James K. Polk

James K. Polk

Question 1

James K. Polk once a lawyer, a congressman and a governor of Tennessee was the eleventh president of the United States[1]. There are many achievements that stand out in the American history which he contributed greatly to like acquiring California, opposing the Mexican War, reduction of the tariff as well as establishing an independent tariff system. He was in leadership during the slave trade era and many events took place during his leadership. One notable event that took place was the compromise of 1850 and even though there were others that had taken place, the compromise which involved the north and south was the last and it was the most important. It occurred after the conflict which resulted from the Mexican War of the year 1946. However, after the compromise, the president was able to acquire areas such as Utah, Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico. This was due to the fact that the main issue during the time was the expansion of slave trade.

According to the studies of Kellogg [2], United States was in great needs of areas in North America although there was great opposition from the various antislavery groups. The main reason for the opposition was due to the fact that any expansion would have increased the slave territories.  Nonetheless, during the year 1953, United States bought a small area from Mexico which was necessary to build a transcontinental railway line.  California also became a new territory of United States although as a Free State. President Pork remains to be a renowned public figure not only due to the fact that he managed to fulfill his aims but also due to the fact that he managed to resolve some of the conflicts that were present in America before his administration.  During his time, America was able to acquire a territory of approximately eight hundred thousand miles. In addition some states like Texas, Wisconsin and Iowa were admitted in to the Union[3].

There were several ways through which the new areas and territories were acquired. The territory of Texas was acquired after the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in the year 1948 although it resulted to more conflict between the Northern and the Southern States.  Similarly, some other territories like Utah, Arizona and Colorado were acquired through the same treaty. However, United States was really focused on expanding the territory and it went a head to purchase some territories. For example studies of Kellogg [4] illustrate that it bought a territory in Mexico in the year 1853. Apart from buying and signing of treaties, the American Mexican war was also a way thorough which America was able to acquire some new territories.

The Compromise of 1850

Question 2

The 1850 compromise generally represent a total of five bills which were passed as a means of ending the conflict which had existed between the northern and the southern States. The States in the north were free while the southern states were referred to as slave states.  There were many issues that had resulted to the conflict like the expansion of the United State’s states territories, settlement of the Oregon boundary dispute and the famous war between America and Mexican. The main goal of the compromise was to curb the spread of slavery in the territory in order to balance the interest of both the northern and southern states[5].

The compromise was composed of some five major sections or bills. To begin with, California was admitted as a free state. The congress allowed New Mexico and Utah to decide on the major issue of slavery such that people were to be allowed to decide whether the states would remain free or would continue to be salve states[6].  Texas was supposed to give up lands it had claimed from the area presently known as Mexico after receiving ten million US dollars.  Slave trade was also abolished in District of Columbia. The last one was the most controversial bill since it consisted of a fugitive act which stated that any official who failed to arrest a runway slave was supposed to pay a fine.  As a result, the groups which were fighting against slave trade increased their efforts especially after the fugitive act was passed. Blacks who were living in the north were also against the fugitive slave law and went to an extent of protecting the runway slaves especially from the kidnappers who were specifically hired to capture them[7].

As highlighted earlier, the fugitive slave law resulted to a lot of opposition especially in the northern states.  According to Mintz [8], the law was to make the entire population in United States responsible for the recapturing of the run away slaves. Nonetheless, it just created yet another conflict between the northern and the southern states.  In the north, a total of eight states came up with other laws of liberty which prevented officials from providing any assistance in capturing of slave escapees.  In the south, such laws were not embraced and they were regarded to as the violation of not only the constitution but also the federal law. It is also important to note that there were two party systems namely, the Whigs and the democrats.  The Whigs from the North opposed the compromise. On the contrary, the Southern Whigs and Northern Democrats were for the compromise.  Similarly, the southern Whigs from the boarder states supported the compromise because they were for the fugitive slave law.

Many people had put in effort to ensure that the compromise would become possible although it only succeeded after the death of President Taylor who had tried to exclude slaves from Southwest despite the fact that he was a slave owner.  Other people like the Whig Senator by the name Henry Claw also tried to come up with a compromise although they did not manage to.  However, a democrat senator of Illinois by the name Stephen Douglas contributed greatly to the passage of the compromise in 1850 although the Whig senator by the name Daniel Webster had also contributed greatly to the same


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