The Nation Breaks Apart

By: Natalia Paz

Missouri Compromise of 1820

The issue of slavery was tearing the nation apart. To keep the Union together Congress created a two-part compromise, granting Missouri’s request as a slave state but also admitting Maine as a free state. This compromise maintained a balance between slave and free states. A line was drawn to avoid any future debates over slavery.

Nullification Crisis of 1828-1834

South Carolina planter politicians formulated a new brand of slavery-based politics that would culminate in the formation of the southern confederacy. The crisis, which began as a dispute over federal tariff laws, became intertwined with the politics of slavery and sectionalism. John C. Calhoun believed that the state had the right to nullify or veto federal laws and secede from the Union. Calhoun said that they were reserved rights of the states and therefore constitutional.

Mexican War/Mexican Cession Feb 2 1846-1848

The Mexican War marked the first U.S. armed conflict fought on foreign soil. The U.S. and Mexico had a dispute on where the border was. President James K. Polk believed the United States had a "manifest destiny" to spread across the continent to the Pacific Ocean. A border skirmish along the Rio Grande started off the fighting and followed many U.S. victories. Mexico lost one-third of its territory including present-day California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Compromise of 1850

To please the North California would be admitted as a free and state and slave trade would be abolished in Washington D.C. To please the south new Mexico and Utah territories would be able to decide the issue of slavery by a majority vote also known as “popular sovereignty”.

Uncle Toms Cabin Mar 20 1852

Written by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Wrote this to portray slavery as brutal and immoral. This influenced people that didn’t care or didn’t pay attention to, to abolish slavery. The novel talks about a life of an old slave named Uncle Tom and the evils of slavery during his life. This evidently heightened the conflict between the North and South. Lincoln was quoted as said “So this is the little lady who made this big war.” This showed that he was stunned by how greatly her book impacted life.

Kansas-Nebraska Act May 30 1854

This act created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska. This allowed the settlers to decide if they wanted to have slavery within their territories. With this “popular sovereignty” meant that essentially that the people rule. This act was created by Democratic Senator Stephen A. Douglas. The act repealed the 36-30 line of the Missouri Compromise.

Bleeding Kansas 1855-1861

Proslavery and antislavery settlers rushed into Kansas Territory in 1855. 5000 proslavery Missourians came and voted illegally. This is why the “popular sovereignty” wasn’t the best option because the government was corrupt. The anti-slavery settlers in result boycotted and created their own government. A pro-slavery mob attacked and destroyed Lawrence Kansas killing anti-slavery members in the process. To avenge the Sack of Lawrence John Brown (an extreme abolitionist) attacked and murdered 7 pro-slavery neighbors. Because John Brown strongly supported abolition of slaves he was willing to kill in order to accomplish that.

Brooks-Sumner Affair May 22 1856

Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner gave a speech in Congress attacking pro-slavery forces in Kansas. He also insulted Senator Butler from South Carolina. Preston Brooks a South Carolina congressman attacked Sumner on the floor of congress. He hit him over 30 times with a cane. Southerners cheered for Brooks and Northerners chanted Bleeding Kansas/Bleeding Sumner

Dred Scott Case March 6 1857

Dred Scott a slave sued for his freedom. Abolitionists thought that this could end slavery. The Supreme Court ruled African-Americans were not citizens and had NO RIGHTS. Congress had NO RIGHT to ban slavery in any territory. “Slavery was Lawful and legal.” Slaves were then viewed as simply as property and thus protected by the 5th amendment.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate

It started in Aug 21 1858 and ended in Oct 15 1858. In 1858 Republican Abraham Lincoln ran against Democrat Stephen A. Douglas for the Illinois US Senate seat. Lincoln in his HOUSE DIVIDED SPEECH “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” Basically stating that slavery should NOT be expanded. Douglas also known as the (Little Giant) argued that slavery should be decided by “popular sovereignty.” Douglas evidently won but Lincoln made a name for him and his new party.

Harpers Ferry Attack Oct 16 1859

Abolitionist John Brown devised a plan to inspire slaves to fight for their freedom. Brown attacked a US Marine Arsenal to capture weapons and supply a slave revolt. The attack failed and John Brown was captured. The attack failed because only maybe 20 slaves showed up and the slaves knew that if they had gotten caught them and possibly their family could have been executed. John Brown was hanged for murder and treason. Southerners were outraged while the Northerners praised his deeds. His last words were “I am quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.” These words in the end became very prophetic.

Election of 1860 Nov 6

In the Election of 1860 the Democrats split their vote between 2 candidates. Douglas was “popular sovereignty”, Breckinridge was “States rights”, and others joined a new party “Constitutional Union”. John Bell was “Preserve the Union”, and Lincoln the Republican candidate was “stop slavery”. Lincoln had 40%, Douglass 30%, Breckinridge 18%, and Bell 12%. Lincoln wins the election, but only receives 40% of the popular vote and not 1 electoral vote from the south.

South Carolina Secedes Dec 20 1860

Because of recent events South Carolina called for a convention to secede from the Union. Others states followed the example of South Carolina and the Confederacy was formed. Within three months of Lincolns election seven states seceded from the Union. Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas all left the Union. On February 4th delegates from all states expect Texas met in Montgomery, Alabama, to create and staff a government called The Confederate States of America. They elected President Jefferson Davis.

Beginning of the Civil War April 12 1861

North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Virginia joined the Confederate States of America after the battle of Fort Sumter bringing a total of 11 states that have seceded. Lincolns first choice to led the Union Army was General Robert E. Lee of Virginia. Lee unfortunately didn't believe in slavery or succession. General Robert E. Lee of Virginia was then selected to be commander of the Confederate Army. Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware were slave states that were against secession. It was 24 Union States vs. 11 Confederate States.