Harmful Extremism and Division Caused by Failed Compromise of 1850

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During the late 1700’s, the citizens of America were in pursuit of order. The country was in shambles; with illegals running through the country, northerns and southerners had constant battles over rights and race, women sought labor and everyone was desperate for a solution. As a result, in 1789 a document was created, known as the Constitution of the United States. On September 18, 1787, 39 delegates signed the constitution. James Madison, a founding father, takes most credit for writing and establishing the constitution. Another important founding father, Thomas Jefferson, was unable to participate in the signing and construction of the constitution due to him being an ambassador in France. Though the constitution was formed to resolve problems, it only created more division.

By the mid-1800’s, the country was swarmed with an enormous amount of conflict. A mass of different people were fighting for different freedoms and reforms. Women fought for the rights to work and commit to labor while forced laborers (slaves) fought for freedom from forced labor. Amendments were constantly causing controversy amongst other civilians. Neighbors were turning on eachother and moving around the country, all in hope of a better life. Due to the controversial amendments, that did not support or disapprove of slavery and the articles instilled into the constitution, our beloved country encountered a tremendous severance. The contentious deed resulted in an emergence of social extremism between not just the people but, the political parties who were all in refusal to compromise. This resulted in a vicious engagement.

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Women from the south were rushing into northern factories in pursuit of independence and self- satisfaction. During the 1800’s, when the industrialization era was beginning, women were given the opportunity to earn their own money, help the family maintain stabilityle and gain their own independence. Without a second thought, ladies, young and old, packed bags and left for city, all with false hope of a better life. These people were soon being overworked and mistreated because “ in the factories, women routinely faced discrimination. Employers commonly paid women one-half to two-thirds of what a man doing the same job received” (Sback). Women were not treated as equals to men, despite an “equal opportunity”. These girls were not being treated as an equals because they were thought of as machines rather than actual people. They had one purpose, one job, and it was to be fulfilled. They were forced into tight schedules, working “fourteen to sixteen hours a day for six days a week” (Ankur Poddar) and hardly getting paid at all, especially if you were not as experienced “the majority were unskilled workers, who only received about $8-$10 dollars a week, working at approximately 10 cents an hour” (Ankur Poddar). Not only were women experiencing a harsh wage gap but the scheduled often resulted in dehumanization.

Strict schedules with minimal conversation allowance “Employees will attend strictly to the work given them to do, and hold no conversation on subjects not relating to their work during working hours” (mendorailhistory). The silence and lack of interaction resulted in completely isolation and a sense of lost humanity. Girls were no longer showing expressions as “rows of blank-looking counters say rows of blank-looking girls, with blank, white folders in their bland hands, all blanky folding paper” (Herman Melville) these workers were more like machines, constantly repeating their daily cycles, rather than living employees. These women were more like working soldiers than employees. Much like the fellow slaves down south.

While working girls in the north were in desperate need of being revitalized; men, women and children were living a nightmare almost incomprehensible, in the south. During the late 18th century states were holding thousands of slaves and “Four states had more than 100,000 slaves in 1790: Virginia (292,627); South Carolina (107,094); Maryland (103,036); and North Carolina (100,572)” ( National Geographic). This is only four out of the 11 slave states. By 1850, the population of the united states was roughly 23,000,000 “The total population included 3,204,313 slaves” (wikipedia). While this number may not seem significant to the other 20,000,000 people living in the United States, these 3,000,000 were not actually considered people. Black men were valued at three-fifths of the white man during the 19th century due to a constitutional amendment known as the “three-fifths compromise” (Constitution of the United States). Due to the lack of worth that darker skinned humans possessed, their lives were hardly valued. Many slaves died every year, resulting in a final total of “30 to 60 million...died while being enslaved” (Generalplan) by the end of the slave trade. Despite the 3/5th compromise being made and giving more right to african americans, the country was still divided. The separation of morals and beliefs on slavery continued to rupture into political extremism.

Social extremism was not just an irrelevant idea to the majority of people. During the industrialization era, slavery was more relevant than ever. North and South were in thriving alliances despite differences over morale. An aAbolitionist made an enormous impact on social extremism during the 1850’s. This man lead a massacre known as “Pottawatomie Massacre in which he killed 5 men dragging them out of their house in 1856 in Bleeding Kansas”. This was a reaction to pro-slavery extremism. May 21, 1856 an event took place called the Sacking of Lawrence. A pro-slavery activists ransacked a town in Kansas in attempts to make it a “free state”, news of the event traveled to the bold abolitionist however, the truth was terribly altered (Wikipedia). It was rumored that multiple lives were taken during the attack but in reality, the only life lost, was one of an activist gang and it was of accidental causes. John did not take a minute to hesitate or analyse the occurrence but instead marched straight for revenge, stealing the lives of 5 americans. The extremism did not begin or end with the back-to-back conflicts. Appearing in the 1850’s and reemerging a decade later in the 1860’s an activist group known as the fire-eaters who “urged southern secession, citing irrevocable differences between North and South, and they further inflamed passions by using propaganda against the North.” (hay genealogy). The group pushed for separation and diversity among races, especially those who did not agree with similar values. The group was shut down because of the compromise of 1850 but reappeared a few years later. The election of 1860, which provided a democratic split with the nomination of two candidates (Michael Levy) and allowed further tension and division to build in the south. Due to the consistent acts of extremism between abolitionist and activists, a major failure to compromise occurred.

The Constitution of the United States, a document that structured the country we know as home today, also caused war. Between women's rights, freedom from slavery and social extremism, the country was under an immense strain. The north and south were at constant battles over power. The industrialization era created a piggy-back system. The north needed cotton for cloth which came from the south and was picked from slaves. The northerners were making it big in factories however, were put under dehumanizing work conditions which were similar to the slaves down south. The major difference between the north and south was that most northerners wanted freedom for all and the majority of southerners wanted freedom for all except those of color. Therefore, resulting in the ultimate war; the civil war. Because our country could not compromise on equality, the country had to face bloodshed of its own people for “justice”.

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