Causes of the Civil War Timeline

By: Taua Key


Hello! Welcome to my Timeline Presentation. Get ready to learn about our society's history, what led to the civil war, and the problems with slavery.

Missouri Compromise

There were a lot of states that were coming into the United States, and there was an uneven amount of free and slave states. So, Henry Clay came up with the Missouri Compromise and the Missouri Compromise Line. This line would be able to separate the North from the South making the South slave states, and the North free states. The government thought that this would solve their problems with the states, but it made even bigger ones. On the left is showing Henry Clay. And below this, it's showing a map of the Missouri Compromise Line.
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The Compromise of 1850

The Compromise of 1850 had to do with whether California would be a slave or a free state. This compromise was also the end of the Missouri Compromise Line. California came in as a free state, but that angried the slave states, which led to more compromises to make the Compromise of 1850 work. So as California came in as a free state, New Mexico and Utah came in as well and people got to vote if they were a free state or a slave state. Or popular Sovereignty.

Fugitive Slave Act

Congress passed a law called the Fugitive Slave Act. This act wanted runaway slaves to return back to their masters, even if free blacks looked like runaway slaves. If you caught a runaway slave, you would get paid a good payment of money. That’s why police officers loved to accuse any black if they were runaway slaves. If you were helping any runaway slave(s), you would probably get sentenced to prison for about 6 months.

Uncle Tom's Cabin is Published (1852)

Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a novel that was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe. She moved to Ohio when she was 21 where she met fugitive slaves there and heard the harshness of slavery. When Stowe heard about the Fugitive Slave Act, she was angry. So, she wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin where the main character was a an African American slave named Tom, who was beaten to death by his owner. This was to show the realities of slavery to northerners. And this angried the south. 2 million copies were sold in the United States in less than a decade. She then later wrote A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin for those who criticized her book.


Harriet Beecher Stowe met with Lincoln in 1862, a year after the Civil War started, and Lincoln said that she was "the little lady who made this big war." Even most people think her book sparked the Civil War.

Kansas-Nebraska Act

This Kansas-Nebraska Act led to the Louisiana Purchase dividing into two territories: Kansas and Nebraska. This would allow the people in each territory to decide on the question of slavery by popular sovereignty-people who vote in elections there. There was also conflict between pro-slavery and antislavery groups. On the left is showing the map of the Nebraska and Kansas Territory.

Dred Scott Decision (1857)

Dred Scott was a slave of Dr. John Emerson, who was an army surgeon who lived in Missouri. Scott sued the Emersons for freedom because, Dr. Emerson brought Dred Scott in the Illinois and the Wisconsin Territory. That’s where slavery is banned. Dred Scott thought that he had the right to be free since they were in a free slave territory. At first, the case found that Scott was free, but then later on, Scott had to return to the widow, Mrs Emerson. In the end, Mrs. Emerson sold Scott to a good family. The picture on the left is showing Dred Scott.


Dred Scott's name use to be Sam until his older brother, Dred, died. So, he adopted his name.

John Brown's Raid on Hapers Ferry

This raid was led by John Brown. He was against slavery. Brown’s goal was to take over the arsenal in Harpers Ferry and get weapons there. He wanted to get slaves to use these weapons to start a slave rebellion. Although he wanted slaves to fight, many slaves did not join him because of the punishments that they might get if they took part in this raid. Brown was captured by federal troops and was convicted of many crimes. His punishment was to be hanged for his crimes. On the left is showing the building of Harpers Ferry today.

Election of 1860

Citizens were ready for another presidential election of 1860. The candidates was Senator Stephen Douglas for the northern democrats, John C. Breckenridge was a candidate for Kentucky, and John Bell of Tennessee who was a slaveholder but was against the Kansas and Nebraska Act. Senator William Seward of New York was the Republican candidate at first, but more people like Lincoln. Douglas, Breckenridge, and Bell were all against Lincoln because Lincoln promised not abolish slavery where it has already existed. Yet, Lincoln won 180 of 183 electoral votes in free states and was the next President of the United States.

South Secedes

About a week into Lincoln’s election, southerners legislature had a convection about Lincoln’s claim about slavery. His claim was that he wouldn’t add any more slavery to where it already existed. And of course, the South was against this. They thought that this claim would take away their ways of life and slavery. So, the convention decided to secede from the Union. This decision led to the Civil War.


I don't think the Civil War could have been avoided because of slavery. The events in the Timeline prove that like: Uncle Tom's Cabin which explains the realities of slavery, the Dred Scott Decision where Dred Scott sued his owners for freedom, the Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850 which decides all the free and slave states. Slavery played a big part during the civil war. Thank you for reading for my timeline. I hoped you enjoyed it.