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THE COMING OF THE CIVIL WAR The Slave Power Comes North –new fugitive slave law encouraged southerners to recover escaped slaves, which caused panic among.

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Presentation on theme: "THE COMING OF THE CIVIL WAR The Slave Power Comes North –new fugitive slave law encouraged southerners to recover escaped slaves, which caused panic among."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE COMING OF THE CIVIL WAR The Slave Power Comes North –new fugitive slave law encouraged southerners to recover escaped slaves, which caused panic among black communities in northern cities –many blacks, not all of them former slaves, fled to Canada –many northerners refused to cooperate with the law, and abolitionists often interfered with its enforcement; in some northern states, the law became difficult to enforce –southerners accused the North of reneging on the Compromise of 1850

2 “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” –Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), became an immediate best-seller, added to sectional tensions, and brought home the evils of slavery to many northerners –southerners accused it of distorting plantation life

3 Diversions Abroad: The “Young America” Movement –spurred by a belief in manifest destiny, a search for new markets, a desire to spread democracy to the rest of the world, and a need for a distraction from sectional tensions, America embarked on an aggressive foreign policy known as the Young America movement –this expansionist sentiment encouraged William Walker to attempt to gain control of Nicaragua and George Bickley to attempt the conquest of Mexico

4 –in 1850, Secretary of State John Clayton and the British minister to the United States, Henry Lytton Bulwer, negotiated a treaty providing for demilitarization and joint Anglo-American control of any canal across the Central American isthmus –America had long been interested in Cuba, and that interest increased because of its strategic importance

5 –American ministers in Europe produced the Ostend Manifesto in 1854, which proposed that America should buy Cuba or take it by force if Spain refused to sell –news of the manifesto outraged northerners, who saw it as a “slaveholders’ plot,” and the government was forced to disavow the manifesto along with any plans for acquiring Cuba –Commodore Perry’s expedition to open Japan (1852) was another manifestation of the expansionist mood

6 Douglas: The Little Giant –the most prominent spokesman for the Young America movement was Stephen A. Douglas –Douglas based his politics on expansion and popular sovereignty –although he opposed the expansion of slavery to the territories, he refused to acknowledge that any moral issue was involved –he believed that natural conditions would prevent slavery from expanding westward

7 –Douglas wanted the Democratic nomination for president in 1852, but the party chose Franklin Pierce, who easily defeated General Winfield Scott, the Whig’s nominee –the Whig party was rapidly disintegrating –“Cotton Whigs” of the South, alienated by the antislavery opinions of northern Whigs, flocked to the Democrats –southern Democrats controlled Congress, which disturbed both Democrats and Whigs in the North

8 The Kansas-Nebraska Act –Douglas wanted the Nebraska Territory organized to open the region for a transcontinental railroad; southerners opposed Douglas’s plans –they wanted a southern route; moreover, Nebraska lay north of the Missouri Compromise line and would presumably become a free state

9 –in an effort to gain southern support, Douglas agreed to divide the Nebraska Territory into Kansas and Nebraska and to repeal the Missouri Compromise’s prohibition of slavery north of 36 degrees, 30 minutes –popular sovereignty would decide the status of slavery in the territories –in spite of strong opposition in the North, Douglas mustered enough support to pass the bill –the Kansas-Nebraska Act was the single greatest step toward secession and civil war

10 Know-Nothings and Republicans –two new parties emerged from the demise of the Whigs: the American, or “Know- Nothing,” party and the Republican party –the Know-Nothings espoused a nativist platform –Nativist issues cut across sectional lines, and the American party had support in all sections –although most Know-Nothings disliked blacks, the party tended to adopt the view of slavery predominant in whichever section they were located

11 –former Free Soilers, “Conscience” Whigs, and “Anti-Nebraska” Democrats banded together in the Republican party –support for the Republicans came almost exclusively from the North –Republicans were not abolitionists; rather, they wanted to keep slavery out of the territories, primarily to maintain exclusive access to the West for free white labor

12 “Bleeding Kansas” –the status of slavery in Kansas became a national issue, as abolitionists and defenders of slavery attempted to control the territory –Proslavery “border ruffians” from Missouri crossed into Kansas and helped to elect a proslavery territorial legislature in 1855 –antislavery settlers elected a legislature of their own –President Pierce’s denunciation of the free- state government at Topeka encouraged the proslavery forces to take the offensive

13 –they sacked the antislavery town of Lawrence; in retaliation, John Brown, an antislavery extremist, and his followers murdered five proslavery men at Pottawatomie Creek

14 Senator Sumner Becomes a Martyr –Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts attacked the Kansas-Nebraska Act and demanded that Kansas be admitted as a free state –he savagely berated Douglas and Senator Andrew Butler of South Carolina –Butler’s nephew, Congressman Preston Brooks, took it on himself to defend his uncle’s honor by beating Sumner with a cane on the floor of the Senate

15 –Brooks became a southern hero; northerners regarded the incident as evidence of the brutalizing effect of slavery and considered Sumner a martyr

16 Buchanan Tries His Hand –Republicans nominated John C. Frémont as their candidate in 1856 –Democrats chose James Buchanan –American party nominated ex-president Fillmore –Democrats won by denouncing Republicans as sectional party that threatened to destroy Union –while Republicans believed that Buchanan lacked the character to stand up to southern extremists, many hoped that he could promote reconciliation

