The Civil War On April 12, 1861, the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter in South Carolina. A civil war is a war between groups within the same country. Tensions had been rising between people in Northern states and Southern states for many years. The main cause for this tension was the issue of slavery.civil war
Slavery in Missouri Slavery had existed in Missouri for many years. In 1820, Missouri’s enslaved population was just over 10,000. Most Missourians at that time had come from Southern states. Some had brought their slaves with them to work on their new farms.
Slavery in Missouri Over the next 40 years, many people from Northern states and from other countries moved to Missouri. These people did not have slaves. Many of them did not approve of slavery. However, most did not speak out on the issue. This prevented conflict with Missouri slaveholders.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act In 1854, Congress passed the Kansas- Nebraska Act. This law created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska on Missouri’s western border. According to the Missouri Compromise, these lands were supposed to be free. The new act canceled the Missouri Compromise. People in the territories would vote on whether to allow slavery.
Border Wars Many Missourians in the western part of the state owned slaves and did not want Kansas to become a free state. Some, called Border Ruffians, crossed into Kansas to vote illegally or to attack other groups. Fights broke out along the border.
The Nation Tears Apart In 1861, 11 states left the United States to form a new country called the Confederate States of America. Missouri faced an important decision. Should it stay in the United States, or join the Confederacy? Although Missouri chose to stay, not all Missourians supported the decision. Some felt closer ties to the people of the South.
Conflict Leads to War President Lincoln did not accept the states leaving the Union. War broke out between the United States and the Confederacy. There was much fighting on Missouri land. Only Virginia and Tennessee saw more fighting. The Battle of Wilson’s Creek was the first major battle west of the Mississippi River.
The End of the War In January 1865, Missouri became the first former slave state to end slavery. Missouri took this important step before the federal government. A month later, Congress sent states the 13 th Amendment for their approval. It was an addition to the United States Constitution. It ended slavery everywhere in the nation.
civil war A war fought between groups within the same country. Back to text