue, much to his displeasure. Jefferson was not without critics though. Those who opposed him assumed his real motive to carry on this "necessary evil" was in actuality, personal greed (14). Abolitionist distrust for Jefferson was not enough to stop his election. In 1797, Jefferson became president; the political head of the Republican Party was already showing its anti-abolition sentiments. Abolition had firmly manifested in national politics by the debates over the ban on slave trade in 1808. Although Southern Congressmen were not willing to paint themselves as defenders of the slave trade, the outstanding majority voting against it, they intend to allow manumission. Abolitionists on the other hand were willing to withdraw their push for manumission, feeling abolition of the slave trade was a step in the process of gradual manumission. The concept of slavery as a taboo was a new concept for those in the West. Southerners for the first time had their entire way of life brought into question. As Mason puts it "Southern slaveholder could not hope to continue unopposed in their possession of human property," which became increasingly obvious (16). By the end of

Get Access