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In the late 1840s, what led to the question of whether slavery should expand to the territories? A. the enactment of the Wilmot Proviso B. the violence of “Bleeding Kansas” C. the results of the Mexican War D. the attack at Harpers Ferry

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None of the above. It was caused by Second Great Awakening, a period when religion revival brought about reforms in the individuals. Also, Westward expansion and civilization were also asking whether slavery was necessary for a society.
Probably C is what you want. The other's happened later, in the 1850s. At the conclusion of the Mexican War, in 1848, and even slightly before, when it became clear the Mexicans were hosed, President Polk was clear that Mexico would be required to cede quite a lot of territory to the United States, in addition to accepting the loss of Texas and its alliance with (if not outright annexation by) the United States. That was a monstrous huge addition to the land area of the United States, and nearly all of it in the South. A very important question then became: would the states that would be formed from this territory be free states or slave states? Bear in mind the country had been, for the past 50-60 years, operating under a "gentleman's agreement" constructed by the Framers, in which slavery would be tolerated by the North as long as it did not extend itself beyond where it was already established. The North, and indeed much of the enlightened South, hoped that essentially the practice would die a slow and natural death, without the severe disruption to the Southern economy and welfare that an abrupt abolishment would bring. That agreement came under great strain when in fact slavery did NOT die out, but grew in the Southern states, in part because of its value to cotton plantations, which had become very profitable in part because of semi-industrialization (e.g. the cotton gin) and in part because of booming exports to Europe. Additionally, the breeding and selling of slaves had become highly profitable itself. A new generation of Southerners, who grew up with the peculiar institution, were much more open about defending it, and much more likely to dismiss ideas that it should die out, or the blacks be re-transported back to Africa. At the same time, a new generation of Northerners, often immigrants, who had grown up without slavery, and who had no memory of working with the South during the Revolution and Framing, became increasingly disdainful of Southern goals and wishes. The sectional cultural gap broadened, and control of the central government became increasingly important to each side, essentially to prevent dominance by the other. Since the Constitution sources Federal power in the states, it is essentially the ideology or group that controls the most states that controls the Federal government. Hence the extreme importance to each side that any new states carved out of the territory acquired from Mexico join their side. That is, the South didn't particularly care that New Mexico or Arizona or California actually have slaves in them -- but just that the governments of those states, and the representatives they sent to Washington, be part of the "slave states" group, to protect slavery where it really was part of the economy and lifestyle.

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The Wilmot Proviso. Carl_Pham gave good analysis, but there was one problem - answers A, C, and D happened in the 50's and later. The Wilmot Proviso was enacted in 1846, and led to the question of expansion of slavery.
tafkas, the Wilmot Proviso was never enacted. It was first introduced in Congress in 1846, but did not pass the Senate, and in fact never passed both Houses. Also, please recall the Mexican-American war concluded in 1848 -- not the 1850s -- and in fact the Wilmot Proviso was drafted specifically to address the question of what would happen to any territory acquired from Mexico in the war, which had just gotten underway.
I see. Well, I guess I stand corrected!! :) Thank you, Carl_Pham. :)
In the late 1840s, what led to the question of whether slavery should expand to the territories? A. the enactment of the Wilmot Proviso ( 0 points) B. the violence of “Bleeding Kansas" ( 0 points) C. the results of the Mexican War ( 1 point) D. the attack at Harpers Ferry ( 0 points) 1/1 point

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