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Causes of the Civil War-The Crisis of the Union

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1 Causes of the Civil War-The Crisis of the Union

2 Problems of Sectional Balance in 1850
California statehood. Southern “fire-eaters” threatening secession. Underground RR & fugitive slave issues: Personal liberty laws Prigg v. Pennsylvania (1842)


4 Problems of sectional balance in 1849
Compromise of 1850 Problems of sectional balance in 1849 California – Gold Rush Fugitive slaves Attempts at compromise Henry Clay Zachary Taylor/Millard A. Fillmore Stephen A. Douglas Compromise of 1850 1) California 2) Remainder of Mexican Cession 3) Fugitive slaves 4) Slave trade in D.C. Henry Clay Presenting his compromise of 1850 in the Senate Description: Henry Clay (presenting his compromise), Millard Fillmore (presiding), John C. Calhoun (right of Fillmore), and Daniel Webster (head in hand) in the Senate, By Peter Rothermel. (Clay) (Douglas) Stephen A. Douglas

5 Compromise of 1850 Signaled End of Period of Political Leaders Seeking National Interest Clay – tired, disappointed after his national compromise bill defeated John C. Calhoun – had sought compromise bill that heavily favored the South; would never have passed, but still seeking national compromise; died before passage of Compromise Daniel Webster – left Congress for diplomatic post in course of debate Replaced by Leaders with personal or sectional interests: Douglas, Seward, J.Davis

Old national leadership: (Clay, Webster, Calhoun) Northern opposition to Fugitive Slave Act Growth of Free-Soil Party (founded 1848) Whig Party? Personal Liberty Laws Ableman v. Booth (1857) “Young America” Ostend Manifesto (1854) Gadsden Purchase (1853)

7 Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811 – 1896)
So this is the lady who started the Civil War Abraham Lincoln

8 Uncle Tom’s Cabin 1852 Sold 300,000 copies in the first year.
2 million in a decade!

9 KANSAS-NEBRASKA ACT & the Emergence of the Republican Party

10 Kansas-Nebraska Act, 1854 Pageant 13e

11 “The Crime Against Kansas”
Douglas (who was present in the chamber) was a "noise-some, squat, and nameless animal...not a proper model for an American senator." Butler was a pimp who took "a mistress who, though ugly to others, is always lovely to him; though polluted in the sight of the world, is chaste in his sight—I mean, the harlot, Slavery." Pojer; Brooks: Sen. Charles Sumner (R-MA) Congr. Preston Brooks (D-SC)

12 “Bleeding Kansas” John Brown Pottawatomie Massacre (1856)
Pageant 12e via Pojer “Bleeding Kansas” ( ) John Brown Pottawatomie Massacre (1856) Lecompton Constitution (1857) Border “Ruffians” (pro-slavery Missourians)

13 Political Parties

14 The “Know-Nothings” [The American Party]
Nativists. Anti-Catholics. Anti-immigrants. 1849  Secret Order of the Star-Spangled Banner created in NYC.

15 Birth of the Republican Party, 1854
Northern Whigs. Northern Democrats. Free-Soilers. Know-Nothings. Other miscellaneous opponents of the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

16 Republican Party Platform in 1860
Non-extension of slavery [for the Free-Soilers. Protective tariff [for the No. Industrialists]. No abridgment of rights for immigrants [a disappointment for the “Know-Nothings”]. Government aid to build a Pacific RR [for the Northwest]. Internal improvements [for the West] at federal expense. Free homesteads for the public domain [for farmers].


Provided, territory from that, as an express and fundamental condition to the acquisition of any the Republic of Mexico by the United States, by virtue of any treaty which may be negotiated between them, and to the use by the Executive of the moneys herein appropriated, neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall ever exist in any part of said territory, except for crime, whereof the party shall first be duly convicted. Slavery & the Territories “gag rule” Wilmot Proviso ( ) Rep. David Wilmot (D-PA)

Sectional Controversy Hardened Attitudes: South - “positive good” thesis Good for slaves, southern society, the U.S. North – Free Labor ideology Slavery is bad for white Americans American democracy=property, opportunity for advancement “free soil” “slave power conspiracy”

20 Free and slave states and territories, 1848

21 1856 Election Results


23 Dred Scott Decision (1857) Dred Scott v. Sandford
Slaves were property, not citizens, even if taken to free states Result: U.S. govern-ment prohibited from limiting the spread of slavery in territories

24 John Brown’s Raid on Harper’s Ferry

25 John Brown’s Raid on Harper’s Ferry, 1859

26 John Brown’s Raid on Harper’s Ferry, 1859

27 John Brown’s Raid on Harper’s Ferry, Oct. 16, 1859
John Brown and 21 men attacked the federal arsenal in Harper’s Ferry, VA to ob-tain guns for a slave rebellion

28 Reactions to John Brown’s Raid
Northern abolitionists made Brown into a martyr- but most didn’t like him, including Lincoln Southerners were terrified that other abolitionists would incite slave rebellions

29 John Brown: Martyr or Madman?
Description: John Brown. Ca Copy of a daguerrotype. Credit: National Archives and Records Administration; Description: "The Tradgic Prelude. John Brown." Copy of mural by John Steuart Curry in the State Capital of Topeka, KS, ca Credit: National Archives and Records Administration John Brown ca. 1850 “The Tragic Prelude (John Brown)”

30 Election of 1860

31 1860 Presidential Election
√ Abraham Lincoln Republican John Bell Constitutional Union 1860 Presidential Election Stephen A. Douglas Northern Democrat John C. Breckinridge Southern Democrat

32 1860 Election Results

33 Election of 1860

34 For the South Lincoln’s election
was the final straw – they were convinced he intended to abolish slavery. That was not his intent, rather he saw slavery as a moral issue and that it should not be allowed to spread. ( Southern states would not have had to give up slavery.)

35 Secession

36 Secession!: SC Dec. 20, 1860

37 The Process of Secession, 1860-1861
Henretta, America’s History 5e from

38 Flyer from South Carolina announcing secession

39 Fort Sumter: April 12, 1861

40 Ft. Sumter Boston Evening Transcript, April 13, 1861

41 Sources Uncle Tom’s Cabin and American Culture, Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, University of Virginia - Harriet Beecher Stowe Center - PBS “Africans in America” - Lincoln/Net, Northern Illinois University - Brinkley 10th ed Susan M. Pojer, Horace Greeley H.S., Chappaqua, NY American Pageant, 13th ed. Faragher, Out of Many, 3rd ed.

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