Free «The Compromise of 1850» Essay

The Compromise of 1850

Seward’s argument seems the most compelling to me since it is based on a higher, i.e. natural God’s law, which is undoubtedly morally correct and more powerful than any law created by humans. Firstly, I agree with Seward, who points out that, according to a law higher than the Constitution, “The territory is a part, no inconsiderable part, of the common heritage of mankind, bestowed upon them by the Creator of the universe.” Therefore, every government should care about every citizen’s happiness. Secondly, I like his argument that Christianity excludes slavery and that no Christian nation would establish slavery purposefully since it is “incompatible with the security, welfare, and greatness of nations” (Seward). Further, I stick to Seward’s standpoint that “all men are created equal, and have inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the choice of pursuits of happiness.” Exactly this gospel truth makes his argument the most convincing and trustworthy.

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I dislike Webster’s argument since he claims that slavery is natural and there is nothing wrong about it. Webster’s argument might have been rather compelling but for its immorality. To underpin his argument, he refers to the historical nature of slavery. Webster emphasizes that both the Greeks and the Americans find slavery just since it is based on the idea of natural inferiority of the black race to the white. I find such a comparison intolerable in the XXI century. Even the Romans, as Webster argues, justified slavery although they found it unnatural. In the first place, captives in war would become slaves. In the second place, slavery might be: 1) voluntarily; 2) a result of one’s inability to pay debts; 3) a punishment for crime. No matter how reasonable these conditions may be, none of them can be applied to the Compromise of 1850, which makes Webster’s argument in favor of slavery rather unconvincing.

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In his “Proposal to Preserve the Union,” John C. Calhoun’s argument for preserving the Union is also rather solid. He believes that the only way to save the Union is to “adopt such measures as will satisfy the States belonging to the southern section that they can remain in the Union consistently with their honor and their safety.” Deeply convinced that oppression and encroachment on other people’s rights are unjust, Calhoun urges the statesmen to consider his proposal, which can prevent the Union from collapsing. His speech sounds very official and dry, i.e. it is a speech of a real politician, who cares about political stability of his country. I admire Calhoun’s ability to express his thoughts laconically and impressively, but his argument is not as elaborate as Seward’s, who analyzes the situation not only in a political but also wider moral perspective, which makes Seward’s argument the most compelling.

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