) Term: (1853-1857
Free sovereignty was a noble attempt by Franklin Perce to settle the slavery dispute democratically. The Kansas Nebraska bill, sponsored by Stephen Douglas, gave the people the choice of slavery vs. free slaves. However, this was not successful as border ruffians crossed from adjacent Missouri to vote pro-slave. The bill failed, and sent the country further towards war.
Major Events with Franklin Pierce
- 1853 - Perry opens Japan
Commodore Perry sailed into Tokyo in July 1853. By showing off the force of the American Navy, he was able to threaten the Emperor and open up Japan's ports to American ships. The event marked the beginning of Japan's industrialization and America's growing power in the Pacific.
- 1854 - Kansas-Nebraska Bill
During 1854, political alliances depended on one issue: slavery. The Kansas-Nebraska Bill was proposed by Stephen Douglas to settle this question in the Kansas territory. As a result, the territory was split into two: Kansas and Nebraska, each of which was given the right to determine its own position on slavery at the time of its acceptation to the Union.
It proved highly unsuccessful, as increasing violence swept through Kansas. The referendum on the slavery question was sabotaged, as thousands of people crossed the state border to vote pro-slave.
- 1854 - Ostend Manifesto
The Ostend Manifesto showed how far the South was willing to go to acquire more territories favorable to slavery. After Spain seized an American ship in 1854, Southern diplomats concluded that they had the right to forcefully take over Cuba. Although the manifesto was declared null and void by the President, it provoked strong protest in Europe.
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