Always—in 1787, 1820, 1833 and 1850—the North and the South had been able to compromise over their differences. Why not in 1861?
U.S. History Honors/Period E
02 February 2015
Honor Above All
From 1787 until the end of the Civil War in 1865, the Northern and Southern states had many obstacles to overcome and many disagreements to resolve. Most of these disagreements were alleviated with amendments or compromises, but the last straw came in 1861, before the Civil War, with the Crittenden Compromise and the Peace Conference of 1861. At this time, there was no hope for the North and South; war was inevitable. In addition to the government being taken over by the Republican Party, the South had little leverage in the game of war the North was playing. Consequently, the two halves of the United States became disunited and formed their own governments: the Union and the Confederacy.
The first compromise that the North and South were faced with was the Three-Fifths Compromise of 1787. The issue of slavery was brought to the national and political stage when the Articles of Confederation—ratified in 1781 and basing taxation off of land value in each state—faltered and was replaced by the Constitution in 1789 because the Founding Fathers decided that taxation should be based on population rather than land value. The Constitutional Convention, which first met in 1787 at the State House in Philadelphia, debated the important issue of finding a way to count the nation’s population for representation purposes. For the purposes of more proportional representation in the House of Representatives and reduced tax burden, Southern delegates wanted all slaves to be counted as full persons. However, some Northern delegates resisted counting slaves at all, suggesting that only free populations should be counted. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts asked the other delegates a question that would be ever present in the minds of the feuding...