10 Most Significant Events leading up to the Civil War

  • Cotton Gin

    Cotton Gin
    Eli Whitney's invention of the Cotton Gin increased the profit of cotton. Higher profits made Southerners want an increase in land and slave labor. This led to the Civil War because it started a conflict between Northern abolishionists and Southerners wishing to expand slavery.
  • Louisina Purchase

    Louisina Purchase
    The Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the U.S., and raised the question of what would become slave or free land. It led to the Civil War because it created tension over the balance of free and slave states in the Senate and initiated talk of secession.
  • Underground Railroad

    Underground Railroad
    The exact date of the Underground Railroad is unknown because of its secrecy at the time. However it is known that the Underground Railroad was a network of peple that helped slaves escape bondage. This network led to the Civil War by causing Southerners to demand stricter laws on slavery, infuriating Northerners who would cause more problems by resisting new guidelines.
  • Nat Turner's Slave Rebellion

    Nat Turner's Slave Rebellion
    A slave by the name of Nat Turner led a rebellion that killed some 60 white civilians in Virginia. As a result, Slaveowners tightened the grip on African Americans, and state legislatures passed laws restricting rights for blacks. This led to the Civil War because Northerners henceforth pushed abolitionist movement in attempt to end slavery.
  • Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

    Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
    The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican War of 1846. This led to the Civil War because the North and South quarreled over the fate of the new land aquired from the treaty. Northerners stood behind prohibiting slavery in the new land, while Southerners stood for slavery.
  • Fugitive Slave Law

    Fugitive Slave Law
    The Fugitive Slave Law required citizens to help return runaway slaves to the authorities and established an unjust judicial process for blacks. Slave catchers often took legally-free blacks along with fugitives persuading Northerners to assist blacks. This led to the Civil War because denial of freedom and legal protection initiated organized committees and other groups by Northerners determined to protect blacks from injustice.
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin

    Uncle Tom's Cabin
    Harriet Beecher Stowe detailed the horror of slavery in Uncle Tom's Cabin, allowing Northerners to sense the unhumanity of slavery. Southerners on the other hand condemned the book as an unfair accusation by saying slavery was a divine institution and a blessing to the African Americans. This led to the Civil War because Northerners pledged to take no part in the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law, rather attempt to wipe out slavery.
  • Kansas Nebraska Act

    Kansas Nebraska Act
    Stephen A. Douglas persuaded Congress to split the Territory of Nebraska in two, through the Kansas Nebraska Act, so that slavery in these territories could be determined by popular sovereignty. This led to the Civil War because Kansas (nicknamed Bleeding Kansas) soon filled with violent pro and anti-slavery forces.
  • Dred Scott Decision

    Dred Scott Decision
    In the Dred Scott Decision, the Supreme Court ruled the Missouri Compromise of 1820 as Unconstitutional and Dred Scott as property, not a citizen therefore unable to sue for freedom. This led to the Civil War because it increased abolitionists' efforts to fight against slavery.
  • Election of 1860

    Election of 1860
    Abraham Lincoln was elected President in the election of 1860.This led to the Civil War because as a result of his election Southern states began seceding, later on forming the Confederate States of America.