A Renewed Debate Over Slavery

The war also renewed old debates on the westward expansion of slavery; some historians have claimed that in many ways the Mexican War was the first round between the North and South in the Civil War. On one side were the Whigs and a growing number of abolitionists in the North, who were adamantly against letting slavery spread. Against them stood the entire South and a majority of Democrats, who believed that expanding slavery was essential to the survival of their economy and society. This debate became the major issue—really the only issue—during the next decade until the outbreak of the Civil War.

Popular pages: The Pre-Civil War Era (1815–1850)