Merits and Flaws of the Great Political Compromises of the 19th Century


In the 19th century, political leaders aimed at settling the issue of slavery before it could split nations. The compromise of 1850 acted as a temporary solution, thereby holding the nation together for a while. Leaders considered slavery as a source of the outbreak. Nonetheless, the main cause was the dissimilarities between the influential people of the North and South since they did not share the same interests (Singh, 2003). In this context, the flaws and merits of the compromises of the 19th century related to the Civil War call for an in-depth discourse. The discussion will include reasons why the political system failed and how the failure resulted in an outbreak of the Civil War after a decade. 

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The compromise had three aims that led to significant differences between the two states. The compromises of 1820 (Missouri) and 1850 gave way to the rule of slavery, as it was stated that the slaves were to submit to individual authorities (Roark et al., 2012). The laws of the states and the separation of states were influences by these compromises. Missouri became a part of the South while Maine became that of the North. The Kansas-Nebraska Acts of 1854 were the third compromise; according to them, the South intended to become more powerful than the North. It eventually gained power and as a result, the North submitted to the South.

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Later, California also became a part of the North. It became a free state and advocated for the abolishment of slavery in Washington, D.C. Since then, it gave in to any request that the South made (Roark et al., 2012). Consequently, the North became less powerful and productive because a large number of slaves were in the South. The approach of its political circles did not bring any vivid benefits and, thereby, the North grew much weaker. Thus, the compromises gave the South excess power to dominate the North even through its hidden agenda of uniting the U.S. under one flag. The North gave in to the South, and more states were turned over to the southern part, namely Minnesota in 1858 and Oregon in 1859. The South became a much stronger union and eventually took over the United States. It dominated the whole country through slavery with a key objective of making slavery the main labor source (Singh, 2003).

Despite its weaknesses, the distinguishing features of the North were industrialization, large urban areas, infrastructure growth, phenomenal birth rates, and a steady flow of European migrants. On the other hand, the South governance became less stable due to slow development of the agrarian sector. The North became stronger politically and more stable economically. The Fugitive Slave Act enabled the North to establish moderate anti-slavery forces after the events of the Bleeding Kansas in the states of Nebraska and Kansas. Therefore, ten States withdrew after the election of the first president, which officially led to the outbreak of the civil war. The war lasted from 1861 to 1865, and resulted in the abolition of slavery. It was the beginning of the amicable relations between the two parts of the country (Roark et al., 2012).


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In conclusion, the political system ultimately failed to prevent the Civil War because the leaders of the state had different goals. The authorities focused on seizing and retaining power rather than maintaining political stability. They failed to control the struggles between the Northerners and Southerners. The government also did not take into consideration the importance of establishing a strong and stable economic system. None of the sides wanted to cede their power.

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