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Boston Case - the Crisis of the National Party System

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- In the most famous Boston case, a biracial group of armed abolitionists led by Thomas Wentworth Higginson, stormed the federal courthouse in 1854 to try to save escaped slave Anthony Burns

- The rescue effort failed and a deputy marshal was killed

- President Pierce sent marines, cavalry, and artillery to Boston to reinforce the guard over Burns and ordered a ship to deliver him back to slavery

- When the effort by lawyers to argue for his freedom failed, Boston's raised money to buy his freedom

- The U.S. attorney enforced the Fugitive Slave Law which blocked the purchase

- During the 185s, 322 black fugitives were sent back into slavery, only 11 were declared free

- The Fugitive Slave Law forced northern communities to confront the full meaning of slavery

The Election of 1852

- The democrats had a wide variety of Candidates, Lewis Cass, Stephen Douglas, and James Buchanan.

- Franklin Pierce easily won the 1852 election, 254 electoral votes to 42.

"Young America": The Politics of Expansion

- Pierce entered the White House in 1853

- The "Young America" movement began as a group of writers and politicians in the New York Democratic Party who believed in the democratic and nationalistic promise of "manifest destiny"

- By 1850, their goals were only to conquer Central America and Cuba

- During the Pierce administration, several people invaded Caribbean and Central American countries, with the intention of extending slave territory

- William Walker was the best known filibuster, he invaded Nicaragua 3 times

- The first time he came ruler and encouraged settlement by southern slave owners

- The other times he tried to regain control but failed, and was captured and executed in his last attempt


- The Kansas-Nebraska Act proposed to open up the lands that had been the northern part of Indian Territory to American settlers under the principle of popular sovereignty

- Stephen Douglas was the prime mover of the Compromise of 1850

- He reopened the question of slavery in the territories; he believed he could satisfy his expansionist aims and his presidential ambitions by doing this

- He was wrong; he pushed the national party system into crisis, killing the Whigs and than destroying the democrats

The Kansas-Nebraska Act

- Stephen Douglas introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Act to keep constructing the transcontinental railroad across the "great American Desert" to California

- He wanted the rail line to terminate in Chicago rather than St. Louis, but in order for that to happen he had to organize the land west of Iowa and Missouri into territories

- He needed the votes of southern democrats to get congress to agree to the organization of the territories, and they were unwilling to help unless the territories were open to slavery

- He thought he would be solving the problem by proposing that the status of slavery in the new territories would be governed by popular sovereignty.

- The Kansas-Nebraska bill passed but it strained the major political parties, it basically repealed the Missouri Compromise of 182

- Douglas had committed one of the greatest miscalculations in American political history

"Bleeding Kansas"

- The first to claim land in Kansas were residents of nearby Missouri, it was a slave state

- They took up land claims and established proslavery

- Northerners quickly responded to this

- Kansas soon became a bloody battleground as the two groups struggled to secure the authorization of popular sovereignty

- In the summer of 1856, the lethal preparations exploded into open warfare

- Burnings and killings became common, the rest of the nation watched in horror as the residents of Kansas killed each other

The Politics of Nativism

- The violence in Kansas was repeated by increasing violence in the nation's cities

- In Chicago, riots started in 1855, when the mayor attempted to close the saloons on Sunday

- Germans, Irish, and Swedes protested against this

- This violence was caused by the breakdown of the two-party system

- The break up of the Whigs was replaced by the new American Party

- The new party was a reaction to the Democratic Party's success in capturing the support of the population of foreign-born voters

- Irish immigrants voted Democratic

- Many Whigs disapproved of the new immigrants because they were poor and Catholic

- Nativist Whigs thought immigration was responsible for the increases in crime and the rising cost of relief for the poor that came with rapid urban growth

- Nativism drew former Whigs to the new American Party

- When questioned about their beliefs, the party members maintained secrecy by

Saying they knew nothing, their popular nickname was "the know-nothings."

- They scored victories in northern state elections in 1854

- They won control of the legislature in Massachusetts and got 40% of the

vote in Pennsylvania

- They polled well in the south but in the 1850s, no party could ignore slavery

- In 1855, the American party split into northern (antislavery) and southern (proslavery) Whigs

- After the split, the supporters



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