Events Leading to the Civil War

  • Missouri Compromise

    Missouri Compromise
    The Missouri Compromise divided the nation at 36 degrees and 30 minutes. This line created a boundary of where slave and free states could exist. With the exception of Missouri, states above the line would be free states. The Missouri Compromise was the first official physical division of the North and South.
  • War with Mexico

    War with Mexico
    When Polk, a slaveholder and southerner, signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo many northerners feard that many new slave territories would be allowed to exist in the Union due to the new vast amount of land aquired. These new territories would have the potential to upset the free to slave state balance.
  • Wilmot's Proviso

    Wilmot's Proviso
    Wilmont's Proviso was first introduced to the House of Representatives in 1846. The attempt to pass this bill greatly hindered relations between the North and the South. The creators of the bill wished to ban slavery from all former Mexican territories gained from the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
  • Fugitive Slave Act

    Fugitive Slave Act
    The Fugitive Slave Act, also know as the Compromise of 1850 stated that slave owners could pursue run-away slaves into the North. Additionally, northerners were expected to return slaves. Slaves were allowed no trial by jury and due to the fact that judges commisions would double if slaves were convicted and returned to their owners, many free blacks became enslaved. This hurt northerners because now they had to either support slavery or suffer consequences with the law.
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act

    Kansas-Nebraska Act
    This Act repealed the Missouri Compromise and left the issue of slavery up to the states and "popular sovereignty". Kansas was therefore expected to determine its own standing which led to "Bleeding Kansas". The Kansas-Nebraska Act also united the now demolished Whig party and northern Democrats to help for the Republican party.
  • Republican Party Formation

    Republican Party Formation
    The Republican party was established in Ripon, Wisconsin in 1855. The establishment was essentially a declaration of war to the South because Republican beliefs made their party mortal enemies to southerners.
  • Formation of the Two-Party System

    Formation of the Two-Party System
    The Formation of the Two-Party System further divided the nation because it showed that the North and South were no longer working together and pitted the two against eachother.
  • Brooks vs. Sumner

    Brooks vs. Sumner
    When congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina brutally beat Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts after Sumner's anti-slavery speach, the South's barbaric response along with the incident itself infuriated the North. This event further showed the falling apart of the nation because if due diligence couldnt exist in Congress, where could it?
  • "Bleeding Kansas" and the Sack of Lawerence

    "Bleeding Kansas" and the Sack of Lawerence
    Bleeding Kansas was significant because it was the first physical fighting truly identified as Kansas consisted of both pro-slavery individuals and abolitionists.
  • Dred Scott

    Dred Scott
    In 1857, it was decided that Congress couldn't restrict slave owning in any territories. This terrified the North as their "free-soil" campaign was beginning to fall apart.
  • Publishing of Uncle Tom's Cabin

    Publishing of Uncle Tom's Cabin
    Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin was published in 1851 and became a best seller by 1858. This anti-slavery novel described slave life which strengthened abolitionist's opinions against slavery. Southerner's, however, found this piece to be an extreme exaggeration. The would burn the book and beat those who owned it.
  • 1858 Illinois Election

    1858 Illinois Election
    During the Lincoln-Douglas debates for the 1858 Illinois Senate election, LIncoln gave his "House Divided" speech. While the two disagreed on nearly every subject, this particular speech was significant due to Lincoln pointing out that the Union wouldn't be able to exist half slave and half free. He made it clear to the nation that one side would have to give in. Douglas argues for popular sovereignty.
  • John Brown Slave Revolts

    John Brown Slave Revolts
    John Brown, an abolotionist greatly concerned the South when he armed slaves and began to try and start an uprising. He led the Pottawatomie Massacre during Bleeding Kansas and protested hoping to abolish slavery. The South then became convinced that many more northerners would be willing to do the same and supply the blacks with weapons.
  • 1860 Presidential Elections

    1860 Presidential Elections
    When Lincoln and Breckenridge both preached their open opinoins on slavery, it became clear the 1860 elections would be 100% sectional. Lincoln mad strong promises that he would stop the expansion of slavery so when he took the election the South came to the conclusion that they must either abandon the Union or lose slavery forever.
  • Southern Secession and Attacks

    Southern Secession and Attacks
    By April of 1861, 11 southern states had seceeded from the Union. Many forts and possessions had been turned over to state governments, but this did not include For Sumter. Southern forces attacked it to prevent it from being re-supplied. Lincoln then made it clear he would fight to keep the South in the Union, which led to the secession of four more states.
  • The Crittenden Compromise

    The Crittenden Compromise
    The Crittenden Compromise was an attempt to return back to th Missouri Compromise concept, but wasn't supported throughout the nation and didn't pass