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The Constitution In The Years Prior To The Civil War (Dbq From 1987 Ap American History Exam)

741 words - 3 pages

The Constitution: Unity or Disunity?The U.S. Constitution is looked upon as not only a legal bond, but as a unifying document that exemplifies the American desire for "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." From 1787, the year of its creation, until 1850, the Constitution helped to uphold these ideals, by ruling with the majority, but protecting the minority, as well as acting as a symbol of unity for the growing nation. In the decade before the Civil War, the Constitution's openness for wide interpretation as well as its lack of specificity on sectional issues such as states' rights and slavery led to the eventual disunion and the Southern secession.For over 60 years prior to the ...view middle of the document...

The right to peaceful demonstration is protected by the Bill of Rights, however, this led to the abolitionists encouraging violence and opposition to local police forces after the Fugitive Slave Act was enacted . The Union was further threatened because many Northerners felt that the Constitution broke moral and religious ideals in its support of slavery, and some even advocated disunion. The confusion over slavery stems from a larger confusion over independent state rights, which some Northerners, like Abraham Lincoln, believed didn't exist at all.The Constitution's lack of specificity on sectional matters also led Southerners to believe that it did not protect their own rights and interests. The U.S. Constitution foes not recognize or advocate slavery, thus many Southerners felt that as the minority in the country (Lincoln was able to be elected without one electoral vote from the South) their rights were in danger of being violated. The theory of "popular sovereignty," a favored one in the south, which gave new territories their right to choose whether to allow slavery also led to...

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