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Expansion for Protection’s Sake

In: Historical Events

Submitted By KyOd
Words 1094
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Civil war: many students in America associate those two words with a particular period in our history. They think of a time when people, once united in revolution, split apart and held bloody battles. Thousands of soldiers never left those bloody fields and hillsides, forever lost to their families and friends. What had caused a country that had fought together for its independence, to turn against itself? The most crucial issue that caused a division between the North and the South was based in the institution of slavery. The two clashed over the expansion of slavery into western territories; would western territories be allowed to enter the union as slave states? Many people in the South feared that if the number of free states were to outnumber those of slave states the imbalance might lead to the gradual dismissal of slavery. There were many social and economic reasons why expansion was such a crucial issue for southerners who wished to use new slave states to balance power and protect the institution of slavery. The first social issue was how slaves were viewed by slaveholders. Many slave owners adopted an ideology known as paternalism (Norton, 275). Paternalism was the view of slaveholders that they were a parent of sorts to their slaves, a guardian that took care of a child. Using this ideology, a slave owner could think of himself as the guardian of an inferior people instead of the oppressor of masses (Norton, 275). This paternalistic view worked hand in hand with another social norm of the old South, the Master and Dependent relationship. The male owner was master of his house, presiding over his wife and children (Module 4: Family & System of Masters/Dependents). This relationship was also quite apparent between and master and his slaves. Slaves were dependent on their owner, the master, for food, clothing and shelter. This system had been…...

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