Events for the 1850's

  • Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions Written

    Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions Written
    The Kentucky Resolutions, written by Thomas Jefferson, and the Virginia Resolutions, written by James Madison, were measures passed by the legislatures of Kentucky and Virginia. Both resolutions were in response to the Alien and Sedition Acts, which dealt with immigrants and their expulsion, and the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions essentially stated that all power and laws not passed or specifically given to the Federal Government would be granted to the states.
  • Hartford Convention Meets During War of 1812

    Hartford Convention Meets During War of 1812
    The Hartford Convention was held in opposition to the war of 1812. The convention was held in Hartford, Connecticut, and the delegates who attended strongly supported rights for the states. The outcome of the meeting was the decision to makes demands for amendments to the constitution that limited the power of presidency.
  • Missouri Compromise

    Missouri Compromise
    The Missouri Compromise was in response to Missouri’s petition for statehood, which, if granted, would throw off the balance of eleven slave states and eleven Free States. The compromise consisted of granting Missouri statehood as a slave state, and in order to balance this Massachusetts gave over part of its land to create the state of Maine, a Free State.
  • Tariff of Abominations Passed

    Tariff of Abominations Passed
    Due to various events, including the collapse of the Second Bank of the United States, taxes on manufactured, foreign imported goods were raised dramatically in America. However, southern states could locally manufacture the goods that foreign imports made more easily than the Northern states were able to, resulting in the federal government passing the "Tariff of Abominations." The goal of the tariff was to increase northern economy and boost industry, but ultimately caused more disunification
  • South Carolina Tries to Nullify

    South Carolina Tries to Nullify
    Also known as the Nullification Crisis, South Carolina attempted to invalidate the tariffs of 1828 1832, and declare them unconstitutional. South Carolina wrote an ordinance stating their view on the matter, outlining that they believed that State Law was stronger than Federal Law, The issue was solved with the publication of a bill written by Henry Clay, which enforced the gradual reduction of the 1828 and 1832 tariffs over a ten-year period.
  • Aboition of Slavery Act

    Aboition of Slavery Act
    After the Baptist War, a large slave revolt in Jamaica in 1831, and with the Anti-Slavery Societry already running, the Abolition of Slavery Act was all but inevitable. The act made al slaves free in Britain, and all slave owners paid for their lost worker. The Act also resulted in the founding of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, which worked towards world-wide abolition of slavery.
  • Texas Delcares Independence From Mexico

    Texas Delcares Independence From Mexico
    With the Texas Declaration of Independence created literally overnight, the independence of Texas was greatly needed. The convention met at Washington-on-the-Brazos, and the declaration was unanimous, conducted by representatives from different sections of Texas to decide its fate.
  • James Polk Elected

    James Polk Elected
    James Knox Polk was a democrat from North Carolina, and ran against Henry Clay in the election. The run for office was very close, but Polk won the election, and began presidency with the goals to reestablishment of the independent treasury system, lower the controversial tariffs, settle the Oregon boundary dispute, and to join California to the United States.
  • Mexican War

    Mexican War
    In the 1840’s the United States wanted to expand its territory, and looked west, towards Mexico. After President Polk attempted to make a treated with Mexico but war turned down, Polk sent troops to territory near the Rio Grande, and the Mexicans believed they were trespassing, and attacked, sparking the Mexican war, which lasted two years and resulted in a peace treaty which gave the United States the territory of Texas.
  • Wilmot Proviso

    Wilmot Proviso
    David Wilmot, a democrat representative, created an amendment to a previous bill, the latter banning slavery from all the states that were acquired from the Mexican War. This rider was passed by the House of Representatives, but was not enforced, and was proposed again it was defeated, causing more hard feelings between the North and South.
  • California Enters the Union

    California Enters the Union
    California petitions for statehood, and becomes the thirty-first state in the United States as a result of the compromise of 1850. The matter of California’s statehood was very controversial and caused heated debate in Congress, as it petitioned to be a free state.
  • The Fugitive Slave Law Enacted

    The Fugitive Slave Law Enacted
    The fugitive slave law stated that any federal marshal who did not arrest a runaway slave would be fined one thousand dollars. The slave would not be given a trial, not testify on his or her own behalf. Only four congressmen voted against this law.
  • Publification of Uncle Tom's Cabin

    Publification of Uncle Tom's Cabin
    Written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin was a book that ignited a nation, and was first published in a newspaper, but eventually was transformed into a book that sold nation-wide, and even across seas. The book based on slavery and much in favor of its abolition, it contributed to the Civil war and abolitionist argument, and was very controversial because of its content and biased views on slavery.
  • Formation of Republican Party

