Road to the Civil War Timeline

Timeline created by julietbyrne
  • Northwest Ordinance

    Northwest Ordinance
    Act put in place by Congress as a policy for adding states to the nation from the Northwest Territory. They could draft a constitution and petition for statehood when their population got to 60,000. Once a state they would receive civil liberties, public education, and prohibition of slavery. This didn't actually increase tensions as pro-slave settlers hoped these states would be populated by white southerners so abolition wouldn't spread. This was a political issue (green).
  • Missouri Compromise

    Missouri Compromise
    The Missouri Compromise enacted that slavery would be allowed below, but not above the 36º 30' parallel. It admitted Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state. It balanced free v. slave states until it was repealed in 1854 by the Kansas-Nebraska Act. At first it postponed tensions, but it's repeal later on made tensions higher. This was a political issue as it set structure for adding new states to the US (green).
  • Nat Turner Rebellion

    Nat Turner Rebellion
    After spiritual messages and signs to rebel Nat Turner and a group of slaves traveled across Virginia killing around 60 white men, woman, and children. They freed slaves as well, many of which joined their uprising till they had 75 participants. They were stopped two days later by military forces. Nat Turner was executed and many innocent African Americans were killed by mobs. This revolt was a social issue as it was an uprising of slaves who felt the urge to gain their own freedom. (red)
  • Gag Rule

    Gag Rule
    It was first introduced in 1835, but passed a year later. It forbid the House of Reps from addressing all petitions relating to slavery without hearing them, with no further action to be taken on them. This angered anti-slavery leaders such as John Quincy Adams who loudly opposed its passing, declaring it a restriction on the freedom on speech. He was able to get it repealed in 1844. This was a political issue (red).
  • Amistad Case

    Amistad Case
    In 1839 53 slaves took charge of the Amistad ship and tried to sail back to Africa. The ship was captured on the Atlantic by the US. In their Supreme Court case John Quincy Adams argued that they couldn't be returned to slavery in Cuba. This was accepted in 1841 and the former slaves were returned to Africa. This represented slaves efforts to resist slavery. This is a political event as it includes a court case (red).
  • Annexation of Texas

    Annexation of Texas
    Texas gained its freedom from Mexico in 1836, but Jackson delayed statehood as it was likely to become a slave state. Texas tried to create a rival nation with help from Europe but this plan failed. Texas was a central issue in the election of 1844 as Polk favored adding Texas. This issue increased tensions between Texans who wanted another slave state and Northerners who were opposed to this. Texas was added as a slave state in 1845. This was a political issue (red).
  • Mexican War

    Mexican War
    Polk ordered troops to the Rio Grande and waited until Mexican troops attacked them to declare war. Whigs argued the war was unjustly started. The US gained control over New Mexico, California and Mexico's capital. On Feb 2nd, 1848 The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo settled the war, but division between antislavery leaders and expansionists grew. This was a political issue as the two countries fought each other for territory. (red).
  • Wilmont Proviso

    Wilmont Proviso
    President Polk was trying to appropriate $2 million for peace with Mexico. David Wilmont proposed an amendment to the bill that would prohibit slavery in territory acquired from Mexico during the war. This was debated upon for years, but never passed. This lead up to the Civil War as southerners thought it an insult to their honor. This was a political issue as it was a proposal by a representative in Congress (red).
  • California Gold Rush

    California Gold Rush
    James Marshall found gold in the Sierra Nevada. Men called 49ers dropped their lives and rushed westward to get rich. Created jobs for Chinese immigrants and resulted in the exploitation of natives like slavery. Increased CAs population when migrants stayed. Put pressure on the federal government to add California as a state, increased South's anger as they didn't want any more free states. Social issue (red).
  • Compromise of 1850

    Compromise of 1850
    A compromise of 5 bills, introduced by Henry Clay, meant to resolve disputes over slavery in new territories. It included admitting California as a free state, letting new lands decide by popular sovereignty if they'd permit slavery, permitted slavery, but not the slave trade, in D.C., and the Fugitive Slave Act. The full compromise was defeated, but was split into separate acts that were all passed. This was a political issue and increased tensions that let to conflict (red).
  • Fugitive Slave Act

    Fugitive Slave Act
    Passed by Congress as part of the Compromise of 1850, but repealed in 1864. It stated that slaves would be returned to their masters if they were caught, even in a free state. The federal government was responsible for finding and returning slaves. Many northern states didn't enforce this act or made laws to stop it. Made tension over slavery that led to the war. This is a political issue as the government was trying to appease the North and South (red).
  • Publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin

    Publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin
    An anti-slavery novel published by Harriet Beecher Stowe. She was a free black who encountered slaves and the Underground Railroad. She wrote about these experiences, dramatized slavery, and had a major influence on Americans. It was popular among white Northerners and changed people's attitudes to be against slavery. This was a social issue as the public had influence on the lead up to the war (red).
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854

    Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854
    This law written by Stephen Douglass and Senator Butler organized the Nebraska territory into Kansas and Nebraska. They wanted a transcontinental railroad to go through this land. The bill included that states would chose to be free or slave based on popular sovereignty. This contradicted the Missouri Compromise so Douglass repealed it, angering abolitionists. This act caused "Bleeding Kansas" uprisings. This is a political issue as it was a new law that made slavery an even bigger issue. (red)
  • Ostend Manifesto

    Ostend Manifesto
    President Pierce was unsuccessfully trying to buy Cuba. He was sent a document from Ostend, Belgium in 1854 telling him to seize it by force. The document was leaked to the public, angering northerners who said the administration was trying to add another slave state to the Union. This was an economic and political issue as the government, over the issue of Cuba, created anger between the North and South (red).
  • Bleeding Kansas

    Bleeding Kansas
    From 1855-1859 attacks between anti-slavery and pro-slavery residents of Kansas occurred. Both groups wanted the state to go their way regarding slavery, they tried to gain power in Kansas' government. Violence started when pro-slavery men burned and destroyed abolitionist property. In the Pottawatomie Massacre, Brown killed 5 pro-slavery men. It resulted in the Republican party forming and bigger tensions diving the North and South. It was a social and political issue about slavery. (red)
  • Dred Scott Decision

    Dred Scott Decision
    Dred Scott's case was brought to the Supreme Court when he tried to sue in federal court for freedom. The court ruled 7-2 against Scott. He couldn't legally sue as slaves were not citizens. He was deemed property and since courts can't take people's private property, (5th amend) Scott lost. Missouri Compromise was stated as unconstitutional, Northern abolitionists were angry, and the Democratic party split. This is a political issue as it pertains to the freedom and citizenship of slaves. (red)
  • John Brown and the Raid on Harper’s Ferry

    John Brown and the Raid on Harper’s Ferry
    John Brown was a motivated abolitionist who planned a slave uprising in the South. He and 22 men planned to raid the federal arsenal in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. They hoped it would lead to an insurrection of armed slaves. Not many slaves joined his movement and they were stopped and captured by Robert E. Lee's soldiers while executing their plan. Brown was hanged after being found guilty for treason and murder. This was a social issue as it increased anger between the North and South (red)
  • Crittenden Compromise

    Crittenden Compromise
    John Crittenden made an unsuccessful proposal to reinstate the Missouri Compromise line westward and guarantee slavery in the South, to satisfy pro-slavery demands. He stated that none of these amendments could be repealed in the future as the goal was to make sure slavery would always exist in the US. This was a political issue as it was right before the first state seceded from the Union and started the Civil War conflict (red).