Map from “Freedom and Slavery, and the Coveted Territories”

The pamphlet was published by the Tribune office in New York City in the mid-1850s. It includes a presentation of the presidential platforms of 1856 and the acceptance speeches of John C. Fremont, James Buchanan and Millard Fillmore for their respective nominations.
Horace Greeley & Thomas M’Elrath
Grade Level

This text is part of the Teaching Hard History Text Library and aligns with Key Concept 2.

Freedom and Slavery THH Territories



House of Representatives.—The free states have 144 members, the slave states 90 members. One free state member represents 91,985 white men and women; one slave member represents 68,725 whites. The slave states have 80 members in the House of Representatives founded on slave representation. 

U.S. Senate.—The free states with a white population of 13, 288,670 have 32 senators. The slave states with a population of 6,186,477 have 30 senators; so that every 413,708 free men of the North have only the same representation in the Senate as every 206,215 citizens of the slave states. 

The annual receipts from postage in the slave states are $1,486,284, and the cost of mail transportation is $2,087,266. Postage in the free states $4,891,860; cost of mail transportation $2,881,607, which all goes to prove how the suffering South is oppressed by the North. 

The number of slaves in the United States is 3,204,813. The number of slave holders 347,205, of whom only 21,257 own each 10 slaves or upward. In this statement no account is taken of the white slaves of the North who are owned by this small but [illegible] oligarchy. 

This text is in the public domain. Retrieved from https://www.gilderlehrman.org/collections/40cecf6f-20c8-4466-80c2-461940282432?back=/mweb/search%3Fneedle%3Dslave%2520map.
Text Dependent Questions
  1. Question
    Based on the text and map, at this time, how many free states and how many slave states were there?
    There were 16 free states, 15 slave states. NOTE: This can be determined by counting the states, or if hard to see, by calculating it using the number of senators listed.
  2. Question
    “One free state member represents 91,985 white men and women; one slave member represents 68,725 whites.” The authors are suggesting the political power of an individual in the North is different from an individual in the South. Who do they say has a stronger political voice?
    They are saying an individual southerner has a stronger voice, since their representative represents fewer people, making their voice more influential.
  3. Question
    The dark gray areas on the map are slave states. The free states are in white. The light grey states represent territories that could be future states. Why would both the North and South be interested in whether these territories have slavery or not?
    There is a lot of land in the west. Becoming either a slave state or free state could mean more power in terms of representatives in the House or Senate.
  4. Question
    The authors describe how much both the North and South pay to send mail through the post office and how much that service actually costs. Who does it say is contributing more? Who does it say is costing the post office money? What are the authors trying to emphasize with this information?
    The North is contributing more. The South’s mail service costs more than what they pay in postage, so they are costing the post office money. The authors are emphasizing that the South is not being “oppressed” by the North as they may have claimed, as the North is actually supporting them financially, in this area.
  5. Question
    The authors are trying to show how one region of the country has more power in the national government than is fair. Is it the northern free states or the southern slave states? Why?
    They are showing the disproportionate power of the South in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. They also want to show that the South is costing the country (post office) money.
  6. Question
    How may this explain why slavery persisted so long in the United States?
    The slave states of the South held a considerable amount of power in the federal government, which allowed them to prevent laws that would harm the institution of slavery.
Reveal Answers