VUS. 7a

The Civil War and the Reconstruction Era.

What led to the Civil War?

The rise in territorial tensions and the failure of political powers led to the Civil War.

Causes of the Civil War...


  • Territorial disagreements and debates over tariffs, extension of slavery in the territories, and the states’ rights.
  • North versus the South on slavery.
  • United States Supreme Court decision in the Dred Scott case.
  • Publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.
  • Ineffective presidential leadership in the 1850s.
  • A series of failed compromises over the expansion of slavery in the territories.
  • President Lincoln’s call for federal troops in 1861.

Definitions to know:

  • Tariffs- A tax to be paid on a particular class of imports or exports.
  • Abolitionists- A person who favors the ending of slavery.
  • Dred Scott case- An important decision made by the US Supreme Court in 1857. The case was brought to the Supreme Court by a slave named Dred Scott. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court officially decided that Dred Scott, like other slaves, could not be considered a citizen of the US. He also stated that Congress must not prevent any state from having slavery.
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin- A novel that paints a grim picture of life under slavery.
  • Presidents during the 1850s- Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore.
  • Compromise of 1850- California was entered as a free state, New Mexico and Utah were each allowed to use popular sovereignty to decide the issue of slavery, the Republic of Texas gave up lands that it claimed in present day New Mexico and received $10 million to pay its debt to Mexico, the slave trade was abolished in the District of Columbia, and the Fugitive Slave Act made any federal official who did not arrest a runaway slave liable to pay a fine.