Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 July 2021
The last chapter discusses the major contentions leading up the civil war, that is, state rights and slavery. The first part focuses once again on the disagreement over the proper definition of the people. On the one hand, excerpts from John Calhoun’s writings demonstrate the Southern emphasis on state rights and his idea of the concurrent majority. On the other hand, Henry Clay’s speech on the Compromise Tariff Bill reveals his dedication to the Union and embrace of compromise as the founding principle of the United States. Daniel Webster’s Constitution and Union Speech gives insight into his controversial support of the Fugitive Slave Act in the name of constitutional obligations. The second part presents the arguments of the moral abolitionists, with excerpts from the American Anti-Slavery Society, William Lloyd Garrison, and Frederick Douglass. In turn, the Southern reactionary defense of slavery is illustrated in selections from George Fitzhugh’s Sociology for the South and Hammond’s “mudsill theory.” The last section of the chapter offers excerpts of Abraham Lincoln’s speeches, exhibiting his political pragmatism on the question of slavery and the maintenance of the Union.