Assess the validity of the following statement about the Constitution as a source of sectional discord."By the 1850's the Constitution, originally framed as an instrument of national unity had...

Assess the validity of the following statement about the Constitution as a source of sectional discord.

"By the 1850's the Constitution, originally framed as an instrument of national unity had become a a source of sectional discord and tension and ultimately contributed to the failure of the union it had created" using your knowledge of the period of 1850-1861, asess the validity of this statement.

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saintfester | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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The Constitution had long been a source of conflict amongst the states regarding slavery and a states rights issue. Even during the debates in the Constitutional Convention itself there was a good amount of debate regarding slavery and if the Constitution gave the federal government specific powers over its regulation.

These issues came to a head in 1854 with the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which allowed territories to decide based on popular sovereignty rather than the Missouri Compromise of 1820. The Dred Scott case further amplified problems when the Supreme Court that the 5th amendments protection of property applies to slaves, and therefore banning slaves in any territory is unconstitutional. This caused an uproar across the country, because it negated all previous agreements.

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