23. Events leading to conflict between North and South, 1850-1860

  • The Compromise of 1850

    This plan was offered by Senator Henry Clay to solve the issue of sectional balance in Congress. California wanted to apply for statehood as a free state, but by doing so, it would create an imbalance of power in Congress. The plan called for California to enter as a free state, the territories Utah and New Mexico to enter and be governed by popular sovereignty, slave trade to be abolished in Washington DC, and and a law would be made to help slaveowners regain their runaway slaves.
  • The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850

    Passed to adere to the Compromise of 1850, under the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, special federal comissioners were allowed to determine the fate of alleged fugitives without the benefit of a jury trial or even testimony by the accused person. The law also prohibited local authorities from interfering with the capture of slaves and forced citizens to assist with captures when called upon by federal agents. Stiff fines and jail sentences were to be given to people who refused to follow the law.
  • Publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin

    Publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin
    Uncle Tom's Cabin is an anti-slavery novel telling the stories about the horrifying real lives and struggles of slaves on a plantation. It was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1852, and helped lay groundwork for already growing tension between the North and the South. The best-selling novel of the nineteenth century, Uncle Tom's Cabin is credited with helping fuel the cause of abolitionists in the 1850's.
  • Election of Franklin Pierce as President

    Election of Franklin Pierce as President
    Franklin Pierce, a democrat, was elected president in 1852. He trumped his rival, Whig, Winifield Scott, on a platform that recognized the Compromise of 1850 as a final settlement of the issue of slavery.
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    "Bleeding Kansas"

    “Bleeding Kansas” was a term used by Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune to describe the violent hostilities between pro and antislavery forces in the Kansas territory during the mid and late 1850's. Resolution of the slavery issue by popular sovereignty made Kansas a bloody battleground. Antagonism between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery supporters turned into open warfare.
  • Formationg of the Republican Party

    Formationg of the Republican Party
    The Republican Party emerged in 1854 to combat the Kansas-Nebraska Act: which threatened to extend slavery into the territories. There were few members of the Republcian Party in the South, but in the North its members included most former Whigs and former Free Soil Democrats to form majorities in nearly every Northern state by 1858.
  • The Kansas- Nebraska Act

    Senator Stephan A. Douglas of Illinois proposed a bill to establish territorial governments in the unorganized northern part of the Louisiana Purchase. This bill was the Kansas-Nebraska Act, passed by Congress in 1854. The Kansas-Nebraska Act created of the territories of Kansas and Nebraska. The question of slavery was to be resolved on the basis of popular sovereignty, thus nullifying the Missouri Compromise, which had abolished slavery in the northern part of the Louisiana Purchase.
  • The Election of 1856

    The Election of 1856
    James Buchanan, a Democrat, won the election and became the United States' 15th President.
  • The Dred Scott Decision

    In 1837, Dred Scott, a slave, was taken by his master from the slave state of Missouri into a free state. After a few years, Scott was taken back to Missouri. He sued for his freedom, saying that living in a free state granted him freedom. His case eventually made it to the Supreme Court, where a majority of the justices ruled that Scott was a piece of property, as opposed to a citizen, therefore the law did not apply to him. Owners could take their slaves anywhere, and they'd still be enslaved.
  • Lincoln-Douglas Debates

    In the Illinois senatorial campaign of 1858, the Democratic candidate, Stephen A. Douglas, was opposed by Republican nominee, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln, a young lawyer, challeneged Douglas, a leading political figure, to a series of debates that were vital issues of the day. Though Lincoln did not win the election, he became very famous through these debates.
  • Harper's Ferry is Seized by John Brown

    Harper's Ferry is Seized by John Brown
    John Brown, a radical abolitionist, led a group of 21 men to seize Harpers' Ferry, Virginia, to obtain a supply of weapons to arm slaves and lead them in revolts. Brown was placed on trial for treason to the state of Virginia, and his men were all either killed or captured by a detachment of federal soldiers led by Colonel Robert E. Lee. Though he was found guilty and was hanged, the way he conducted himself with such poise and dignity earned him the respect of millions of abolitionists.
  • The Election of 1860

    The Election of 1860
    Republican Abraham Lincoln became the nation's 16th president. Though he did not receive a single vote in 10 southern states, the North's superiority in population helped him carry the electoral college, beating his three opponents, Stephen Douglas, John Breckinridge, and John Bell. The split in the democratic party (Douglas, Breckinridge, and Bell) aided Lincoln greatly.
  • The Succession of South Carolina

    The Succession of South Carolina
    Prior to the election of Lincoln as president, Southern leaders had threatened that they would secede from the Union if a Republican president was won the election. A state convention on December 20, 1860, declared that South Carolina was no longer part of the Union, and had seceded.