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1987 DBQ

             During the 1850's, the supreme and absolute Constitution, which had previously seen no topic it couldn't resolve or illuminate in the eyes of its interpreters, was faced with its toughest, unrelenting foe; the issue of slavery, and the locations that it existed in or was desired to exist in. Ultimately, this issue led to the demise of the Union that had been created under the watchful and guiding eye of the Constitution. This decade in particular was brimming with the reoccurring argument of whether or not slavery would be allowed to expand into any newly-acquired United States territories. The sectional discord that resulted between the South and the North as a result of this argument ended in secession, disunion, and eventually war. .
             The flaw of the Constitution existed not in its clear and over-comprehensive guidelines for the Union, but rather in its ambiguity over the rarely discussed topic of slavery. In fact, it was so infrequently discussed because in 1839, Congress had passed a "gag rule" that prohibited any debate about, reading of, printing of, or reference to slavery. There was such a state of ambiguity on the subject that each side, North and South, found the Constitution as both a helpful tool and hindering detriment to their case. .
             The interpretation of the Constitution and the issue of slavery relied very much on one's view of the Constitution as a compact or a contract. At the time of the Compromise of 1850, there was a moral boundary beginning to form with the already existent geographical boundary between free and slave states. Many in the South saw it as a compact, which championed state's rights and believed that the federal government had no right to exercise powers that were not specifically given to them under the compact. Therefore, if the federal government was to assume such powers and jurisdiction over the states, then any acts created under this notion would be considered null and void.

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