Civil war

Slavery and the Events Leading Up to the American Civil War

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    The Underground Railroad Pt1

    The Underground Railroad was a series of secret routes from the Southern states to Canada, run by a group of Northern abolitionists. Historians don’t know exactly when it started, but most say that it began in the early 1800s. The abolitionists who formed the Railroad wanted to end slavery, and didn’t wait until slavery was abolished to start helping slaves. They helped them by helping them running away. Most of said runaways were single, young men.
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    Underground Railroad Pt2

    They used many codes, most relating to religious texts, such as using ‘Moses’ to refer to Harriet Tubman, or, more importantly, railroad terminology, such as ‘parcel’, ‘conductor’, and ‘station’.
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    Underground Railroad Pt3

    There are many famous people who took the journey, such as Henry ‘Box’ Brown, a slave who shipped himself to freedom in a crate, and the aforementioned Harriet Tubman, who led hundreds of slaves to freedom and acquired a bounty of $40,000, which, after being adjusted for inflation, comes out to just over $1 million in today’s money. The Railroad ended in 1865, around the same time the Civil War ended: Its mission complete, and its legacy secured.
  • Pt 1 Frederick Douglass (Supposedly) Born

    Pt 1 Frederick Douglass (Supposedly) Born
    Frederick Douglass was born sometime in February 1818 in Maryland as a slave (He declared his birthday the 14th). Before he succeeded on September 3, 1838, he tried twice to escape. He arrived in New York and began attending abolitionist meetings, where he became a regular lecturer. Impressed, William Lloyd Garrison wrote of him in the Liberator. Douglass gave his first speech in Nantucket at an annual anti-slavery rally.
  • Pt 2 Frederick Douglass (Supposedly) Born

    Pt 2 Frederick Douglass (Supposedly) Born
    In 1845, he wrote his first autobiography with the support of Garrison, titled Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, which he would revise in 1855, 1881 and 1892.
    After publication of his autobiography, Douglass fled to Ireland to evade capture by slave catchers, then sailing to Liverpool to escape the Irish Potato Famine. While there, his British supporters were able to gather the funds to purchase his freedom, so, in 1847, he returned to the United States a free man.
  • Pt 3 Frederick Douglass (Supposedly) Born

    Pt 3 Frederick Douglass (Supposedly) Born
    After he returned, he began publishing several newspapers, the most popular of which was The North Star.
    By the time the Civil War began, he was the most famous black man in the world. On February 20, 1895, he returned home after a woman's suffrage meeting and died of a massive heart attack or stroke.
  • Pt 1 Missouri Compromise/ Compromise of 1820

    Pt 1 Missouri Compromise/ Compromise of 1820
    In the February of 1819, the territory of Missouri wanted to join the Union as a slave state. Northern politicians, opposed to the spread of slavery, pushed for the amendment proposed by Congressman James Tallmadge of New York, which would allow no more slaves in Missouri and those already there would be freed at the age of 25, which was rejected by the Senate.
  • Pt 2 Missouri Compromise/ Compromise of 1820

    Pt 2 Missouri Compromise/ Compromise of 1820
    Senator Pinkney of Maryland, who was opposed to the amendment, argued that it wouldn’t be fair if new states had conditions to join the Union because the original 13 didn’t have said conditions.
  • Pt 3 Missouri Compromise/ Compromise of 1820

    Pt 3 Missouri Compromise/ Compromise of 1820
    Before civil war broke out (that would come later), on March 3, 1820, the compromise proposed by Henry Clay was passed, which allowed Missouri to be a slave state if Maine was a free state, as well as the 36’ 30’ line of latitude, separating which territories would be free and which would be slave, with the exception of Missouri.
  • Nat Turner's Rebellion Pt1

    Nat Turner's Rebellion Pt1
    On August 22, 1831 to August 24 in Southampton, Virginia, a slave preacher by the name of Nat Turner led a rebellion of 60-70 slaves. The rebellion began on Tuner’s master’s plantation, the Travis plantation. The rebellion killed the entire family, including women and children, before moving on to other plantations. In the end, they killed 60 family members of other plantations. The Virginia Militia was called in and sent to put down the rebellion, with 3,000 men against 60-70.
  • Nat Turner's Rebellion Pt2

