The Civil War

by: Brooklyn Truban

Dred Scott Case

In March 1857, The U.S. Supreme Court issued their first decision in the Dred Scott V. Sanford. The case was brought to the court by Dred Scott, a slave who had lived with his owner in a free state before returning to the slave state of Missouri, Scott claimed that his time spent in these locations entitled him to emancipation. In this decision Chief Justice Roger B. Taney a proud supporter of slavery disagreed and the court found that no black, free or slave, could claim U.S. Citizenship, and therefore blacks could not petition the court for their freedom. The Dred Scott decision enraged Abolitionists and heightened the North-South tensions, which caused the war just 3 years later.

Emancipation of Proclamation

Most Republicans were convinced by 1862 that the war against a slaveholders’ rebellion must become a war against slavery itself, and they put a lot of pressure on President Lincoln to proclaim an emancipation policy. This would have comported with Lincoln’s personal convictions, but as president he felt the need to balance these convictions against the danger of alienating half of the Union constituency. By the summer of 1862, it was clear that he risked alienating the Republican half of his constituency if he did not act against slavery. When the American Civil War began, President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary emancipation proclamation, declaring that as of January 1, 1863 all slaves in the rebellious states "shall be forever free'. Although the emancipation of Proclamation did not free a single slave it was still an important turning point in the war, making the fight to preserve the nation into a battle for human freedom.
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Kansas Nebraska Act

Stephen A. Douglas wanted to see Nebraska made into a territory and for it to win southern support. Underlying it all was his desire to build a transcontinental railroad to go through Chicago. The Kansas-Nebraska Act allowed each territory to decide the issue of slavery on the basis of popular sovereignty. Kansas with slavery would violate the Missouri Compromise, which kept the Union from falling apart for the last thirty-four years. The long-standing compromise would have to be repealed. the fight for the compromise to be repealed was intense, but ultimately the bill passed in May of 1854. Territory north of the sacred 36°30' line was now open to popular sovereignty. The North was outraged!
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