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what event threatened the fabric of the union

what event threatened the fabric of the union

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Georgia Platform

Georgia Platform, statement of qualified support for the U.S. Union among Georgia conservatives following the Compromise of 1850.

Drawn up by Charles J. Jenkins and adopted by a state convention on Dec. 10, 1850, at Milledgeville, the Georgia Platform consisted of a set of resolutions accepting the Compromise of 1850.

It was not an endorsement of the compromise,

but it said that Georgia would abide by the compromise provisions “as a permanent adjustment of the sectional controversy.”
The Georgia Platform warned that the state would and should resist any future congressional activity disrupting the interstate slave trade, weakening the fugitive slave laws, or abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia.

Such activity could well prompt a dissolution of the Union, according to the Georgia Platform.


what event threatened the fabric of the union
what event threatened the fabric of the union

Compromise of 1850

Compromise of 1850, in U.S. history, a series of measures proposed by the “great compromiser,” Sen. Henry Clay of Kentucky, and

passed by the U.S. Congress in an effort to settle several outstanding slavery issues and to avert the threat of dissolution of the Union.


The issue of whether the territories would be slave or free

The issue of whether the territories would be slave or free came to a boil following the election of Zachary Taylor as president in 1848.


He opposed any legislative plan that would address the problems that so agitated Northerners and Southerners,

thus preventing Henry Clay from pushing ahead with another compromise plan that, he hoped, would settle the issue for at least a generation, as had the Missouri Compromise of 1820.

Then Taylor died just 16 months into his term, and his successor, Millard Fillmore, saw the wisdom of Clay’s proposal and encouraged him to continue.


Clay’s purpose was to maintain a balance between free and slave states and to satisfy both proslavery and antislavery forces. The plan adopted by Congress had several parts: California was admitted as a free state, upsetting the equilibrium that had long prevailed in the Senate; the boundary of Texas was fixed along its current lines;

Texas, in return for giving up land it claimed in the Southwest,

had $10 million of its onerous debt assumed by the federal government; areas ceded by Texas became the recognized territories of New Mexico and Utah, and in neither case was slavery mentioned,

ostensibly leaving these territories to decide the slavery question on their own by the principle of popular sovereignty;

the slave trade, but not slavery itself, was abolished in the District of Columbia; and finally, Congress passed a new and stronger Fugitive Slave Act, taking the matter of returning runaway slaves out of the control of states and making it a federal responsibility.



With the influential support of Sen. Daniel Webster

With the influential support of Sen.

Daniel Webster and the concerted unifying efforts of Sen. Stephen A. Douglas, the five compromise measures were enacted in September.

These measures were accepted by moderates in all sections of the country, and the secession of the South was postponed for a decade. Indeed, the political system had seemed to work, and many Americans greeted the Compromise of 1850 with relief. President Fillmore called it “a final settlement,” and the South certainly had nothing to complain about.

It had secured the type of fugitive slave law it had long demanded, and although California came in as a free state, it elected proslavery representatives.

Moreover, New Mexico and Utah enacted slave codes, technically opening the territories to slavery.
The compromise, however, contained the seeds of future discord.

The precedent of popular sovereignty led to a demand for a similar provision for the Kansas Territory in 1854, causing bitterness and violence there (see Bleeding Kansas).

Furthermore, the application of the new Fugitive Slave Act triggered such a strong reaction throughout the North that many moderate antislavery elements became determined opponents of any further extension of slavery into the territories.

While the Compromise of 1850 succeeded as a temporary expedient, it also proved the failure of compromise as a permanent political solution when vital sectional interests were at stake.


what event threatened the fabric of the union
what event threatened the fabric of the union

Civil War culture in America

Civil War culture in America–both North and South–was greatly distinct from life in the antebellum years.

As the war dragged on, the soldier’s life was one of near-constant hardship and deprivation,

from substandard clothing and equipment to barely edible and usually insufficient rations.

Many of the soldiers tried to distract themselves by singing and playing instruments, and the resulting patriotic marches and sad ballads became a musical legacy of the conflict.

Newspapers–many of which featured reports directly from the battlefield–were more widely distributed than ever before, shaping the public’s wartime experience to a greater extent than any previous conflict.

Photography, another relatively new development, brought the horrific imagery of the war into the urban centers of the North.

Finally, the Civil War had a tremendous economic impact, particularly in the South, where a northern blockade and the lack of a sound currency made it increasingly difficult to keep the Confederate economy afloat.

what event threatened the fabric of the union
what event threatened the fabric of the union

Life in the Armies


Northern troops generally enjoyed better provisions than their southern counterparts, especially after the Union blockade of the Atlantic coast made it difficult to get goods and supplies in and out of the South.

The staples of a soldier’s diet were bread, meat and coffee, supplemented by rice, beans and canned fruits or vegetables, when available.

Did you know?

Did you know? As the Union and Confederate armies camped across the Rappahannock River from each other in the winter of 1862-63, bands on both sides played the popular ballad “Home Sweet Home.”
Music proved to be a much-needed diversion for both Union and Confederate troops.

Before 1862, new volunteer regiments usually included a regimental band;

when the proliferation of  bands became too unwieldy,

many regimental bands were dismissed, but some survived, or were replaced by brigade bands to serve a larger contingent of troops.

Whether played by these organized bands or simply sung by the soldiers themselves (accompanied by banjo, fiddle or harmonica), popular songs ranged from patriotic melodies meant for marching or to rally the troops to aching ballads that reflected the soldiers’ yearnings for home.

Among the Union favorites were “Yankee Doodle Dandy,”

“The Star-Spangled Banner” and “John Brown’s Body” (later changed into “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”), while the Confederates enjoyed “Dixie,” “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again,” “The Yellow Rose of Texas” and “The Bonnie Blue Flag.”

In addition to military music, southern slaves sang spirituals dedicated to emancipation,

which would slowly work their way into the fabric of America’s musical culture as well.

The Role of Newspapers


With the invention of the telegraph (1837) and a better mechanical printing press (1847),

the newspaper business had begun to explode in the years leading up to the Civil War.

By 1860, the country could boast some 2,500 publications,

many of them published weekly or daily.

Widespread use of the telegraph meant that war-related news reached Americans across the country, in both rural and urban areas, in an extremely short time.

The Civil War would become the most well-reported conflict in history:

Reporters traveling with the armies sent dispatches directly from the field, and many soldiers wrote letters for their hometown newspapers.

Wartime Photography

Like newspapers reporters, photographers went into army camps and onto the field of battle to capture images of wartime life and death.

Mathew Brady, who by 1861 had built a successful career taking daguerreotype photographs of politicians, authors, actors and other famous figures, decided to make a complete record of the war.

Hiring a staff of photographers (including Alexander Gardner and Timothy H. O’Sullivan),

Brady sent them into the field, where he organized and supervised their work.

Mathew Benjamin Brady

 was one of the earliest photographers in American history. Best known for his scenes of the Civil War, he studied under inventor Samuel F. B. Morse, who pioneered the daguerreotype technique in America.

Brady opened his own studio in New York City in 1844, and photographed Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and Abraham Lincoln, among other public figures.

When the Civil War started,

his use of a mobile studio and darkroom enabled vivid battlefield photographs that brought home the reality of war to the public. Thousands of war scenes were captured,

as well as portraits of generals and politicians on both sides of the conflict, though most of these were taken by his assistants, rather than by Brady himself.

After the war,

these pictures went out of fashion, and the government did not purchase the master-copies as he had anticipated. Brady’s fortunes declined sharply, and he died in debt

what event threatened the fabric of the union
what event threatened the fabric of the union


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