Archive for October 25th, 2006

TABASCO assignment DUE Friday, October 27

Do a Tabasco analysis on the document by General Cass on the Wilmot Proviso posted below. You are encouraged to de research to find out more about opposition to the Proviso, or whatever else you need.


Opposition to the Wilmot Proviso


Lewis Cass was a general and Democratic politician (ambassador, senator) who was very popular during the mid-19th century. He voiced conservative views on slavery– so much so that some accused him of too much sympathy for slaveholders.

He was the Democratic candidate for president in 1848 but lost to Zachary Taylor. He was considered as a strong candidate for the Democratic nomination in 1844 and 1852 as well.
The position of General Cass on the slavery question, as upon all other questions which have come before the country, is consistent, well-defined, and in accordance with the doctrines of the constitution.

While General Taylor is quoted at the north as in favor of the “Wilmot Proviso,” and at the south as the champion of the slaveholding interest, General Cass, regarding the question in the light of the constitution, is disposed to leave the institution of slavery where that instrument has left it, in the hands of the people who are affected by it, to regulate it among themselves upon their own responsibility, and in their own manner.

The following pages will show the course pursued by General Cass on this question.

On the 1st day of March, 1847, the “Wilmot Proviso” was introduced into the Senate by a federal member from New England, as an amendment to the three-million bill. In the course of an eloquent speech, deprecating the introduction of the proviso, end giving his reasons for voting against it, General Cass said:

All the apprehensions expressed here will pass away, leaving us and our institutions unscathed. I have an abiding confidence in the rectitude and energy of public opinion in this country, as well as of its mighty effects. It has spoken many a time in my day, and spoken in tones that were feared and obeyed; ay, and it will so speak many a time to come. Thank God, we are not the people; we are but their temporary servants. There is a power above us, and beyond us, which says, thus far may you go, but no farther; and there we stop. We introduce subjects here, and discuss them, and discuss them, till mutual contact excites us; and we fancy that everybody is everywhere just as much excited as we are, and that the end of all things, at least all political things–union, government, liberty–is approaching, if not upon us. And all this, while the bounties of Heaven, both physical and moral, are descending upon us, not like the silent dew, but in one unbroken stream of unmerited kindness. Our country is without want; our government without oppression; our people without fear, and without danger; and yet, we are everlastingly talking about a crisis, as though we had nothing to do but to raise one, and to discuss it. We may have one, sir; but it may come in a way and in an hour we know not of. It may be a crisis, not of our making or seeking, but of God’s wrath for our ingratitude. As to a political crisis, all will come right, Mr. President. That word has got to be quite a common one in our national vocabulary. It frightened me once; but I have seen it so often, that its face has become quite familiar, and does not inspire the least dread. I recognise it as an old acquaintance, changing from time to time its drapery, but still preserving its identity. Our constituents, the American people, will take care of us, and of the crisis, too, as they took care of the crisis of independence, of the confederation, of the revolutionary war, of the constitution, of the non-intercourse, of the embargo, of the bank, of the deposites, of the tariff, and of the late war, and as they are taking into their own mighty keeping the present war; and they will still take care of their Union, and guard it from any unholy touch, as the ark of God was guarded of old by God’s holy people.

I shall vote against this proviso, because:

1st. The present is no proper time for the introduction into the country, and into Congress, of an exciting topic, tending to divide us, when our united exertions are necessary to prosecute the existing war.

2d. It will be quite in season to provide for the government of territory not yet acquired from foreign countries, after we shall have obtained it.

3d. The proviso can only apply to the British and Mexican territories, as there are no others coterminous to us. Its phraseology would reach either, though its application is pointed to Mexico. It seems to me that to express so much confidence in the successful result of this war, as to legislate at this time, if not over this anticipated acquisition, at least for it, and to lay down a partial basis for its government, would do us no good in the eyes of the world, and would irritate still more the Mexican people.

4th. Legislation now would be wholly inoperative, because no territory hereafter to be acquired can be governed without an act of Congress, providing for its government. And such an act, on its passage, would open the whole subject, and would leave the Congress, called upon to pass it, free to exercise its own discretion, entirely uncontrolled by any declaration found on the statute book.

5th. There is great reason to think that the adoption of this proviso would, in all probability, bring the war to an untimely issue, by the effect it would have on future operations.

6th. Its passage would certainly prevent the acquisition of one foot of territory; thus defeating a measure called for by a vast majority of the American people, and defeating it, too, by the very act purporting to establish a partial basis for its government.

The progress of public opinion upon the question of the adoption of this proviso, as the circumstances of the country have become more and more difficult, seems to me to indicate very clearly, that since its introduction at the past session of Congress, the conviction has been gaining ground that the present is no time for the agitation of this subject; and as the foreign war becomes more embarrassing, in a greater degree, than many anticipated, it is best to avoid a domestic dispute, which would raise bitter questions at home, and add confidence to the motives for resistance abroad. And certainly the fact now ascertained, that the war would be put to hazard, and the acquisition of territory defeated, by the adoption of this proviso, renders it impossible for me to vote for it, connected, as I deem both of these objects, with the dearest rights and honor of the country.

TABASCO- A Method of Analyzing Documents

As you read a document, you need to analyze it to extract as much meaning from the document as possible. This way of analyzing a document also helps you generate the outside information that is so importasnt for a good score on a DBQ.

Use this strategy as one method to quickly assess and analyze the important information. I created this method in place of the SOAPS or SOAPSTone method from the College Board because I think it makes you do a deeper analysis of the document.

Topic: (What is the document about? NOT the Title!) – 10 points

Author: (Information about the author which is relevant to the document; who he is, what she did, groups to which he belonged, etc) – 15 points

Bias: (Is the information presented here unbiased? Does info about the author suggest any mindset present?) – 10 points

Audience: (When was the document written, and who was the intended audience? There can be a primary and secondary audience.) – 15 points

Summary: (What are the main arguments or points the author makes? What conclusions can be drawn from this? What is the historical significance of the document?) – 50 points

COntext: (What is the context? What is going on at the time of the document that relates to it or influences it)