Events leading up to the Civil War

The compromise of 1850

The compromise made California a free state. Since the South had got two new states, New Mexico and Utah, they will use popular sovereignty decide whether they should be a slave state or a free state. It also said Texas had to give up some land that they claimed and in return, they got 10 million dollars to pay off their debt from Mexico. They also had the Fugitive slave act, which I explain after this. This was all part of the Compromise of 1850. The significance to Civil War: It basically tried to keep the Nation United so that they could at least postpone the war. It compromised so that the North could be happy as well as the South.


Compromise of 1850 map

Orange-red=Free

Green=Slave

Blue=States open to slavery by popular sovereignty


Fugitive Slave Law of 1850

It made the people in the North give back slaves to their real owners. The ones that had escaped from the Underground Railroad. The South wanted them to give the slaves back but the Congress made them show evidence that the slave was theirs. If they didn't have any, the slave would be set free. The significance to Civil War: The Fugitive Slave act was part of the Compromise of 1850 so it was also one of the ways of postponing the Civil War.

The Dred Scott Decision of 1857

Dred Scott was an African-American person. His owner took him from Missouri (slave state) to Illinois (free state) and then to Wisconsin (free state). He lived on free land for a long time. Then the army ordered his owner to go back to Missouri so he took Scott with him, and he died there. After he died Scott sued for his freedom because he had lived on free land for so long. The case went all the way up to the Supreme Court. The Court declared that nobody who was a relative of a slave could be a U.S. citizen. So if he wasn't a U.S. citizen, he couldn't sue the court. Therefore, he had to remain a slave. Significance to Civil War: His case was huge, the court just said that he wasn't a U.S. citizen so he had to be a slave. A lot of people felt that he should have been free, because he'd lived on free land for so long. (Slavery!)

The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854

Kansas and Nebraska was allowed to decide whether they wanted slavery in their state or not. The act revoked the Missouri Compromise. A lot of people in the North got angry because the took the compromise seriously and many people in the South did too. Before the first election people from the opposed slavery and people who wanted slavery rushed in to try to get the election to go their way. They had two elections and neither of them went the way they wanted to. So their was violence involved. (in Kansas) After that the territory was named "bleeding Kansas". They had another election in which the people who wanted slavery won. But the Congress didn't accept their constitution and Kansas didn't become a state. Finally the people opposed slavery won and their constitution was accepted; so they became a free state in the Union on January 29th 1861. Significance to Civil War: I think that this was a major event and some people probably wanted to go to war right then because of this. They had an agreement, but it was broken.


John Brown's Raid of 1859

John Brown was an abolitionist. He had gathered a group of 21 men and wanted to make the slaves lives better, he wanted to get them to fight and armed with weapons. Unfortunately, his plan didn't go so well and by the second day or so; most of his men were captured or killed. Significance to Civil War: I can see how people wanted slavery to end really badly and how slavery is a terrible thing. I can't imagine how much pain the people had to go through. I bet many people were inspired to fight too, which led up to the Civil War.