Union to Disunion

The period that we cover in the course (1790-1850) ended with the US winning a war of conquest against a sister republic–Mexico–that was intended largely to add to slave territory but would instead prompt a showdown between slaveowners and their Northern opponents that would tear the nation apart in 1860. Abolitionists, for all the vitriol directed at them by conservatives in the 1830s and 1840s advocated a “modern” view of universal rights: they fought not only to end slavery but to extend rights of citizens to African Americans and women while defending the rights of Native Americans against encroachments by whites. The issues of the period were big, as were the personalities.