Causes of the Civil War Timeline

By: Keith Alyan

Brief Introduction

In the United States, the free, and the slave states are equal since the Missouri Compromise. However, since America won more land in the Mexican-American War the issue of slavery came into play about if the new western territories were going to be a free or slave state. A new compromise came is and made the popular sovereignty where states can pick if they want to be free or slave. This was a bad idea since it would tip the balance of free and slave state in the senate. When Lincoln became president he wanted to remove slavery, so the south seceded and made their own government called the confederate government. Now there were two governments in the USA, and this caused more problems between north and south.

Missouri Compromise of 1820

The Missouri Compromise era played a major part in sectionalism. The disagreement was that Missouri would enter the union as a slave state; however, the north didn’t like the idea since it would tip the balance of free states and slave states in the senate towards the south. So the north tried to protect themselves by saying that Missouri can enter as a slave state but importing enslaved Africans into Missouri illegal, and the south got angry. Finally, Henry Clay came up with the Missouri Compromise to try to end sectionalism in the US. The compromise stated Missouri will enter as a slave state and Maine would enter as a fee state to keep the balance in the senate equal. Lastly, the 36/30 line stated all states above the Missouri’s southern border are free states but under the border are slave states.

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Compromise of 1850

The new territories in the west that America won in the Mexican-American war came into play in slavery. The Missouri Compromise still made the balance of free and slave states equal; however, California wanted to enter the union but it would tip the balance. So Henry Clay came up with the idea to avoid the Missouri Compromise and make a new one called the Compromise of 1850. The Compromise of 1850 stated that California will enter as a free state while the Fugitive slave act will become stricter to make the North follow the law. Also, popular sovereignty was basically the idea that the new states have the power to chooses if they want to be free or slave.

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Fugitive Slave Act 1850

The Fugitive Slave Act was when a runaway slave escaped to the north or anywhere they can be captured and must return to their owner. The Fugitive Slave Act was weak in the beginning since the north didn’t follow the law; however, in 1850 the act got stricter and the north has to follow it or there would be a big punishment. If a slave were captured the people who caught them will take them to court to tell the judge with evidence that this their property. Also, if people kept hiding fugitive slaves and the hunters found out the people will be fined 500 dollars for hiding a runaway slave. In the north they tried to create laws to prevent capturing slave; however, they couldn’t since the Compromise of 1850 made the Fugitive Slave law stricter and must be followed. The punishments changed by the slaves not getting a trial and the people will be fined a thousand dollars and will be in jail for 6 months. The law was finally repealed on June 28, 1864.

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Uncle Tom's Cabin published in 1852

The literature book Uncle Tom’s Cabin was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe an abolitionist who wrote her book to make people in the USA to see the evils of slavery. Stowe the daughter of Lyman Beecher moved to Ohio where she met a fugitive slave and learned about the cruelty of slavery. The Fugitive Slave Act angered Stowe more that made her write a book to show the north of the reality of how bad slavery is. Uncle Tom’s Cabin is published in 1852 that had a main character an enslaved African named Tom that was taken from his wife and got sold to a family in Louisiana. Tom became a slave to Simon Legree and was treated badly by his master. This book outrage the south and in a decade Stowe’s book had 2 million copies sold in the US. Her book impacted the US by making people see the cruelty of slavery and some people said her book was the start if the Civil War.
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Kansas-Nebraska Act 1854

The Kansas- Nebraska Act was a bill that was made 1854 that maintain popular sovereignty. Stephen Douglas was the inventor of the act that wanted to make a railroad that connected the north and the Pacific. However, this made the south mad and the rivalry between the north and south continued. Douglas wanted the Missouri Compromise to go away. If the Missouri Compromise goes away then it is a battle for the free states and slave states to get new territories to be a slave or free state. 2 new territories were brought in, Nebraska and Kansas. The Missourians went and settled in Kansas to make it a slave state, but the north wanted Missouri to be free so they went and tried to make it a free state. Both Kansas and Missouri fought and had its own civil war which created the 2 mascots Jayhawks and Tigers this was called the Bleeding Kansas. Then John Brown was in Kansas and at night, he killed 5 pro-slavery settlers this was called the Pottawatomie Massacre. The Kansas-Nebraska Act led the creation of the republican party that Lincoln would control. Finally, Kansa enters the union as a free state.

