During the period between 1844 and the Civil War, the issue of slavery had a major impact on all politics through the events it created. Some such events are the Compromise of 1850, the Election 1852, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Lincoln-Douglass Debates, and the Election of 1860. The impacts of these events were great on the political parties of the Whigs, Republicans and Free-Soilers.
The greatest impact of slavery on the Whigs party took place on the last few years of its existence. The Compromise of 1850, which was the solution to the conflict of having California being accepted as a free state, caused the first major split in the party. It split the party into two parts, the Conscious Whigs and the Cotton Whigs. Although the official standpoint of the Whig party was to support the Compromise of 1850, the Conscious Whigs opposed the Compromise of 1850 because of the new stricter fugitive slave laws and the Cotton Whigs was for the Compromise of the 1850 because of the new stricter fugitive slave laws. This separation within the party expanded through the Election of 1852.
Virginian Winfield Scott was nominated as the Whig candidate for president. The Conscious Whigs supported him fully; however, the Cotton Whigs saw him as weak in enforcing the Compromise of 1850. This caused the Cotton Whigs to oppose the party candidate and voted for the Democratic candidate, Pierce. Lastly, the Kansas-Nebraska Act would completely destroy the Whig party. The outbreak of the popular sovereignty the party either merged with the Democratic Party or created a new party, the Republicans.
The Republican Party was greatly influenced by the issues of slavery. It was created from the fall of the Whig Party, which fell apart because of slavery. The Lincoln-Douglass Debates was oriented over the issue of slavery. Although Lincoln did not win the debates, he gained national reputation for holding his own against Douglass, a great orator. This would be one contributing factor for his victory in the Election of 1860. Another factor his victory would be that the Democratic Party was split over the issue of slavery. The Election of 1860 was decisively fought over the issue of slavery and what each candidate would do. Because Lincoln won the election, the Republican Party would gain power in the government to spread its policies of slavery.
The last party is the Free-Soiler Party that was formed in 1848. The impact of slavery on this political party is also great. The entire party is based upon its standpoint of slavery. The party’s official stand on the issue of slavery was that it anti-slavery. It did not want slavery to expand but it would allow the existence of slavery in the areas where slavery was already present. The other major impact that slavery had on this political party was that it would merge with the Republican Party because of the view of slavery are similar.
All three parties, Whigs, Republics, and Free-Soilers, were impacted on the issues of slavery and the events that were caused by slavery. Through the events between 1844 and the Civil War, numerous events affected the parties ranging from the creation of parities to the destruction of parties.