Timeline: 1850 -1861

  • Uncle Tom's Cabin

    Uncle Tom's Cabin
    Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel depicted the harsh realities of slavery, highlighting the cruelty and hardships of bought slaves. Despite its popularity in the north, it was criticized by both northern and southern audiences as a misrepresentation, escalating tensions between the North & South.
  • Bloody Kansas

    Bloody Kansas
    Pro and anti-slavery advocates flooded territories, leading to violent Guerrilla Warfare and the Pottawatomi Massacre. Bloody Kansas, a period of violence between 1854 and 1861, fueled tensions between the North and South over slavery. It heightened sectionalism, fuelled violent clashes, and polarized political parties. Which eventually led to war.
  • Kansas- Nebraska Act

    Kansas- Nebraska Act
    Stephen Douglas's Kansas-Nebraska act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise, created two new territories, and granted popular sovereignty, led to the formation of "Bloody Kansas". The Kansas-Nebraska Act, an important reason for the Civil War, raised tensions between the North and South, with Democrats supporting with pro-slavery forces and Republicans siding with anti-slavery forces.
  • Republican Party

    Republican Party
    The Republican Party, formed in 1854, imposed policies that fueled tensions between the North and South. These included increased federal oversight, high tariffs, and prohibition of slavery in newly acquired territories. Republicans also imposed the Fugitive Slave Act and opposed the expansion of slavery. This led to fear and mistrust between the two regions, culminating in the secession of southern states and the Civil War.
  • Brooks Sumner Incident

    Brooks Sumner Incident
    The Brooks Sumner incident occurred on May 22, 1856, in the US Senate Chamber between Senator Charles Sumner and Representative Preston Brooks. Sumner criticized the South for supporting slavery, leading to a violent confrontation. The incident fueled tensions between the North and South, highlighting deep divisions over slavery and causing war. The attack fueled Northern resentment towards the South.
  • Election of 1856

    Election of 1856
    The 1856 election between Democrat James Buchanan and Republican John C. Fremont sparked tensions between the North and South, with Buchanan representing the South's stance on slavery and Fremont supporting the North's stance, leading to war.
  • Lecompton Constitution

    Lecompton Constitution
    The Lecompton Constitution, enacted in 1857 by Kansas pro-slavery supporters, aimed to establish statehood and authorize slavery, sparking divisions and escalating hostilities, leading to the Civil War.
  • Dred Scott

    Dred Scott
    Dred Scott and his wife sued for freedom in the Dred Scott case, but lost. The court ruled blacks were property, making the Missouri Compromise void. This decision divided the North and South, with Southern Democrats viewing slavery as a constitutional right and Northern Republicans as moral outrage. It indirectly contributed to the Civil War by removing legal avenues for anti-slavery protests.
  • Lincoln Douglas Debate

    Lincoln Douglas Debate
    The Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1858 were seven debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, both running for the US Senate. They focused on slavery, with Lincoln arguing it was morally wrong and Douglas on popular sovereignty. The debates heightened tensions between the North and South, leading to Lincoln's election and the Civil War.
  • House Divided Speech

    House Divided Speech
    In his 1858 speech, Abraham Lincoln emphasized the Dred Scott case, legalizing slavery across the US, and the need for a unified nation. This speech contributed to the Civil War and strengthened Lincoln's antislavery stance, highlighting the "house divided" between pro and anti-slavery advocates.
  • Harper's Ferry

    Harper's Ferry
    Harper's Ferry, led by abolitionist John Brown in 1859, sparked tensions between the North and South, ultimately leading to the Civil War. Southerners saw the raid as an attack on their way of life, while the North viewed slavery as a moral issue. Other events like the Dred Scott decision further intensified tensions, which contributed to the Civil War.
  • John Brown

    John Brown
    John Brown, an anti-slavery advocate, led the Pottawatomi Massacre and Harper's Ferry raid, sparking the slave revolt in the South. His actions, along with the Dred Scott decision and the Kansas-Nebraska Act, fueled tensions between the North and South over slavery, contributing to the American Civil War.
  • Election of 1860

    Election of 1860
    The 1824 election saw a four-way race between Bell, Breckinridge, Douglas, and Lincoln, leading to secession. The 1860 election shifted political divisions, resulting in the Civil War. Lincoln won, but Southern states refused, escalating tensions. The election deepened political divides between the Confederacy and the Union.
  • Secession

    In 1860, the South successfully seceded due to Lincoln's anti-slavery views, leading to tensions between the North and South. The Union built military strength, while the Confederacy mobilized its forces. The South's decision to secede contributed to instability and divided responses from the North, ultimately resulting in war.
  • Lincoln's First Inaugural Address

    Lincoln's First Inaugural Address
    Lincoln's First Inaugural Address, delivered on March 4, 1861, attempted to preserve the Union while retaining Northern support while without endangering the South. He promised not to use force or eliminate slavery, but he prohibited independence or government property seizures, which led to war. Economic issues, regional conflicts, and the abolitionist movement all played a role in the divide.