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Wondering what caused the infamous American Civil War? Here are the events that lead up to the bloody conflict:
The Second Great Awakening (early to mid-1800s) 🙏💭🙏
- Greatly boosted the abolition movement in the North.
The Abolition Movement (growing during the 1830s) 🙅🙅🙅
- William Lloyd Garrison-published anti-slavery newspaper called the Liberator and created the “American Anti-Slavery Society.”
- Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth wrote and spoke for emancipation.
- Harriet Tubman ran the underground railroad, which helped slaves escape to freedom.
Expansion (mid-1800s) 🌾🌾🌾
- During Polk’s presidency, the Mexican-American war ended and through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the Mexican Cession gave the US Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada, and Utah.
- Sectional tension increased between the north and south as both sections were concerned if new territories would become slave states or free states. An imbalance of slave and free states would give one section more power than the other in congress.
- Originally the Missouri Compromise (1820) decided all states north of 36 30 parallel were free and the rest were slave, making an even balance. After new land was gained in Mexico a new compromise was proposed called the Compromise of 1850.
- Wilmot Proviso (1846) proposed banning slavery in Mexican Cession states. This failed.
Free Soil Party 🌅🌾🌅
- Party based on banning slavery from new territories.
Compromise of 1850 😡😕😡
- Passed and admitted California as a free state and created a stricter fugitive slave law. This law forced northerners to turn in runaway slaves, which grew support for abolitionism in the north.
- It also decided Utah and New Mexico were territories with popular sovereignty, meaning the people living there voted on whether they were free or slave territories.
“Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1852) 🏡🏡🏡
- This novel created support for the abolitionist movement by detailing the violence of slavery.
Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854) 😡😕😡
- Kansas and Nebraska as territories with popular sovereignty.
- Northerners were angry that slavery could be allowed there, and the Republican party was created.
Bleeding Kansas (1856) 💉🔪💉
- When Kansas held elections to decide if they would allow slavery, pro-slavery people traveled to Kansas and illegally voted.
- Lecompton Constitution is passed, which legalized slavery in Kansas.
- Conflict between pro and anti-slavery forces leads to deadly fights.
Dred Scott v. Sanford (1856) 😟😟😟
- Dred Scott was a slave in the South, but after his owner brought him to the north, he sued for his freedom. The Supreme Court ruled that he was not free because slaves were property.
- Angered northerners because it legalized bringing slaves into any territory.
Harpers Ferry (1859) 😡💣😡
- John Brown attempted to raid the federal arsenal of Harpers Ferry to get guns in order to arm slaves who would join him in an uprising. His plan failed and he was caught and hung.
- Some northerners viewed him as a hero, while southerners were disgusted with his actions.
Lincoln’s Election (1860) 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
Crittendon Compromise (1860) 📄😡🌋
- This final compromise attempt proposed slave states stay slave states, and that the line from the Missouri Compromise decides if new territories were free or slave.
- Shortly after Lincoln's election and the failure of the compromise, South Carolina seceded from the Union and the other southern states followed creating the Confederate State of America.
- Jefferson Davis was elected president of Confederacy.
Fort Sumter (1860) 💣💣💣
- The first shots of the Civil War are fired, as the Confederacy shoots at a Union ship.