17 The Dred Scott Decision –Dred Scott was a slave who accompanied his owner from Missouri to Illinois and Wisconsin Territory before returning to Missouri –in 1846, Scott brought suit in Missouri for his freedom, claiming that his residence in Illinois and Wisconsin, where slavery was prohibited, made him free –in 1857, the Supreme Court ruled that blacks were not citizens and therefore could not sue in federal court

18 –not satisfied with that ruling, the Court went further and declared the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional because it denied individuals the right to enjoy their property without due process of law –the Dred Scott decision threatened Douglas’s principle of popular sovereignty; if Congress could not exclude slaves from a territory, surely a mere territorial legislature could not –the decision convinced many in the North that the South was engaged in an aggressive attempt to extend slavery

19 The Lecompton Constitution –Buchanan appointed Robert J. Walker as territorial governor of Kansas –although a southerner, Walker opposed the introduction of slavery into the territory against the will of its inhabitants –proslavery leaders in Kansas convened a constitutional convention in Lecompton, in which the Free Soilers refused to participate –the rump convention drafted a proslavery constitution and refused to submit it to a vote of all settlers

20 –Walker denounced the constitution, but Buchanan recommended that Congress admit Kansas to the Union with the Lecompton Constitution as its frame of government –this decision brought Buchanan into conflict with Douglas and split the Democratic party –in a referendum held in 1858, voters in Kansas overwhelmingly rejected the Lecompton Constitution

21 The Emergence of Lincoln –many northerners regarded Douglas as the best hope of preserving the Union, so his bid for reelection to the Senate attracted considerable attention –his Republican opponent was Abraham Lincoln, a lawyer who had previously served in the Illinois legislature and in Congress –Lincoln”s personality was complex –possessed of a wonderful sense of humor, he was subject to fits of melancholy

22 –while not an abolitionist, Lincoln opposed the expansion of slavery into the territories –the revival of the slavery controversy in 1854 led Lincoln to a more explicit moral opposition to slavery –still, he attacked the institution rather than the slave owners –his position won support from many who attempted to reconcile their opposition to slavery with a desire to preserve the Union

23 The Lincoln-Douglas Debates –Public attention focused on a series of seven debates between Lincoln and Douglas –in reality, the two men differed little on the subject of slavery –neither wanted slavery extended into the territories; neither believed that it would flourish in the West; and neither favored forced abolition. In the debates, however, they tended to exaggerate their differences

24 –Douglas characterized Lincoln as abolitionist, and Lincoln portrayed Douglas as proslavery and as a defender of the Dred Scott decision –in the Freeport debate, Lincoln pressed Douglas into admitting that the Dred Scott decision could not prohibit settlers from excluding slavery from a territory, because settlers could refuse to enact the local laws necessary to protect slavery –the so-called Freeport Doctrine helped Douglas win reelection, but it cost him dearly in the presidential campaign of 1860

25 John Brown’s Raid –in October 1859, John Brown and a small group of followers attacked the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia –they hoped to incite slaves to rebel and to use the weapons to arm the slaves –no slaves joined them, and Brown was captured, convicted of treason, and hanged –northerners regarded him as a martyr, while white southerners viewed him as a typical radical abolitionist

26 The Election of 1860 –by 1860, Southern paranoia resulted in aggressive policies designed to defend slavery and in talk of secession –at the Democratic convention in Charleston, southern delegates refused to support Douglas, who represented the best hope for preventing a rupture between North and South, and the convention adjourned without selecting a candidate –a second convention failed to produce agreement, and the two wings met separately

27 –northern Democrats nominated Douglas, and southern Democrats chose John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky –Republicans drafted a platform attractive to all classes and all sections of the northern and western states –they advocated a high tariff, a homestead law, internal improvements, and the exclusion of slavery in the territories –Republicans chose Lincoln as their candidate because of his moderate views, his political personality, and his residence in a crucial state

28 –the Constitutional Unionist party, composed of the remnants of the Whig and American parties, nominated John Bell of Tennessee –Lincoln received a plurality, although nowhere near a majority, of the popular vote; however, he won a decisive victory in the electoral college

29 The Secession Crisis –in late 1860 and early 1861, South Carolina and six states of the Lower South seceded from the Union and established a provisional government for the Confederate States of America –other southern states announced that they would secede if the North used force against the Confederacy –South seceded because it feared northern economic and political domination

30 –some believed that independence would produce a more balanced economy in the South –years of sectional conflict and growing northern criticism of slavery had undermined patriotic feelings of southerners –States’ rights and a strict constructionist interpretation of the Constitution provided the South with justification for its action –like many northerners, President-elect Lincoln believed that secession was only a bluff designed to win concessions from the North, and southerners believed that the North would not resist secession with force

31 –President Buchanan recognized the seriousness of the situation but claimed to be without legal power to prevent secession –moderates proposed the Crittenden Compromise, an amendment that would have recognized slavery south of 36 degrees, 30 minutes, but Lincoln opposed any extension of slavery into the territories –with the failure of the Crittenden Compromise, the Confederacy made preparations for independence, while Buchanan bumbled helplessly in Washington


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