Nation Breaking Apart

  • Wilmot Proviso

    The Wilmot Proviso was a bill that aimed to outlaw slavery in all territories taken from Mexico. The House of Representatives passed the bill, but it was defeated in the Senate, dividing Congress. This led to the creation of the Free-Soil Party, a political party dedicated to stopping slavery
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    Nation Breaking Apart

  • Compromise of 1850

    Senator Henry Clay crafted a plan to settle the problem of California becoming a state. The plan aimed to please both the North and the South. It would admit California as a free state, and Congress would not pass laws involving slavery for the rest of the territory won from Mexico. It also passed a new, stronger law to help slaveholders capture runaway slaves.
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act

    The Kansas-Nebraska Act was a bill drafted by Stephen A. Douglas. Douglas proposed that the Nebraska Territory be divided into two territories-Kansas and Nebraska. He suggested that the decision to allow slavery be decided by popular sovereignty. Southerners supported the bill because it would result in getting rid of the Missouri Compromise. However, it angered those who opposed slavery.
  • Election of 1856

    In the election of 1856, the Republican party nominated John C. Fremont, the Democrats nominated James Buchanan, and the Know Nothing Party nominated Millard Fillmore. In the North, Buchanan and Fremont battled, and in the South, Buchanan and Fillmore. Buchanan won the election, but Americans now knew that the Republican party was a major force, and the nation was divided over slavery.
  • Dred Scott vs. Sandford

    Dred Scott was once a slave in Missouri. After his owner took him to a territory where slavery was illegal, they returned to Missouri. Soon after his owner died, Scott sued for his freedom. He believed that since he had lived in a territory where slavery was illegal, he was a free man. In 1857, chief justice Roger B. Taney gave his opinion. He said that Scott was not a U.S. citizen, therefore he could not sue the courts. Also, he ruled that Scott was bound by Missouri's slave code.
  • Harpers Ferry Attack

    John Brown, an extreme abolitionist, had a plan. He wanted to inspire slaves to fight for their freedom by capturing the U.S. arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Brown and his followers succeeded, killing four people in the process. The U.S. marines attacked, and Brown was captured. On the day he was hanged, abolitionists tolled bells and fired guns, enraging Southerners.
  • Election of 1860

    Abraham Lincoln, Stephen A. Douglas, John Breckenridge, and John Bell ran in the election. Lincoln defeated Douglas in the North, and Breckenridge carried most of the South. Because there were more Northern states, Lincoln won the election. Although he promised not to abolish slavery, Southerners didn't trust him. They saw him as a threat to their way of life.
  • Southern Secession

    The southerners had warned of secession if Lincoln became president. They said that since they voluntarily joined the union, they could leave. Soon, seven states seceded from the Union. They then formed the Confederate States of America and declared themselves a country. this act eventually led to the civil war.