Slavery, an uneasy topic for many, has proven to be the elephant in the room for 19th century politics. By creating a timeline of events that led up to the civil war in class this week we learned a lot about how slavery was the elephant in the room. This means that slavery was a major issue that people avoided having discussions about. Though Politicians in the 19th century did have meetings like the one at which the Compromise of 1850 was declared, people tried to avoid talking about slavery. They took action for whichever side they supported, either anti or pro slavery. Events such as Bleeding Kanas, The Canning of Charles Sumner, and John Brown's Raid all ended in violence simply because slavery was the elephant in the room and no one wanted to talk about it.
Slavery, being the elephant in the room, caused the violent actions were refer to as Bleeding Kansas. This is a few events grouped together in a broader unit. Some of these events include the burning of Lawrence and the massacre at Pottawatomie Creek. Lawrence Kansas, home to a popular newspaper, was burned on May 21, 1856 by a pro slavery mob. There goal was to prohibit the spread of anti slavery by word. Three days later, John Brown massacred many men at Pottawatomie Creek. All this violence was a result of people not wanting to sit down and discuss the obvious issue at hand.
The Canning of Charles Sumner is the next violent outbreak that occurred. Charles Sumner was the senator of Massachusetts and a leading republican with a powerful voice for anti slavery. In his fiery speech, "The Crime Against Kansas" he made direct remarks towards about South Carolina's senator, Andrew Butler. Butler's nephew, Preston Brooks was upset that Sumner bashed his uncle so he brutally beat Sumner with his cane. Cane never fully recovered, and Brooks received praise from the south for his actions.
John Brown's raid was another extremely violent event that happened during the 19th century. October 16, 1859 Brown and 21 other men, a mixed of whites and blacks, raided the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry. John Brown was quickly injured and captures. He was later hanged on December 2.
Bleeding Kansas, The canning of Charles Sumner, and John Brown's raid are all evidence that slavery was the elephant in the room for American politics in the early 19th century. If people had been more willing to discuss the evident issue of slavery, many violent acts could've been avoided.