    Formation of Republican Party
    Men met in Ripon, Wisconson, to discuss the issue and create a party against the spread of slavery throughout the United States. The creation of the republication party consisted of northern whigs (those than favored a program of national development), northern democrats, and members of the “Know-Nothing Movement” (general Roman-Catholics) and the Free-Soil Party, an outspoken group during presidential elections.
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act Passed

    Kansas-Nebraska Act Passed
    This act officially established the states of Kansas and Nebraska. However, this addition to the States caused controversy due to the debate of whether or not slavery should be extended to the two new states. The act therefore stated that the two states could decide for themselves whether or not slavery would be enacted in those states, causing yet more debate and unrest.
  • "Border Ruffians" Attack Lawrence

    "Border Ruffians" Attack Lawrence
    Also known as the “Sack of Lawrence,” the border ruffians who attacked the town consisted of an average of eight hundred armed pro-slavery advocates. Lawrence was the center of Kansas and therefore the anti-slavery movement, and the armed forces proceeded to destroy printing presses, newspaper offices, and loot homes and shops across the entire town. The attack was the first act of armed battle in the Civil War, however, the actual war was not official until five years later.
  • Charles Sumner Attacked

    Charles Sumner Attacked
    Tensions over slavery in the United States were rising, and reached a breaking point in the halls of Congress, at least for Southern Congressman Preston Brooks, who attacked Charles Sumner, a Northern Senator. Brooks beat Sumner with a cane, as three days earlier Sumner had delivered a speech about slavery that southerners found offensive. Brooks was forced to resign, but was immediately re-elected, and it was three years before Sumner could return to senate.
  • Pottawatomie Creek

    Pottawatomie Creek
    Under cover of darkness, John Brown, a Northerner with strong views about anti-slavery, and his four sons and son-in-law travelled down to Pottawatomie Creek in Franklin County, where pro-slavery settlers were staying. The six men murdered these pro-slavery men, although what was not the original intention (but plans changed when several attempted to escape).
  • Dred Scott Decision Announced

    Dred Scott Decision Announced
    Dred Scott, a slave who was brought to several free northern states by his slaveholders, sued his master for his freedom. His agreement was that he was no longer a slave when he legally lived in a free state. His case was taken and eventually brought to federal court, finally resulting in the decision decreed by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney: Scott was not a citizen of the United States and was therefore not given the right to sue, and Scott was also not a person, as slaves are property.
  • Lecompton Constitution Passed

    Lecompton Constitution Passed
    A pro-slavery document created to decide Kansas’s position of a slavery or non-slavery state, the Lecompton Constitution claimed to concretely decide just that. The constitution essentially made slavery legal in Kansas, banned free black men from living in the state, and allowed only men to vote. After three separate votes on the constitution Kansas rejected it on the third.
  • Lincoln-Douglas Debates

    Lincoln-Douglas Debates
    The 1858 election campaign for U.S. senator from Illinois was primary faugh between Abraham Lincoln, a lawyer from Springfield, against Senator Stephen A. Douglas, a politician running for presidency in 1860. The two men participated in seven debates across Illinois, arguing the critical issues that divided America during that time: slavery and black men independence, as well as popular sovereignty among the states. The debates resulted in Lincoln’s loss, and Doulas gained the seat.
  • Raid at Harper's Ferry

    Raid at Harper's Ferry
    John Brown believed that by securing weapons he and about twenty other men would be able to help free slaves, and as a result they attacked the U.S. Federal Arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. The raid lasted almost three days, during which they planned an initiated the attack, fled and attacked a train (killing a free black man aboard), hid for the last day and were eventually captured.
  • Formation of the Constitutional Union Party

    Formation of the Constitutional Union Party
    The Constitutional Union Party consisted mostly of former Whigs, members of the Know-Nothings and other groups in the South. Twenty state delegates attended the convention in Baltimore, Maryland, and nominated John Bell for President. The party’s goal was to disregard sectional slave issues and focus on following the Constitution.
  • Election of 1860

    Election of 1860
    The four most popular and well-known candidates for the 1860 election were Stephen Douglas from Illinois, John C. Breckinridge from Kentucky, John Bell from Tennessee, and Abraham Lincoln, also from Illinois. Lincoln, a republican and former lawyer, won the election, receiving one-hundred and eighty electoral votes and 1,865,593 popular votes, while Breckenridge got seventy-two electoral votes, Bell thirty-nine and Douglas twelve.
  • Democrats Split

    Democrats Split
    The democrats in 1860 became divided when Douglas was chosen as their candidate; Northern democrats supported him while southern democrats desired the abolishment of the Freeport Doctrine and supported a federal slave law. Essentially the party split because of their disagreements on slavery, and the fact that half their party were northerner and the other half southerners and because of this the creation of the Republican Party is partially credited to this split. .