Major Events Before and After the Civil War

  • Missouri Compromise

    Missouri Compromise
    It was passed in 1820 between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery people in Congress, involving the regulation of slavery in the western territories. It outlawed slavery in the former Louisiana Territory north of the parallel 36°30′ north except within the boundaries of the proposed state of Missouri.
  • Wilmot Proviso

    President Polk submitted his Appropriations Bill of 1846 requesting Congress' approval of the $2 million to be given to Mexico from the Treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo. David Wilmot attached a document which would have banned slavery from the territory. The South rejected the Wilmot Proviso and it provoked a debate on slavery at the federal level.
  • Compromise of 1850

    The compromise called for the admission of California as a free state, leaving Utah and New Mexico without restrictions on slavery, adjusting the New Mexico/Texas border, aboloting the slave trade in District of Columbia, and tougher fugitive slave laws.
  • Fugitive Slave Act

    These laws provided for the return of escaped slaves to their owners. The North was particularly lax about enforcing the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, which annoyed the South. The 1850 law was tougher and focused on eliminating the Underground Railroad.
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin

    Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote an abolitionist book from the point of view of a slave. It helped to crystalize the conflict between the North and the South. It has been called the greatest American propaganda novel ever written, and helped to bring about the Civil War.
  • "Bleeding Kansas"

    After the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, pro-slavery forces from Missouri crossed the border into Kansas and attacked and murdered anti-slavery settlers. The anti-slavery then carried out more attacks. The war continued for four years before the anti-slavery forces won.
  • Sumner-Brooks Affair

    Charles Sumner gave a two-day speech on the Senate floor. He denounced the South for crimes against Kansas and singled out Senator Andrew Brooks of South Carolina for extra abuse. Brooks beat Sumner over the head with his cane, severely crippling him. Sumner was the first Republican martyr.
  • Dred Scott Decision

    A Missouri slave sued for his freedom, claiming that his four-year stay in the northern portion of the Louisiana Territory made free land by the Missouri Compromise had made him a free man. The US Supreme Court decided he couldn't sue in federal court because he was considered property, not a citizen.
  • John Brown, Harper's Ferry Raid

    John Brown, Harper's Ferry Raid
    The militiant abolitionist John Brown seized the US arsenal at Harper's Ferry. He planned to end slavery by massacring slave owners and freeing their slaves. He was captured and excecuted.
  • Election of Abraham Lincoln

    With the election of Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln, South Carolina followed by six other states seceded from the Union. Even though his views about slavery were considered moderate during the nomination and election, South Carolina had warned it would secede if he won. Lincoln agreed with the majority of the Republican Party that the South was becoming too powerful.
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    Civil War

  • Battle of Bull Run

    At Bull Run, Confederate soldiers charged Union men who were on route to besiege Richmond. Union troops fled back to Washington. Confederates didn't realize heir victory in time to follow up on it. It was the first major battle of the Civil War and both sides were ill-prepared.
  • Emancipation Proclamation

    Lincoln freed all slaves in the States that had seceded after the victory of Antietam. This didn't extend to the slaves in the border states. Lincoln had no power to enforce the law because the South had created their own nation with their own government.
  • Battle of Vicksburg

    37,402 casualties
    Union victory
    110,000 forces engaged
    Cut the Confederacy in two
    They made it impossible for them to coordinate their war effort in East and West
    The capture of Vicksburg was a decisive event of the war
    Resulted in Mississippi River to the Union
  • Battle of Gettysburg

    51,112 casualties
    Union victory
    There were 165,620 forces engaged. It was considered the turning point of the war. General Lee invaded the North and the North was victorious. It marked the last offensive move Lee makes, and he retreats for the rest of the war.
  • 13th Amendment

    The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. Following the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment by Congress, Republicans grew concerned over the increase it would create in the congressional representation of the Democratic-dominated Southern states. Because the full population of freed slaves would be counted rather than three-fifths, the Southern states would dramatically increase their power.
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    Reconstruction

    Lincoln's Reconstruction Plan (10% plan) where 10% of voters pledged to the Union and the state could rejoin the Union. Lincolns goal was to reunite the US as quickly and painlessly as possible. Andrew Johnson's plan was similar but required southern states to rewrite state constitution. Radical Republican plan took place. It reconstructed the south to look like the north.
  • Lincoln Assasination

    Lincoln Assasination
    John Wilkes Booth planned for months to abduct Lincoln at the start of the war, but were unsuccessful. He shot Lincoln at Ford's Theatre while Lincoln was watching a play. President Johnson then took office.
  • Battle of the Appomatox Courthouse

    700 casualties
    Union victory
    89,285 forces engaged
    Final engagement of the Civil War
    Lee surrendered to Grant and ended the war
    Surrender papers signed near the Courthouse
  • Andrew Johnson takes office

    A democratic southerner from Tennessee elected as vice president with Lincoln. After Lincoln was assassinated, Johnson became president. He opposed Radical Republicans who passed Reconstruction Acts over his veto. He was the first US president to be impeached.
  • 14th Amendment

    The amendment addresses citizenship rights and equal protection of the laws, and was proposed in response to issues related to former slaves following the American Civil War. The amendment was bitterly contested, particularly by Southern states, which were forced to ratify it in order for them to regain representation in the Congress.
  • 15th Amendment

    The 15th amendment prohibits the federal and state governments from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen's "race, color, or previous condition of servitude". It was ratified on February 3, 1870, as the third and last of the Reconstruction Amendments. It only included voting rights to men, not women.