Events Leading Up to Civil War

Maari Pegnoglou

The Compromise of 1850

There were three compromises to try and end the slavery problem between the North and South. The Compromise of 1850 is the third. California was made a free state and that was a problem because there was more free states than slave states. They made The Fugitive Slave Act that said the North had to return slaves back to their owners in the South. They didn't let slaves have a court trial so it made it easier for the slave owners to get them back. It was a bad time for black people and even free blacks got captured and forced to go to the South. More blacks used the Underground Railroad and more people started deciding if they were against slavery or for it. The North and South were tired of all the compromises and more people were starting to know and take sides. That lead to the Civil War.

The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850

The advocates got California as a free state, so The Fugitive Slave Law was passed for the people who wanted slavery. The law said that if any of the Bounty Hunters captured slaves in the North, they would be sent back to the South. The law also said that free white Northerners could be forced to capture fugitive slaves and then those slaves could be sold again. This upset Northerners because they had to choose between the law or helping another human being and they would choose to help. Escaped slaves were captured, people who weren't slaves, and people who were born free. Fugitive slaves started talking about their life of slavery and more people listened. All of this upset people and this lead to the Civil War.

The Dred Scott Decision of 1857

Dred Scott was a slave and he and his family wanted to be freed when his owner died. The owner's wife did not want to free him, so he took her to court. He lost the first trial and won the second, but the Supreme Court reversed the ruling so he ended up losing the second trial. He lost the third trial too. The attorney for the owner's wife said that blacks are not citizens and have no rights or privileges. He also said that blacks were inferior and white people did not have to respect them. This made the Northerners very mad. The southerners liked it because they believed in slavery. This caused more problems between the North and the South and made them argue about slavery even more. That helped lead to the Civil War.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854

This Act decided if Kansas and Nebraska would be free or slave states. The North wanted them to be free states and the South wanted them to be slave states. The North didn't need slaves to do their work because they manufactured. The South needed slaves to grow crops. If the North got more states, then they would have a better chance at winning because they'd have more states for voting. That's why the South wanted the states too. Kansas was voted a free state because it was above the Missouri Compromise line. This upset the Southerners and they fought in the Bloody Kansas war. The North won. Every time a new state wanted to be in the Union, the North and South fought over it because they both wanted to get the state so they could get more voting power when voting for keeping or not keeping slavery. Then the South wanted to be it's own country and that fight lead to the Civil War.

John Brown's Raid of 1859

John Brown was against slavery. He fought for things he believed in. He gave land to fugitive slaves, he raised a black child as his own, he helped slaves escape in the Underground Railroad, and he tried to protect slaves from slave catchers. John Brown and 5 of his sons fought against slavery in Kansas and Missouri. He gathered an "army" of 5 blacks and 16 whites and they raided the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry. He and his army took white hostages hoping slaves would come and fight with them but they didn't. They were defeated. Brown was quickly injured and he and many of his men were captured by the enemy. They were all executed. During his trial, he made a powerful speech against slavery. It inspired many people and helped lead to the Civil War.