Causes Of The Civil War
By: Hannah Wright
Missouri Compromise 1820
Fugitive Slave Act 1850
Compromise of 1850
The Compromise of 1850 was a compromise to enter California into the union while pleasing the north and south at the same time. California wanted to join the Union as a free state and that would make the balance between slave and free states uneven. There wasn’t another state that wanted to join in as a slave state to make it even so they had to come up with another way to make the south happy. They decided to make the Fugitive Slave Act more strict and strong. That pleased the south and having California join as a free state pleased the north. Since California wasn’t on the Missouri Compromise line they just took that act away and it didn’t matter anymore. Then Congress decided to create popular sovereignty for the next states that wanted to join the Union.
Kansas-Nebraska Act 1854
Douglas wanted to build a railroad to the Pacific Ocean. Nobody really supported his idea. They wanted to build a railroad from New Orleans, across Texas and New Mexico Territory, to Southern California. But Douglas wanted the railroad from Chicago to the Pacific Ocean. Douglas went to some states senators with his idea and they agreed. The Louisiana Territory then got split into Kansas and Nebraska. This act eliminated the Missouri Compromise’s line that made the North states free and the South slavery.
Bleeding Kansas 1854-1861
After Kansas had become a state its choice on it becoming a slave or free state was decided by the people living there. Missouri, Kansas neighbor, wanted it to become a slave state but many antislavery people lived there. Thousands of pro slavery people went to Kansas to vote so it would become a slave state. By 1856 Kansas had two governments. People living in Kansas started to get angry. Violence had began to break out. Pro slavery men in Kansas had gone to Lawrence but the antislavery men knew they were coming so they left. Pro slavery men burned Lawrence. A antislavery member, John Brown got furious at this event. In response, John Brown and his men killed five pro slavery men in Kansas. This was called the Pottawatomie Massacre.
Dred Scott Decision 1857
Dred Scott was a slave owned by Dr. John Emerson. Emerson was army surgeon and always took Scott on his tours of duty in the north. When they returned to Missouri after one of Emerson's duties, Emerson had died. Emerson’s wife then owned Scott. Scott then went to court and tried to sue for his freedom. He stated that he was free when living on free land. 11 years later Scott’s cased reached the Supreme Court. They said that only citizens sued in federal courts and they needed to decide of him living on free soil made him free. They made a final decision and said African Americans are not citizens so Scott did not have the right to sue and since he was property.
John Brown's Raid on Harper's Ferry 1859
John Brown wanted to plan an attack on the arsenal in Virginia. He wanted to have a army of slaves and abolitionists. He asked abolitionists for money to support his army but about after two years he only had twenty men. He sent some of his men to go get slaves to join him. The night of his attack on Harpers Ferry no slaves showed up. They were scared that Brown would not be successful and they would be punished. Southerners attack Brown and his men. Most of his men died and only a few survived. Brown was captured by marines and sentenced to death.
Election of 1860
It was 1860 and it was time for an election for a new president. The north and south couldn’t agree on a new president. A new party came about called the Constitutional Union Party. John Bell was their candidate. Then Lincoln came along. He claimed to “not abolish slavery where it already existed.” They other candidates really hoped Lincoln wouldn’t not win the electoral votes and tried to prevent him from winning. Soon enough Lincoln won 180 of 183 electoral votes and became the next president.
South Secedes 1860-1861
Lincoln angered the southerners by saying he would not let slavery expand and it would soon die out. The south thought that their economy would be destroyed without slavery. Legislatures from the south all joined together and discussed that if states joined the Union willingly that they could leave willingly. Lincoln thought this argument was ridiculous and said that a state can not leave the Union lawfully by their self. John J. Crittenden tried to make a plan that would make the south happy by protecting slavery. Lincoln did not agree with him. Lincoln did not want slavery to extend any further. When senators voted on Crittenden’s plan they all rejected it.