Events Leading up to the Civil War

Major Events

Compromise of 1850

The Compromise of 1850, This certain agreement contained that North Carolina would join the Union as a Free State, slave trade was no longer aloud in Washington D.C. But the people of D.C could still own slaves. The land received by Mexico was broken up into 2 states, Utah and New Mexico. The option of being a slave or free state was up to the settlers who lived there. The Confederate states got a new rule, that was the Fugitive Slave law. Any slave caught fleeing to the North were sent back to their masters. Bounty hunters now came into play for bringing the slaves back and then the hunters would receive a reward for their actions. But if you were a free black person and a bounty hunter were to capture you they could sell you in a slave trade. If you did not help the bounty hunter capture a slave, you were brutally punished. This was a compromise but the south lost North Carolina but they had a rule that slaves could not flee. This was important to the civil war because the south lost a state which might have helped them win the war.

The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850

The Fugitive Slave law said that any slave caught fleeing to the North were sent back to their masters. Bounty hunters now came into play for bringing the slaves back and then the hunters would receive a reward for their actions. But if you were a free black person and a bounty hunter were to capture you they could sell you in a slave trade. If you did not help the bounty hunter capture a slave, you were brutally punished. This was important to the Civil war because the south was happier now that if their slaves escaped they would be brought back. The North cared about the slaves but they would allow the south to keep the slaves as long as they stayed a part of the Union.

The Dred Scott Decision of 1857

A major argument between the north and south was the Dred Scott decision. The Dred Scott decision was one of the most important court decisions in United States history. Dred Scott was a Missouri slave on a search for freedom. Dred Scott was not a normal slave, and he fought for a very long time to gain his freedom. This case was one of the biggest cases that led to the Civil War. Dred Scott's owner died and Dred tried to become a normal citizen, but it was rejected and Dred was sent to a new plantation. The South was thrilled and the North was upset. This showed that the North did not care what happened to the slaves as long as the south stayed. It also showed the reason that the North did not go to battle for the slaves.

The Kansas-Nebraska of 1854

On May 30, 1854 the territories of Kansas and Nebraska wanted to become states. The only thing left to be decided was whether they would have slavery or not. Stephen Douglas, the Democratic Senator of Illinois, strongly believed that the people of the territories should decide for themselves whether they wanted slavery. He sponsored the Kansas Nebraska bill and said that the question of slavery in Kansas and Nebraska would be left to the vote of the settlers. He called this popular sovereignty. The debate over the question of slavery in the territories became more of a problem than expected. Proslavery and antislavery groups fought many wars, each side wanting to gain control of Kansas so they could vote for it to become a slave state or a free state. These wars are known as "Bloody Kansas." Neither side knew it, but with each day of fighting, they were getting a step closer to the Civil War. The people of the North now had more farm land than the south with Kansas and Nebraska.

John Brown's Raid of 1859

The Raid at Harpers Ferry was when John Brown and his men attacked the U.S. Federal Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. An arsenal is a place where military weapons are stored. John Brown wanted to seize the arsenal because he thought by stealing weapons he could help free some slaves. He would get slaves and other abolitionists to begin a battle against slave owners. The Raid at Harpers Ferry became one of the causes of the Civil War. John Brown was later cought by Robert E. Lee and then Hanged. This was a factor on the civil war because the South felt that was a threat and now they were urged to fight.