Causes of the Civil War
By: Carissa Place
The Missouri Compromise of 1820
This was a compromise that allowed Missouri enter the Union. It was first said that Missouri couldn’t enter the Union because it would break the equality of free and slave states. Sectionalism was the cause of this and why the Missouri Compromise was formed. As Missouri entered the Union as a slave states, Maine entered as a free state to keep the equality of the free and slave states.
Compromise of 1850
Divisions over slavery in territory gained in Mexican-American. War were resolved in the compromise in 1850. This compromise consisted of laws admitting California as a free state, creating Utah and New Mexico territories with the question of slavery in each to be determined by popular sovereignty, settling a Tea-New Mexico boundary dispute in the former's favor, ending the slave trade in Washington D.C. and making it easier for southerners to recover fugitive slaves.
The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850
This act was already in existence, but was improved in 1850 due to the compromise of 1850. People who hid or helped runaway slaves, would be put in prison for about 6 months. It also stated that slave owners were allowed to come onto the North and reclaim their slaves. The Northerners weren’t to fond of this nor trial without jury for slaves. Most of the northerners opposed the act and abolitionists weren’t afraid to use force in order to rescue slaves from jail. Another reason Northerners nor slaves liked this was also because people started to pay others depending on how many slaves they retrieved back to the south. Therefore many Southerners began kidnapping random free African Americans and claimed they used to be owned by them even though they most likely had never even been a slave.
Uncle Tom's Cabin published in 1852
Uncle Tom’s Cabin was written by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Stowe was a white female from the north who had allowed many runaway slaves to stay with them during their journey through the underground railroad. Stowe had a strong hatred for slavery and realized that many northerners didn’t fully understand just how bad slavery in the south was, Therefore she wrote uncle Tom’s cabin. The book became very popular around the north and the south and infuriated southerners, but was very useful for northerners due someone finally shining light on the biggest problem taking place in the U.S.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854
This act was really only created so that that the government could sort of avoid having to decide about slavery, due to them not wanting anyone to rebel against them. Therefore, they created the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which was an act stating that the people themselves now had the right to vote on whether or not they wanted slavery to be allowed in their new territory.
The Dred Scott decision of 1857
Dred Scott was a slave whose owner had spent time in Illinois and Wisconsin, which were both free states at the time. At first the court granted him his freedom, but then the actual government got involved. The court then held that Scott was not free based on his residence in either Illinois or Wisconsin because he was not considered a person under the U.S. Constitution. This also reminded many that black people were not considered citizens when the Constitution was created.
John Brown's Raid on Harper Ferry in 1859
John Brown was a white man who had a big belief that slavery was very wrong. He had such a strong belief that he caused the Pottawatomie massacre which was when he killed 5 people in Kansas while they were sleeping due to their views on slavery. The other thing that he did was when he raided Harpers Ferry in 1859. This was caused by other abolitionists not agreeing with what Brown was doing, therefore they didn’t stand with him. Therefore he decided that the only people he had a chance with were slaves, so he made the word get around throughout all the slaves but when it came down to it, no one showed. Therefore Brown and his small group attempted it themselves which resulted with many deaths and arrests.
The Election of 1860
The Northern and Southern Democrats could not decide on the candidate for the election. The Northern Democrats finally chose Stephen Douglas and then the Southern democrats chose the current vice president at the time, john breckinridge, mainly because he supported slavery. While this was happening a new political party was being created called the Constitutional Union Party. The members of this party met in Baltimore, Maryland and then chose John Bell as their candidate. Lincoln won the highest amount of votes with a total of 180 and 184 electoral votes. Douglas then was the second highest but only won one state. Breckinridge and Bell then ended up splitting the electoral votes in all of the slave states.
South Secedes from December 1860 to June 1861
In the south people believed their economy and how they lived would be stopped. Later on after Lincoln's election, South Carolina's legislature called for convection, due to many people in the south thinking that they could leave the union. Lincoln did not agree with the plan and neither did any republicans.