Civil war soldiers

Foreboding: The Coming of the Civil War

By Dunce
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    The Road to War

  • The Missouri Compromise

    The Missouri Compromise
    The issue of slavery was beginning to cause tensions between the North and South. In order to satisfy both pro-slavery Southerners and anti-slavery Northerners, the 36'30 line was created. The only state north of this line that could be a slave state would be Missouri, and Maine would be admitted to the Union to maintain equal power in the Senate.
  • Polk's War on Mexico

    Polk's War on Mexico
    In order to achieve his goal of expanding (aka "manifest destiny), Polk wanted to take California, New Mexico, and parts of Texas. He then proceeded to declare war on Mexico (without the permission of Congress), the then owner of the territories. After the war ended in 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago was signed, providing new territory for America. This outraged many Northerners, saying that the war was for more territory that could eventually become slave states.
  • Wilmot's Proviso

    Wilmot's Proviso
    In 1849, Congressman David Wilmot proposed a bill to ban slavery in all territories acquired from Mexico. This outraged Southerners, further leading them to believe that Northerners were set on abolishing slavery.
  • Fugitive Slave Act

    Fugitive Slave Act
    Part of the Compromise of 1850 was a revised Fugitive Slave Act. This act required all Northerners to report runaway slaves, and that slave owners could claim any black as a runaway slave. The accused would be sent to a judge, who would receive more money for declaring the slave a runaway. This outraged Northerners even further, because now the horrors of slavery were at their front door.
  • Kansas Nebraska Act

    Kansas Nebraska Act
    In 1854, the Kansas Nebraska was passed by Southern democrats and sympathetic Northerners. This act essentially repealed the Missouri Compromise, and introduced the concept of popular sovereignty. Essentially, the idea was to let people choose if they want slavery or not. This outraged anti-slavery Northerners and abolitionists, because it now provided even more opportunity for slavery's expansion.
  • Bleeding Kansas

    Bleeding Kansas
    Shortly after the passing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, pro-slavery Missourians and radical abolitionists from the North scrambled into Kansas in order to determine whether it would be free or slave. 100s of people were killed in cold blood, further leading to the belief that the slavery issue could only be settled with violence.
  • The Republican Party is Born

    The Republican Party is Born
    As a response to the chaos and despicable acts taking place in Kansas, anti-slavery Northerners met at Ripon, WI, and formed the Republican Party. Southerners saw this as a further threat to them, and thus the gap betwen North and South got even bigger.
  • The Two Party System Crumbles

    The Two Party System Crumbles
    As a result of the Republican Party's formation, the Democratic party become increasingly pro-South. This essentially signaled the end of any sort of compromise between Northern and Southern congressmen.
  • The Wrath of Preston Brooks

    The Wrath of Preston Brooks
    Tensions between North and South further escalated when Congressman Preston Brooks of S.C. beat Charles Sumner after he gave a speech that severely condemned slavery. Northerners were horrified at the act, and considered Sumner a hero. Southerners applauded the act, and sent him gifts of new canes, along with encouragement to do it again.
  • Dred Scott case - "You are a mule"

    Dred Scott case - "You are a mule"
    The 1857 ruling of the Supreme Court that Congress could not prevent expansion of slavery into new territories outraged Northerners. One of the justices went further, noting to the run-away slave Dred Scott that was suing that "you are a mule."
  • A House Divided

    A House Divided
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin

    Uncle Tom's Cabin
    In 1851, Harriet Beecher Stowe published "Uncle Tom's Cabin". By 1858 it was a best-seller among Northerners, while Southerners burned the book and in some cases beat those who had it. Northerners were outraged at the brutality of slavemasters, while Southerners were outraged at their biased portrayal in the book.
  • John Brown's War on Slavery

    John Brown's War on Slavery
    John Brown, a radical abolitionist, attempted a raid on the Federal arsenal in Harper's Ferry, VA. His plan was to rally the local slaves and arm them in a revolt, which failed miserably. Southerners praised his execution and called him a villain, while many Northerners saw him as a martyr.
  • The Presidential Election of 1860

    The Presidential Election of 1860
    Now that Abraham Lincoln, a free soiler (that is, keep slavery but do NOT let it expand), was in power, there was no doubt to Southerners now that slavery would be attacked soon by the Federal government. Two options faced them: lose the economic backbone of their society, or secede from the Union.
  • Crittenden Compromise

    Crittenden Compromise
    One final and vain attempt to save the Union by essentially returning to the Missouri Compromise of 1820. It attracted little support, as years of tension, bickering, and violence were taking their final tolls on the Union.
  • So it begins

    So it begins
    The final straw was drawn when Confederate forces fired on the Federal fort of Fort Sumter in order to stop the Federal troops from receiving fresh supplies. By this point, 7 states had left the Union, and with Lincoln's call for troops to put down the rebellion, 4 more would follow. There was no turning back now.