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American change from political disputes (1820–1860). In the early nineteenth century, Americans sought to resolve their political disputes through compromise, yet by 1860 this no longer seemed possible. Analyze the reasons for this change.

American politics changed from increasingly hard disputes about slavery. Heated rhetoric around the issue of slavery and increasing profits in cotton for planters made compromise over the slavery issue less likely in 1860.

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By 1860, one could see that the United States was in uncharted territory in terms of its ability to compromise over slavery. Henry Clay, a leader in creating both the Compromise of 1820 and the Compromise of 1850, was dead. There seemed to be no moderating force in Congress who would take his place. The rhetoric around slavery, heated at times, was reaching a new level during the 1850s. Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin was one of the most popular books of the era; it depicted slavery unfavorably. Playhouses who acted out the book had large passionate crowds-—in one instance, an audience member shot one of the dogs who was chasing the actress playing Eliza.

Many revolts and political disputes also became more influential. John Brown tried to incite a slave revolt in 1859; he was later hung for this. To slaveholders, Brown was a villain. To abolitionists, he was a martyr. Violence was starting to creep into political life as well. Preston Sumner, a Northern congressman, was beaten...

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