    Nat Turner's Rebellion Pt2
    Turner and his private army were captured and sent to trial. Nearly all were found guilty and hung, though some were found innocent.
    This rebellion sparked a wave of fear across the South, plantation owners fearing the same thing happening to them. A wave of mob violence followed, resulting in the lynching, beheading, and beating of 200 African-Americans, who had nothing to do with the rebellion.
  • Nat Turner's Rebellion Pt3

    Nat Turner's Rebellion Pt3
    Legislatures also passed ‘Black Codes’, which declared that African-Americans could not and would never vote, be a preacher, serve on a jury, own property, testify in court, learn to read and write, buy or sell goods, own a gun, or be in groups of 5 or more people.
  • Pt 1 Compromise of 1850 Signed

    Pt 1 Compromise of 1850 Signed
    Problems arose again in 1849, when California asked to join the Union as a free state. The South did not like this, having believed the territory would want to have slavery, with a majority of it under the previously established 36’ 30’ line of latitude. However, California wasn’t gained in the Louisiana Purchase, so the rules of the Missouri Compromise did not apply to it.
  • Pt 2 Compromise of 1850 Signed

    Pt 2 Compromise of 1850 Signed
    On January 29, 1850, the compromise proposed by Henry Clay of Missouri Compromise fame, Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, and Stephen Douglas was passed by Congress, ending the debate.
    The compromise did three main things. One: California joined the Union as a free state. Two: The slave trade in Washington D.C. was banned, but slavery itself was not banned. Three: The Fugitive Slave Act was passed.
  • Pt 3 Compromise of 1850 Signed

    Pt 3 Compromise of 1850 Signed
    The Fugitive Slave Act enraged northerners, abolitionists especially, and caused people previously indifferent to slavery to chose a side. The American Civil War was on the horizon.
  • Pt 1 Kansas-Nebraska Act Passed

    Pt 1 Kansas-Nebraska Act Passed
    Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois wanted two things: For Chicago to become the railroad hub to the west, and to run for president. However, these goals conflicted because for Chicago to become a railroad hub, Kansas and Nebraska had to become states. But, both of these states were above the 36’ 30’ line of latitude established in the Missouri Compromise, so both would become free states, which would lose the support of southern Democrats in his presidential run.
  • Pt 2 Kansas Nebraska Act Passed

    Pt 2 Kansas Nebraska Act Passed
    To try and solve both these problems, he proposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the worst piece of United States legislation since the Three-Fifths Compromise.
    The proposed act would, essentially, make the Missouri Compromise null and void, removing the 36’ 30’ restriction and allowing the state’s populations decide whether or not they wanted slavery through a statewide vote, called popular sovereignty.
  • Pt 3 Kansas-Nebraska Act Passed

    Pt 3 Kansas-Nebraska Act Passed
    Because the Great Plains, where Kansas and Nebraska are located, had poor soil for cotton and slaves, Douglas assumed that the states would peacefully decide to ban slavery within their borders. He also assumed that northern republicans would not oppose his proposal. He was dead wrong. His own party called him a sell-out to Slave Power. Even through the outcry, the Act was passed on May 30, 1954. A small-scale civil war was brewing in Kansas, and it was all Stephen Douglas’ fault.
  • Pt 1 The Sacking of Lawrence Begins Bleeding Kansas

    Pt 1 The Sacking of Lawrence Begins Bleeding Kansas
    After the Kansas-Nebraska Act passed, both sides on the slavery issue packed their bags and moved to Kansas to try to influence the vote to their side. The abolitionists who moved were from the New England area, and called free soilers, while the slavery supporters came from Missouri illegally. Both set up camp with their allies, for those proslavery, in towns such as Leavenworth and Atchison, and the abolitionists set up in Lawrence, Topeka, and Manhattan. Tensions grew as the vote drew closer,
  • Pt 2 The Sacking of Lawrence Begins Bleeding Kansas

    Pt 2 The Sacking of Lawrence Begins Bleeding Kansas
    Tensions grew as the vote drew closer, and they eventually broke.
    Tensions boiled over when some eight hundred slavery supporters got drunk on the night of May 21, 1856, and raided Lawrence in an event known as the Sacking of Lawrence. In retaliation, the abolitionist John Brown led a group of five like-minded abolitionists to Pottawatomie Creek and murdered five proslavery men in front of their families. This began a cycle of violence, and gained the territory the nickname ‘Bleeding Kansas'.
  • Pt 1 Dred Scott Decision Made

