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Social Studies help for American History, Economics and AP Government. There are class notes, numerous Supreme Court case summaries and information on how to write a research paper inside.

How did America answer the questions raised by westward expansion?

When Americans moved west many issues, foremost among then slavery, went with them. We thought we had the issue dealt with in the Missouri Compromise but a landmark Supreme Court decision shook us to our very core and changed forever the course of history.

I. Solving the problems caused by westward expansion.

A. What happened when Texas was admitted to the Union in 1845?

1. Texas was admitted as a slave state as per the Missouri Compromise.

B. Why was the Missouri Compromise unable to provide a solution for the problems caused by the admission of California into the Union?

1. The Missouri Compromise had dictated that all territories north of the 36'30" parallel would be free and those below it would be slave. Unfourtunatly California was divided in 1/2 by that line.

C. How did the nation deal with the California problem?

1. The Compromise of 1850

a) California admitted as a free state.

b) Utah and New Mexico would be able to choose for themselves (popular sovereignty)

c) Slave trade abolished in Washington DC but not slavery itself.

d) Congress passed a more strict Fugitive Slave Law to be enforced in the North.

D. How did the nation react when the Nebraska Territory needed to be settled?

1. In 1854 the settlers in the territory of Nebraska was organized under the Kansas - Nebraska Act.

a) Settlers received popular sovereignty.

b) Southern settlers flooded the newly organized territories as the Kansas Territory passed laws in favor of slavery.

c) Anti slavery supporters set up a separate, competing government and Kansas was divided into an armed camp.

d) The Republican Party was formed to protest the expansion of slavery into the territories.

E. How did the Supreme Courts decision in Dred Scott v Sanford affect the slave issue?

1. Dred Scott v Sanford (1857)

Scott's original master had transported him into the free Wisconsin territory and then back to Missouri. Scott sued claiming that since he had been in free territory he was in fact now free.


A. Was Scott a citizen?

B. Was Scott now free?


A. Scott was not a citizen. Accorduing to Chief Justice Taney, a former slave owning southerner, blacks were "beings of an inferior order with no rights a white man was bound to respect."

B. Congress had no right to declare territories free or slave. The Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional.

2. The Dred Scott decision through America into chaos. This had been a much watched and debated verdict, kind of like the OJ trial! The South hailed it as great victory while the North decried the decision. As a result America was further divided, more Northerners became abolitionists and America was further than ever form being a unified

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