My Smore Flyer

In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin. This novel told of the story of Uncle Tom, an enslaved African American, and his cruel master, Simon Legree. In the novel, Stowe wrote of the evils and cruelty of slavery. It helped change the way many Northerners felt about slavery. Slavery was not only a political problem, but also a moral problem in the eyes of many Northerners. Many Americans felt that slavery should be allowed in the new territories such as Kansas and Missouri, while others were set against it. The Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 led to “bleeding Kansas”, a bitter sectional war that pitted neighbor against neighbor. In 1857, the United States Supreme Court made a landmark ruling in the Dred Scott Decision. Dred Scott was a slave who applied for freedom. He claimed that because his master had taken him to the free territories of Illinois and Wisconsin, he should be free. The court ruled that because Dred Scott was not considered a citizen, but property, he could not file a lawsuit. The Court also ruled that Congress had no power to decide the issue of slavery in the territories. This meant that slavery was legal in all the territories and the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional. Anti-slavery leaders in the North cited the controversial Supreme Court decision as evidence that Southerners wanted to extend slavery throughout the nation. Southerners approved the Dred Scott decision, believing Congress had no right to prohibit slavery in the territories. Abraham Lincoln reacted with disgust to the ruling and was spurred into political action, publicly speaking out against it. In 1859, a radical abolitionist from Kansas named John Brown raided th