American Freedom and Democracy

Last Updated on 03/06/2023 by Sophia

Construct an argumentative essay that discusses the challenges that the expansion of the federal government, the Industrial Revolution, and, most importantly, chattel slavery posed to American freedom and democracy. Why were these issues so challenging and what did America do to “restore” power to the people?. It may be helpful to consider the following issues: • The Northwest Ordinance • Internal Slave Trade • Industrialization/Lowell, Massachusetts • Urbanization • The Missouri Compromise • Texas annexation • The Compromise of 1850 • The Kansas-Nebraska Act • The Dred Scott Decision • Gettysburg Address • Black Codes • 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments

Challenges to American Freedom and Democracy

The federal government's expansion posed a major challenge to the democracy of the
new states that were being admitted to the union. According to the Northwest Ordinances, the
new territories would be seen as districts. They would only be allowed to represent the Congress
only when they had acquired a minimum population of 20 000 people. This means that before a
new territory had assumed this minimum population, then their voting rights were restrained as
they could not elect a representative to the Congress (John 49). When a state joined the union,
the federal government took some determination to choose whether a state could be a free or
slave state. In a similar vein, the industrial revolution created jobs for many Americans. Still,
investors in these early industries paid cheaply, retaining their workers' financial freedom, and as
a result, these early industries witnessed a lot of workers' strikes. The Slave trade and, in
particular, interregional slave trade curtailed the freedoms of the slaves, some of who were born
in America (Sterlin 20). In the Dred Scott decision, for example, a former slave, despite being
free, could never be a citizen of the U.S. Therefore, such an African American was denied the
basic right of citizenship such as voting and vying for a political post.
All these issues were challenging as the people in power mostly supported them, and they
often affected the minority groups in society. Thus the majority did not see the necessity of
changing the status quo. Through various acts such as the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which allowed

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for popular sovereignty, which gave powers to the people in a certain territory to decide whether
slavery would be legal or illegal in their state (Sterlin 14). However, returning the powers of
determination on the legality of slavery to the states meant that the states that had been forced to
abolish the slave trade would decide to go back to it, limiting the freedom of freed slaves.


Works Cited

John, S. "The Slave Trade Expands Greatly." The Atlantic Slave Trade in World History, 2015,
pp. 40-66.
Sterlin, D. "1. The Limits of U.S. Territorial Expansion." The Picky Eagle, 2020, pp. 1-22.