Causes of the Civil War

Rhyan Ferrell

Missouri Compromise (1820)

Disagreements between the North and the South was called sectionalism. There was sectionalism during Missouri's application for statehood. There was already a balance of free and slave states in the Union, at 11 free states and 11 slave states. If Missouri entered the Union as a slave state, as they wanted, it would throw off the balance which would mean the Union would be more towards slavery. The Union did not want this but a compromise was made; Missouri would be able to enter the Union as a slave state but Maine would have to enter as a free state to maintain balance. There was a new rule stating that every state above the 30*36' line is a free state or territory but everything under the line is a slave state or territory.

Compromise of 1850

California would enter the Union as a free state.The rest of the Mexican Cession land would belong to the government and slavery in the states would be decided by popular sovereignty. Popular sovereignty is when the people of the state vote on if the state is a slave or free state. The government agreed with Texas that they would pay their debt from when they were an independent republic if they got rid of all land east of the Rio Grande River. The Missouri Compromise line would be terminated along with the Slave Trade. A stricter version of the Fugitive Slave Acts was put in place and was the last part of the Compromise of 1850.

Fugitive Slave Act (1850)

If a slave ran away it has always been a crime. Now if you helped a runaway slave then you would be arrested for up to 6 months. If you were a freed slave or free black and had never had anything to do with slavery or you were free, you could still be kidnapped and auctioned of by white southerners because of this act. There is nothing you can do even if you are freed or were never a slave, they did not care and would still kidnap you. You would not be able to testify if they presumed you were a slave or not.

Uncle Tom's Cabin is published (1852)

Uncle Tom's Cabin was a novel written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, that spoke out greatly about slavery. It was published in 1852 and it was about a man named Tom who was taken from his wife and kids and was sold "down the river" in Louisiana. He was sold to a man by the name of Simon Legree, he was a very cruel and brutal man. Legree became so outraged one day with Tom that he had ordered him to be put to death. It made the nation go crazy and it outraged the South. A northerner remarked that her book had "created two million abolitionists." More than 2 million copies were printed and sold within a decade.

Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854)

It was a plan that would dive the remainder of the Louisiana Purchase into two new territories-Kansas and Nebraska- the question of slavery would be up to the people. The Missouri Compromise Line was non-existent now and how to decide if a state was a free or slave state, they would use popular sovereignty. Popular sovereignty was when the people got to vote on whether they wanted to be a free or slave state. This act sparked the violence and conflict between pro-slavery and anti-slavery groups.

Dred Scott Decision (1857)

Dred Scott was a slave that belong to Dr. Emerson in St. Louis, MO. The doctor had later died after tours of Illinois and Wisconsin and that's when Scott sued for his freedom against the Emerson's wife. A lower court decided that Scott would be granted his freedom but the Supreme Court disapproved of this. Dred Scott was angry because he had lived in a free state but was still considered a slave and did not have freedom. After a year of fighting he had won his freedom in 1857.

John Brown's Raid on Harper's Ferry, Virginia (1859)

John Brown was a crazy abolitionist that was willing to kill anyone that got in his way of his of achieving his goal. The raid on Harper's Ferry in Virginia of 1859 was when John Brown and a team of men were trying to break into a federal armory to arm slaves and start a rebellion against the South. They did accomplish their mission because the African- American slaves feared of them losing and the they would be in huge trouble. Brown and his men had retreated to a nearby fire house but the US marines aught them and punished them. Many of the men got the death sentence including John Brown who was convicted of treason and was hung.

Election of 1860

The northern and southern democrats could not decide on a candidate that they both liked. The north wanted Stephen Douglas who was the Senator at the time. The south had elected the vice president who supported slavery, John C. Breckenridge. The Constitutional Union Party was created. Abraham Lincoln, the future president, would later win this election and he promised not to get rid of slavery but only allow slavery where it was already established. Douglas and Breckenridge did not want to Lincoln to win but they were unlucky due to the Republican Party that stood behind Abraham Lincoln. He was fair to the North and the South because he would keep slavery that was already established for the South and for the North he said slavery could no longer be established.

South Secedes (December 1860-June 1861)

Lincoln said he would never change slavery in the South, but that one day it will eventually die out. This made the southerners very upset and angry, they held a special convention where they discussed leaving the Union. John C. Crittenden made a series of amendments to the Constitution that would help protect slavery in the South. Abraham Lincoln did not agree with this and disapproved of it. Lincoln basically said that the extension of slavery would need to end now instead of later fro the better of the economy and the country. South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union followed by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas. They all formed the Confederate States of America, also known as the Confederacy. The first rule they put in the new Constitution was the right to own slaves with no limits.