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Dred Scott Decision 1857

The Dred Scott case was a complex case because a slave wanted his rights when he was in the north. Dred Scott was a slave in Virginia then he was sold to the Emersons and went to Missouri, these both states are under the Missouri line so he was considered a slave. Then the ruler took him to the Wisconsin Territory and Dr. Emerson died and they went back to Missouri. This is where Scott declared his freedom since he went to the north where slavery isn’t allowed. Scott went to a lower court in Missouri then made it to the Supreme Court. The court needed to decide that only people can sue and if stepping on free soil makes a person fee. During the court decision Roger Stanley opposed Dred Scott and said that he was property and doesn’t have any rights and that he made it back to Missouri and should still be a slave. Dred Scott was kept a slave and the northerners were stunned because they said the Supreme Court can ban slavery but this was false. The north feared the spread of slavery and Abraham Lincoln warned the future by having the next Dred Scott decision.

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John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry 1859

In 1858, John Brown wanted to start an uprise in the USA. He wanted to attack the federal arsenal in the state Virginia to steal the weapons, so he thought he could get a bunch of slaves to join him and work with him to start a rebellion to try to free slaves. He tried to get money from some abolitionists and more support; however, in two years only 20 men joined his fight. So on October 16, 1859, the John Brown Raid began and this is where John Brown took his men to Virginia and hopes to start a rebellion, he thought slaves would join him but no one showed up because they knew he was going to fail. Instead of slaves white southerners came and attacked killing 8 of his men while the rest retreated to a fire house. The Marines came to the firehouse where two more people died and Brown was finally captured. John Brown was sentenced to death and the slaveholders and nonslaveholders feared more attacks since Brown started an uprise and then killed.

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America's First Terrorist or National Hero?

Election of 1860

Another election came in 1860 and the northern and southern democrats could not agree on a candidate. The north wanted Stephen Douglas and the south wanted John C. Breckinridge. A new political party was created and it was the Constitutional Union Party and this took place in Baltimore and selected John Bell as their candidate. While at the convention people appealed towards Lincoln more and Lincoln said he won’t abolish slavery so he could win president. The three men John Bell, Stephen Douglas, and John B all hoped Lincoln wouldn’t win the electoral college, but Abraham Lincoln had the republican party behind his back and won. Lincoln had 40% of the votes and had 183 electoral college vote and Douglas was in second with 180 votes. The south was mad that he won and started to loose national political power.

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South Secedes December 1860- June 1861

Abraham Lincoln promised he wouldn’t try to abolish slavery, but when he became president he changed his mind and angered the south. The south economy was high because of slave labor, so if Lincoln tried to take slaves away, and so the south had a convention and thought about seceding from the union since they have the right to. Critics of the southern states seceding said no one can’t leave the union but they can leave by a revolution. John J. Crittenden was a senator from Kentucky and wanted to save the union from war so he addressed a series of constitutional amendments to protect slavery. President Lincoln disagreed with Crittenden and believed there was no extension of slavery, but the senate committee voted on John’s plan but failed since republicans sided with the president. So the south started to dissolve and the states Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas seceded to form the

The Confederate States of America also called the Confederacy. The Confederate Territory had its own government that says they have the right to own slaves. The new president of the confederate territory was Jefferson Davis. There was a main issue now since the south seceded, who was going to own federal property in the south, and the president of the confederate side said we can fight if the federal tries to take it. Lincoln oppose the south leaving since they were mad at the union for hating slavery and so he said he would take all the federal land in the seceded territories and he try to convince the southern government that he would not start a war to make the southern states return.

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The Civil War was not avoidable. The Civil War is when the north and south fought in the USA for power. The main issue that started this was slavery. The north didn't want slaves but the south needed slaves for economic reasons. The Missouri Compromise kept the balance of free and slave slaves, but was removed with the Compromise of 1850 that made popular sovereignty which said that the new states can choose if they want to be free or not. This lead battles in the state like Bleeding Kansas were Missourians and Kansas had its own civil war to make Kansas a free or slave state. Also, the election of 1860 caused more issues when Abraham Lincoln became president. The south hated Lincoln because he wanted to abolish slavery, but Lincoln promised he wouldn't so he can avoid a war. However, later on, President Lincoln changed his mind to abolish slavery and the south were angry and decided to secede from the union. The south secede made two governments in the US the federal and Confederate government. The federal government said they will take all of the lands in the south that belongs to them, but the south said they would put a fight to stop them. Since the US is divided there is no way to bring them back if Abraham Lincoln wants to abolish slavery so the south wanted a war to win to get slavery allowed in America.