Events leading to the Civil War

  • The American Colonization Society Forms

    The American Colonization Society Forms
    was the primary vehicle to support the return of free African Americans to what was considered greater freedom in Africa. It helped to found the colony of Liberia in 1821–1822 as a place for freedmen. The ACS was a coalition made up mostly of evangelicals and Quakers who supported abolition, and Chesapeake slaveholders who understood that unfree labor did not constitute the economic future of the nation. By 1867, the ACS had assisted in the movement of more than 13,000 Americans to Liberia.
  • Missouri Compromise

    Missouri Compromise
    was an agreement passed in 1820 between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States Congress, involving primarily the regulation of slavery in the western territories. It prohibited slavery in the former Louisiana Territory except within the boundaries of the proposed state of Missouri. Prior to the agreement, the House of Representatives had refused to accept this compromise, and a conference committee was appointed.
  • The American Antislavery Society Forms

    The American Antislavery Society Forms
    The American Antislavery Society was an abolitionist society founded by William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur Tappan. By 1838, the society had 1,350 local chapters with around 250,000 members. The society's antislavery activities frequently met with violent public opposition, with mobs invading meetings, attacking speakers, and burning presses.
  • The Liberty Party Forms

    The Liberty Party Forms
    The Liberty Party was a minor political party in the United States in the 1840s (with some offshoots surviving into the 1850s and 1860s).The party was an early advocate of the abolitionist cause.It broke away from the American Anti-Slavery Society to advocate the view that the Constitution was an anti-slavery document.The party included abolitionists who were willing to work within electoral politics to try to influence people to support their goals, opposed voting and working within the system.
  • The Mexican-Amnerican War Starts

    The Mexican-Amnerican War Starts
    The Mexican-American War was an armed conflict between the United States of America and Mexico. American forces quickly occupied New Mexico and California, then invaded parts of Northeastern Mexico and Northwest Mexico. After Mexico would still not agree to the cession of its northern territories, another American army captured Mexico City, and the war ended in victory of the U.S.
  • Wilmot Proviso

    Wilmot Proviso
    The Wilmot Proviso was one of the major events leading to the American Civil War, would have banned slavery in any territory to be acquired in the Mexican War or in the future, but which some proponents construed to also include the disputed lands in south Texas and New Mexico east of the Rio Grande. David Wilmot first introduced the Proviso in the United States House of Representatives on a $2,000,000 appropriations bill intended for the final negotiations to resolve the Mexican-American War.
  • The Free Soil Party Forms

    The Free Soil Party Forms
    The Free Soil Party was a short-lived political party in the United States active in the 1848 and 1852 presidential elections, and in some state elections. It was a third party and a single-issue party. The party leadership consisted of former anti-slavery members of the Whig Party and the Democratic Party. Its main purpose was opposing the expansion of slavery into the western territories, arguing that free men on free soil comprised a morally and economically superior system to slavery.
  • California Gold Rush

    California Gold Rush
    The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The effects of the Gold Rush were substantial. San Francisco grew from a small settlement of about 200 residents in 1846 to a boomtown of about 36,000 by 1852. Roads, churches, schools and other towns were built throughout California. John Marshall found shiny metal in the tailrace of a lumber mill Marshall was building for Sutter on the American River.
  • The Compromise of 1850

    The Compromise of 1850
    The Compromise of 1850 was a package of five bills, passed in September 1850, which defused a four-year confrontation between the slave states of the South and the free states of the North regarding the status of territories acquired during the Mexican-American War.
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin is Published

    Uncle Tom's Cabin is Published
    Uncle Tom's Cabin is an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Published in 1852, the novel "helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War", according to Will Kaufman. Uncle Tom's Cabin was the best-selling novel of the 19th century and the second best-selling book of that century, following the Bible. The book and the plays it inspired helped popularize a number of stereotypes about black people.
  • The Kansas-Nebraska Act

    The Kansas-Nebraska Act
    This act created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, opening new lands for settlement, and had the effect of repealing the Missouri Compromise of 1820 by allowing settlers in those territories to determine through Popular Sovereignty whether they would allow slavery within each territory. The act was designed by a Democratic Senator of Illinois. The initial purpose of the Kansas–Nebraska Act was to open up many thousands of new farms and make feasible a Midwestern Transcontinental Railroad.
  • The Sumner-Brooks Affair

    The Sumner-Brooks Affair
    Charles Sumner of Massachusetts delivered a two-day speech entitled The Crime Against Kansas. He described excesses that occurred there and the South’s complicity in them. Only some of what he said was true.Sumner himself regarded the speech as the "most thorough phillipic ever uttered in a legislative body." He described Senator Butler as having a mistress, slavery, which was polluted in the sight of the world. Douglas was branded as the "squire of slavery.
  • The Dred Scott Decision

    The Dred Scott Decision
    On March 6, 1857 the Supreme Court ruled that Congress had no power to prohibit slavery in the territories. In 1846 Dred Scott, sued for his freedom. Scott argued that while he had been the slave of an army surgeon, he had lived for four years in Illinois, a free state, and Wisconsin, a free territory, and that his residence on free soil had erased his slave status. In 1850 a Missouri court gave Scott his freedom, but two years later, the Missouri Supreme Court returned Scott to slavery.
  • The Lincoln-Douglas Debates

    The Lincoln-Douglas Debates
    The Lincoln-Douglas debates were a series of seven debates between Abraham Lincoln, the Republican candidate for Senate in Illinois, and the incumbent Senator Stephen Douglas, the Democratic Party candidate. In agreeing to the debates, Lincoln and Douglas decided to hold one debate in each of the nine congressional districts in Illinois. The main theme of the debates was slavery, especially the issue of slavery's expansion into the territories.
  • The Election of 1860

    The Election of 1860
    By the election of 1860 profound divisions existed among Americans over the future course of their country, and especially over the South's slavery. The nation had been divided throughout the 1850s on questions surrounding the expansion of slavery and the rights of slave owners. In 1860, these issues finally came to a head. As a result of conflicting regional interests, the Democratic Party broke into Northern and Southern factions, and a new Constitutional Union Party appeared.