Timeline 1846-1860

  • The Wilmot Proviso

    On August 8, 1846, Wilmot put out a proposal to ban slavery in any areas taken from Mexico. This proviso outlawed slavery everywhere that had been won through the Mexican War. The ability to transport slaves across the nation or into other areas was abolished. People in the South were upset by this. They claimed that they have the same protection under the Constitution as property rights. The Wilmot Proviso was never approved, but it had a significant impact on the nation. (Varon, 180-86)
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    Historical Events From 1846-1860

  • Compromise of 1850

    The Compromise of 1850 was 5 bills that were created to avoid conflict between the Northern and Southern states. It was an attempt to resolve the outstanding issue of slavery and to avoid the threat of dissolution of the Union. This affected the geography of America because it admitted California as a Free State and gave New Mexico and Utah the decision on becoming a Free or Slave Slate. The slave trade was abolished in Washington, D.C. (Varon, 210-17)
  • The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850

    A law passed by congress to require citizens to assist in the recovery of fugitive slaves who escaped from the South, and bring them back to their slave owners. It made runaway slaves flee to Canada for safety from being captured. It forced citizens to assist in the recovery of fugitives. If they were unwilling to assist, they were prosecuted. The law threatened slaves from running away. Northerners became angry because it allowed slavery to take place in free slavery states. (Varon, 235-43)
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin Published

    The Author, Stowe, spoke out about the injustices of slavery going against society's beliefs at the time. Uncle Tom's Cabin was written after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which made it illegal for anyone in the United States to offer aid or assistance to a runaway slave. The book constantly advocates the rapid emancipation of the slaves and freedom for everyone in an effort to criticize this law and the institution it supported. The Civil War occured after this book.(Stowe,194)
  • The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854

    This Act created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska. While Douglas's proposed division of the territory seemed to imply that the northern section, Nebraska, would be Free-Soil and the southern one, Kansas, would be open to slavery, for Douglas, the animating principle of the bill was the unimpeachably Democratic doctrine of popular sovereignty. It was passed by the 33rd United States Congress and signed into law by President Franklin Pierce. (Varon, 251-9)
  • Bleeding Kansas

    The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 was the cause of Bleeding Kansas. Between 1854 and 1861 in the Kansas Territory and the nearby cities of Missouri, there were violent clashes between pro and anti slavery groups known as"Bleeding Kansas,"which started as disagreements. Whether Kansas would join the Union as a slave state or a free state was at the center of the argument. Slavery was prohibited in Kansas since it was a free state when it was admitted to the Union in January 1861.(McPherson, 145-57)
  • The Dred Scott Decision

    A court case where on March 6, 1857, the Supreme Court issued a decision holding that Dred Scott, a slave, was not entitled to freedom because he had lived in a free state or territory that African Americans were not and could never be citizens of the United States and that the Missouri Compromise which had declared all territories west of Missouri was unconstitutional. The choice fueled the sectional debate and brought the nation one step closer to civil war. (Varon, 295-304)
  • The Lincoln-Douglas Debates

    Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas engaged in a series of political discussions as they competed for one of Illinois' two US Senate seats during the debates. Seven of the nine congressional districts in Illinois accepted their offer to debate. Lincoln lost the race, but these discussions made him a name and ultimately helped him win the presidency of the United States. Lincoln's support for abolition infuriated the South. The Civil War was significantly influenced by this.(Varon, 315-17)
  • John Brown's Raid

    By gaining control of a United States arsenal in Harper's Ferry, abolitionist John Brown attempted to start an armed slave uprising in Southern states. Everyone became sympathetic to the anti-slavery cause when John Brown invaded the Harper Ferry in an effort to end slavery after learning about the raid and how terrible slavery was. This is a contributing element to the beginning of the war since the south did not like it because slaves were their primary source of revenue.(Varon, 236-35)
  • Election of 1860

    The first of a series of events that resulted in the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln's election in 1860 was a sign that the Southern states had lost their sway and influence. Due to the Southern states' absence from the system, they chose secession, which resulted in war.