Slavery in the Nineteenth Century

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What are some of the main points of "On the Slavery Question" by John C. Calhou?

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Calhoun shared his statements on slavery eleven years prior to the Civil War beginning. His greatest and clearest concern for the United States was the division occurring in the nation over the subject of legalized slavery in the South. Calhoun stated that although the subject had been discussed and debated for many years prior to 1850, the nation was becoming more and more divided, not unified.

As many in the South justified slavery as an economic necessity for their way of life and as a moral social establishment, Calhoun sought to explain the reasons the northern and southern states were clashing over the issue. He stated that when the Constitution was written, the states were roughly balanced in terms of population. As well, there was an equal number of Northern and Southern states. However, he asserted that in 1850, this balance was no more, and the North had the advantage in the legislative branch. Therefore, Southern states feared that they would lose to Northern power.

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