Events Leading Up To The Civil War

Krisha Mehta

Compromise of 1850

The Compromise of 1850 tried to settle all the slavery issues while keeping the North and South happy. They ended slave trade in Washington DC and made California a free state. They planned that Texas would get ten million dollars, enough to pay off most of their debts, if they gave up their claim for New Mexico's territory. After alot of planning they decided Texas' border to be as it is even today. This compromise also included the law,The Fugitive Slave act. This law stated that the North had to give the slaves back to their rightful owner that had escaped from The Underground Railroad. But over the years the citizens got divided because of the slavery issue which is one reason that led to the civil war.

The Fugitive Slave Law

Under this law a free African American could be made a slave again. This law stated that the North had to give the slaves back to their rightful owner that has escaped from The Underground Tunnel. This law made it tougher on slaves who ran away and demanded stricter punishment for those helping slaves run away. Some states tried to pass legislation but these laws were stated unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Dred Scott Decision of 1857

In March of 1857, the United States Supreme Court, said that all blacks (slaves or not) could never be citizens of the United States. Also, slavery was permitted all over the Unites States again. Dred Scott Standford, a slave who lived in Illinois (which was a free state at the time) before moving to Missouri (a slave state), had made a case in hopes for freedom. Fredrick Douglas, an abolitionist, stated that "My hopes were never brighter than now." He hoped that the decision would bring them one step closer to the destruction of slavery.

The Kansas-Nebraska act of 1854

Kansas and Nebraska were very good agricultural land. In 1854 Stephen Douglas showed his Kansas-Nebraska bill to the Senate. The states were allowed to enter as a slave or non-slave state. Fredrick Douglass warned him that this was going to cause war. The result was to open this area to pro-slave or anti-slave groups. People came from all over the South. In January 1861 they entered as a free state into the Union. During the Civil War Kansas provided 20,000 soldiers from the Union Army.

John Brown's Raid of 1859

John Brown was a brave man who would not let anyone or anything get in his way of abolishing slavery. On October 16, 1859 he and his men raided Harper's Ferry, Virginia. But within 36 hours of the attack almost all of Brown's men were either captured or killed. His army consisted of 21 men. Five were black and the other sixteen were white. John Brown was then captured and moved quickly to Charlestown, Virginia and was convicted of treason. He was hanged on December 2, 1859.