Factors Leading Up to the Start of the Civil War

  • Misouri Compromise

    Misouri Compromise
    A compromise that was meant to be a permanent solution to the slave debate but in reality only lasted 35 years. This compromise involved the annexation of Missouri into the Union and the annexation of Maine (to equal out the number of free to slave states). It also entailed a declaration that slavery in the territory of the Louisiana Purchase could not expand beyond the 36/30 longitude and latitude line
  • Mexican-American War

      Mexican-American War
    Driven by Polk's lust and America's firm belief in manifest destiny, United States entered intoa war with Mexico which was quite unpopular among Americans yet very important to Polk. Polk sought to take Californa, New Mexico, and part of Texas from Mexico. The war ended in 1848 upon the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which resulted in America requiring vast territories below the 36/30 line.
  • Wilmot Proviso

    Wilmot Proviso
    Congressman David Wilmot proposed a law to ban slavery in all the new territories acquired from the Mexican-American War. Although it passed through the House of Representatives it was blocked in the Senate and never became a law.
  • Fugitive Slave Act

    Fugitive Slave Act
    A law that was part of the Compromise of 1850 which encouraged slave owners to persue run away slaves into the North and obligated the Northerners to turn slaves they found in for fear of jail time.
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act

    Kansas-Nebraska Act
    This act repealed the Missouri Compromise's prohibition of slavery above the 36/30 line and allowed slavery to be possible in any territory of the United States as long as its people voted for it. This was called popular sovereignty.
  • Bleeding Kansas

    Bleeding Kansas
    The first test of popular sovereignty occured here. This prompted lot of fighting , beating, and murders between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery residents. Two legeslatures and constitutions were made.
  • Formation of a New Republican Party

    Formation of a New Republican Party
    The Republican Party was created in the north in response to the bleeding of Kansas. One of its main proposals involved the restriction of slavery in all territories. The creation of this party was percieved as a declaration of War for many Southerners.
  • The Breakdown of the Two Party System

    The Breakdown of the Two Party System
    Due to the creation of the Republican party which represented the preferences of the North, the Democratic party began to represent primarily Southern interests. The two party system had always promoted moderation and compromise thus upon its demise, candidates became increasingly more radical.
  • Congressman Preston Brooks Beats Senator Charles Sumner

    Congressman Preston Brooks Beats Senator Charles Sumner
    Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina beat Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts with a cane after Sumner gave a speech that not only attacked the institution of slavery but said various offensive things about his uncle as well. Sumner did not return to Congress for four years and was considered a hero in the North while Sumner was considered a hero in the South. South's level of respect for Sumner following the incident greatly offended Northerners.
  • Dred Scott Case

    Dred Scott Case
    In the Dred Scott case, the Southern-dominated Supreme court effectively nullified the Missouri Compromise and the Kansas-Nebraska Act by ruling that Congress could not restrict slavery in any territory. This strengthened the Northern suspicion that slave owners, if given the opportunity, would attempt to legalize slavery across the entire USA
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin Became a Best Seller of All Time

    Uncle Tom's Cabin Became a Best Seller of All Time
    Harriet Beecher Stowe's anti-slavery novel had a profound impact on the Northern opinions of slavery by shocking them with the heart-wrenching accounts of what slavery was really like. Southerners were outraged, claiming the novel to be an inaccurate portrayal of slavery.
  • The Monumental Debate Between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas

    The Monumental Debate Between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas
    This debate occurred during the 1858 election for the Illinois senate seat between Lincoln and Douglas. Within this famous debate, Lincoln used such famous arguments such as "A house divided against itself cannot stand" to support his belief that the United States could not remain half slavery and half free. Meanwhile, Douglas supported the idea of popular sovereignty (Freeport Doctrine).
  • John Brown Failed Attempt of a Slave Revolt at Harper's Ferry Virginia

    John Brown Failed Attempt of a Slave Revolt at Harper's Ferry Virginia
    John Brown, who believed that God wanted him to free the slaves, attempted to arm slaves to rise up against their masters in Virginia. Although it was an utter failure and the only casualty was a slave, the plan cemented Southerner's opinion that Northerners were all ready to provide knives to slaves to slay their masters. Southerners, who had a deep fear of slave revolts, no longer felt safe in the Union.
  • 1860 Presidential Election

    1860 Presidential Election
    The election was essentially a national referendum on the extension of slavery due to the fact that the two candidates were on opposite sides of the sectional conflict. Abraham Lincoln was an anti-slavery northern republican and John C. Breckinridge was a pro-slavery Southern democrat. Lincoln won due to the North's larger population. To many Southerners, Lincoln winning the election proved that they had no choice but to secede from the union in order to prevent abolitionism from occurring.
  • Crittenden Compromise

    Crittenden Compromise
    The last-ditch effort to save the Union which failed to attract widespread support. The compromise entailed returning back to the Missouri Compromise. It called for slavery to be forbidden north of 36/30 line and protected below it. However, it was simply too late. Too much violence, murders, and disagreements had already occurred.
  • The South Secedes from the Union

    The South Secedes from the Union
    By February, seven states had seceded from Union and by April, after the fall of Fort Sumter and Lincoln made it clear that he would fight to keep the Union together, four more seceded. Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina remained one of the few federal forts to not be turned over peacefully to the state governments. On April 12, 1861, Southern forces attacked Fort Sumter to prevent it from being resupplied and upon its fall constituted the opening of hostilities between North and South.