Family of slaves in georgia, circa 1850


  • Treaty of Ghent

    The Treaty of Ghent ended the War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain. This kicked off the Era of Good Feelings and the period of increased slavery in the South known as Antebellum.
  • Missouri Compromise

    In an effort to preserve the balance of power in Congress between slave and free states, the Missouri Compromise was passed in 1820 admitting Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state. Furthermore, with the exception of Missouri, this law prohibited slavery in the Louisiana Territory north of the 36° 30´ latitude line.
  • Nullification Crisis

    South Carolina legislators passed the Ordinance of Nullification declaring the Tariffs of 1828 and 1832 null and void in South Carolina. Andrew Jackson, usually a proponent of state rights, refuses to recognize the ordinance. This doctrine of state rights is seen as a prelude to the Civil War.
  • Texas Declaration of Independence

    Texas Declaration of Independence
    Texas legislators formally adopt the Texas Declaration of Independence creating the Republic of Texas and launching the Texas Revolution.
  • Mexican-American War

    Following the annexation of Texas by the United States, the US invaded Mexico and captured western territory expanding into the Pacific Ocean. The question of slavery in these newly captured territories created further tension.
  • Compromise of 1850

    A series of bills passed in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War deciding the boundaries and status of slavery in the newly acquired territories. California was to be admitted as a free state, while New Mexico and Utah would be determined by popular vote. In addition, Slavery would be banned in Washington DC and the Fugitive Slave Act was passed. These compromises postponed the Civil War
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin

    Uncle Tom's Cabin
    Harriet Beacher Stowe publishes Uncle Tom's Cabin, a landmark abolitionist novel that sells over a million copies and pushes public opinion in favor of abolition. The book becomes highly suppressed in the South.
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act

    Congress passes the Kansas-Nebraska Act repealing the Missouri Compromise and opening up slavery to the territories of Kansas and Nebraska.
  • Dred Scott v. Sandford

    Dred Scott v. Sandford
    The Supreme Court rules in a landmark case that Congress has no power to limit slavery in territories and that slaves in free territories are still the property of slave owners. This decision enrages Northern states.
  • Dred Scott Perspectives

    "[Africans] had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect"-Justice Taney "The Supreme Court, in the Dred Scott case, plant themselves upon the fifth amendment, which provides that no person shall be deprived of "life, liberty or property without due process of law"-Senator Lincoln
  • John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry

    Radical abolitionist John Brown leads a raid on Harpers Ferry Armory in an unsuccessful attempt to initiate a slave revolt in the South. The attack and perceived sympathy for Brown by Northerners agitated Southerners and created an immense desire for a Southern Confederacy.
  • Election of Abraham Lincoln

    Election of Abraham Lincoln
    Abraham Lincoln wins the Election of 1860 on a Republican platform opposing the expansion of slavery. Lincoln was not on the ballot of every soon-to-be Confederate State except Virginia. Prior to his election, several Southern state legislators vowed to secede if Lincoln won the presidency.
  • Confederate States of America

    Seven breakaway states ratify the Provisional Constitution of the Confederate States forming the Confederate States of America. The Confederacy is unrecognized by the United States and refused to remove Union armies from Confederate territories. Eventually, the Confederacy led a successful attack on Union Fort Sumner in South Carolina and kicked off the Civil War.