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Pre-Civil War

In: Historical Events

Submitted By mj38
Words 1053
Pages 5
US History II Honors
16 September 2015
Pre-Civil War Essay
The first cause of the American Civil War was the Mexican-American War in 1848. The Mexican-American war was fought in order to determine which country gained control over the south-western states. The south-western states include; Texas, New Mexico, California, and Arizona. In the end the Mexican-American war concluded with an American victory. At the same time the Mexican-American War was taking place the California Gold Rush was also beginning. During the Gold Rush people from all over the US were traveling to California in the hopes of getting rich. Due to the quantity of people to go to California all at the same time California qualified for statehood (based on their population at the time). Prior to the Gold Rush in 1849 the US had 30 states; 15 free states (north) and 15 slave states (south). By adding California the number of states becomes an odd number. The southern states (slave) wanted California to enter as a slave state, and the northern states (free) wanted California to enter as a free state. The Compromise of 1850 made California a free state, which made the south mad that they were now no longer even with the north. In order to make the south happy since the north got California the Fugitive Slave Act was put into place. The Fugitive Slave Act was an act that said the north must help the south to retrieve their slaves who escaped to the north. The main problem with this act was that there was no way to know which slave belonged to each master. When a master lost a slave they would send a "bounty hunter" to the north to retrieve them, but they would give a description of their slave that could apply to many people. The only problem with the vague descriptions was that when the bounty hunters went to get them they would sometimes come back with someone who was a freed slave, or...

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