Civil war

The Road to the Civil War

  • Missouri Compromise

    Missouri Compromise
    The Missouri Compromise attempted to settle the issue of slavery in the expansion of the Louisiana Purchase by using the 36-30 line. It prohibited slavery north of the line, excluding Missouri. This line divided the nation even more and seperated the slave and free territories. It also led to Tallmadge Amendement, which did not pass but caused even more tension.
  • Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

    Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
    President Polk signed this treaty, allowing there to be vast new slave territories below the 36-30 line. This greatly disturbed the North because it upset the balance of free and slave territories. This treaty confirmed the fear of the Northerners that the War with Mexico was the Southerners' attempt to acquire more slave territory.
  • Wilmot's Proviso

    Wilmot's Proviso
    This law, proposed by Congressman David Wilmot, was to ban slavery in all territory acquired from Mexico. The Proviso passed in the House, but the Senate majority was Southerners so they blocked and killed it. At this time the Union had equal number of slave and free states (15) so the South did all it could to protect slavery. The Southerners feared that when the North gained control of the Senate, slavery would be restricted and abolished; their way of life shattered.
  • Fugitive Slave Act

    Fugitive Slave Act
    This new slave act allowed slave owners to pursue their run away slaves from the North. The Northern abolitionists were shocked and this was the most controversial part of the Compromise of 1850. The slaves had no trial by jury and the judges were "special commissioners" that were paid $5 for releasing slaves and $10 for returning them to their owner. The Northerners fought for some slaves freedom and the Underground Railroad immensly helpful.
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin

    Uncle Tom's Cabin
    This anti-slavery novel written by Harriet Stowe had a huge impact on how many Northerners thought about slavery. If they didn't already not like slavery, their minds were changed. Now not only did they not slavery, they thought it was cruel and inhumane. The South was furious at the exaggeration of the brutality of slavery and burned the books.
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act

    Kansas-Nebraska Act
    This act repealed the Missouri Compromise's prohibition of slavery north of the 36-30 line and pushed popular sovereignty instead. This said that the people should decided whether slavery should be prohibited or not. This act destroyed the political parties of the Whigs and Northern Democrats and they formed a new party called the Republican Party. The nation was now split by political parties also, Republicans in the North, and Democrats in the South.
  • Bleeding Kansas

    Bleeding Kansas
    In Kansas, popular sovereignty was being tested for the first time and it was a disaster. "Border Ruffians" crossed the Missouri-Kansas border to promote slavery, while Northern abolitionists also poured in armed with rifles. Many people died in useless murders, such as the Potawatami Massacre and the works of John Brown, and it was determinded that compromises were no longer possible for slavery.
  • Formation of Republican Party

    Formation of Republican Party
    The Northeners were outraged at the acts of Bleeding Kansas, the Fugitive Slave Act, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act and this led to the formation of the Republican Party. It was a party of the North focused on restricting slavery from all territories. This was basically a declaration of war for the South and the nation was clearly divided with its political parties.
  • Breakdown of the Two-Party System

    Breakdown of the Two-Party System
    The emergence of the Republican Party, and the Democratic Party reflecting views of the South, led to the breakdown of two parties in the nation. This signaled the end of the North and South working together. The candidates that ran were quite radical on either ending slavery or extending it.
  • Congressman Preston Brooks beat Senator Charles Sumner

    Congressman Preston Brooks beat Senator Charles Sumner
    After Charles Sumner delieved a speech that attacked slavery and a few individuals, Preston Brooks took offense and beat Sumner heavily with his cane, This was significant because it showed that even elected officials were fighting and they couldn't even have respectable, diplomatic talks. Although it is twisted, the South saw Brooks as a hero and sent him many canes urging him to "hit him again." If even political figures can't act with common sense, the nation must clearly be coming undone.
  • Dred Scott Case

    Dred Scott Case
    The southern dominated Supreme Court ruled that Congress couldn't restrict slavery, nullifying Missouri Compromise and Kansas/Nebraska Act. Northern abolitionists were infuriated and once the North controlled the Senate, they would change the officals in the Supreme Court. The South was joyus but then the Supreme Court also ruled that the states couldn't interfere with enforcement of federal law.
  • Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas Debate

    Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas Debate
    Said to one of the most profound debates in American history, it was between two northerners with two completely different ideas. Lincoln argued that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." He explained that the US could not continue half slave and half free. The South overreacted and thought Lincoln was going to abolish slavery, where he meant they can't continue to fight and it can't expand. Douglas argued for popular sovereignty (later known as Freeport Doctrine).
  • Harper's Ferry, Virginia

    Harper's Ferry, Virginia
    John Brown organzied an attempt at a slave revolt, that failed miserably. The outcome was not the important part though. Southerners were outraged to see that the North could and would arm slaves, and the South believed they were not safe in the Union any longer. Slave revolts were the one thing the South feared the most and the North was pretty much encouraging the slaves by providing them with some weapons.
  • 1860 Presidential Election

    1860 Presidential Election
    The election was based off of the issue of slavery with Lincoln (Republican, anti-slavery), and Breckenridge (Democrat, anti-slavery), with various compromising candidates. Thanks to the North's large population, Lincoln won the election and the South lost all hope. They thought their only option left was to abandon the Union, and that's what they started doing. They would rather leave then change their values that they held close to themselves.
  • Crittenden Compromise

    Crittenden Compromise
    This was the last effort to save the Union but it was too late; the paranoia had already run too deep and blood was already shed. It proposed to returning to the Missouri Compromise's 36-30 line and its previous terms. North of the line slavery would be forbidden, and south of it, it would be protected.
  • Seceding and Fort Sumter

    Seceding and Fort Sumter
    Before the fall of Fort Sumter, seven states from the Lower South had seceded from the Union. The federal fort in Charleston was not peacefully handed over to the government and Southern forces attacked Fort Sumter to prevent it from being supplied. When Fort Sumter fell, four states from the Upper South seceded as well. Lincoln then called for volunteers and made it clear he would fight to keep the South in the Union. There was definietly no way to turn back now.