    Pt 1 Dred Scott Decision Made
    The Dred Scott Case is quite possibly the worst decision made by the United States Supreme Court. A slave named Dred Scott and his family were bought by an army surgeon, who took them from the state of Missouri, a slave state, to the free territories of Illinois and Wisconsin then back to Missouri. Scott tried to sue for his freedom on the grounds that taking him to free territories made him a free man. The case began in 1846, and lasted until 1857.
  • Pt 2 Dred Scott Decision Made

    Pt 2 Dred Scott Decision Made
    On March 6, 1857, the Supreme Court ruled against him on the grounds that, as an African-American, he could not sue because he was not an American citizen. That in turn decided that anyone of African-American descent was not, and never could be, an American citizen. Scott remained a slave, but childhood friends bought him and his family’s freedom and set them free. Unfortunately, Scott died nine months later.
  • Pt 3 Dred Scott Decision Made

    Pt 3 Dred Scott Decision Made
    The decision also ruled that the Missouri Compromise’s 36’ 30’ line of latitude was unconstitutional, making any American land that was not a state was free game for slaveholders, even if the land was unfit for slaves. The decision basically guaranteed Abraham Lincoln’s nomination, and subsequent election, for president, which led to the South’s secession, which led to the Civil War.
  • Pt 1 Raid on Harpers Ferry

    Pt 1 Raid on Harpers Ferry
    On October 16, 1859, the abolitionist John Brown led a group of men, thirteen white and eight black, to attack the federal arsenal of Harper’s Ferry in modern-day West Virginia. His group wanted to seize the weapons and ammo at the arsenal to arm a large-scale slave uprising in Virginia, which would spread downwards through the country. After quietly taking the arsenal, and hostages, nothing went right for our merry band of musketeers.
  • Pt 2 Raid on Harpers Ferry

    Pt 2 Raid on Harpers Ferry
    None of the slaves intended to rebel did so, only angry townspeople did. Then, Colonel Robert E. Lee arrived with US troops to capture Brown. After half of his men were killed, including two of his sons, Brown surrendered and handed over to the state of Virginia. Brown, and his surviving men, were sentenced to death and executed, leaving behind of nothing but failure.
  • Pt 3 Raid on Hapers Ferry

    Pt 3 Raid on Hapers Ferry
    The raid guaranteed Civil War, as northerners refused to be ruled by people associated with ‘Slave Power’ and southerners refused to be ruled by Republicans. It also gave more power to southern militias, which was the beginning of the Confederate Army.
  • Pt 1 Election of 1860 Takes Place

    Pt 1 Election of 1860 Takes Place
    The Presidential Election of 1860 was the pivotal moment leading up to the Civil War. There were four candidates: Senator Abraham Lincoln for the Republicans, Stephen Douglas for Northern Democrats, Vice President John Breckinridge for Southern Democrats, and John Bell for the long-forgotten Constitutional Union party. On November 6, 1860, the nation held their breath, anxious for the result. Douglas won Missouri and the southern half of New Jersey, taking 12 electoral votes.
  • Pt 2 Election of 1860 Takes Place

    Pt 2 Election of 1860 Takes Place
    John Bell won Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, gaining 39 electoral votes. Breckinridge won the entire South, and 72 votes with it. Lincoln won the entire north and west, rounding out to 180 electoral votes, fairly becoming the next president of the United States. However, South Carolina had different ideas.
    On December 20, a month after the election, South Carolina seceded.
  • Pt 3 Election of 1860 Takes Place

    Pt 3 Election of 1860 Takes Place
    It did not matter that President Lincoln held moderate views on slavery, and only wanted to stop its spread, no he was a ‘radical’ republican, in ironic juxtaposition to today’s political allegiances. In fact, none of the presidential candidates wanted to explicitly end slavery, Lincoln was the only one who wanted to keep slavery limited. On April 12, 1861, Confederate forces fired upon Fort Sumter in the Charleston Harbor.
  • Pt 4 Election of 1860 Takes Place

    Pt 4 Election of 1860 Takes Place
    By June 8, 1861, after half a year under Lincoln’s rule, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee joined South Carolina in the ‘We Hate Abraham Lincoln’ club. The American Civil War had begun.