Road to Civil War By Jack Wellenhofer

Manifest Destiny was the idea that American's were destined by god to conquer western land from its native peoples.  The concept Manifest destiny began in the 19th century  when the term "Manifest Destiny" was first used by John O'Sullivan in the New York  Democratic Review.  Manifest Destiny was significant because it was the primary force that caused the United States to expand West across North America.  This would lead to a great amount of regional conflict.

The fugitive slave law of 1850 (implemented on September 18, 1850) was one of the most controversial elements of the 1850 compromise and heightened the north's fears of "slave power conspiracy".  This controversial law allowed slave hunters to seize alleged fugitive slaves without due process of law and prohibited anyone from aiding escaped fugitives or interfering with their recovery.  Because it was often presumed that a black person was a slave, the law threatened the safety of all blacks, slave and free.  The north became more defiant of this law while the south continued to hunt slaves.

Uncle toms cabin was published on March 20th, 1852.  The novel is by Harriet Beecher Stowe, an american abolitionist.  It is credited with helping fuel the abolitionist cause in the 1850s.  In the first year after it was published, 300,000 copies of the book were sold in the United States.  The book helped spread abolitionism to the north and south and was a huge influence.  

The Kansas and Nebraska act was put into place on May 30th, 1854.  The act created new lands for Kansas and Nebraska, opening new lands for settlement, and had the effect of repealing the Missouri Compromise  of 1820 by allowing white male settlers in those territories to determine through Popular Sovereignty whether they would allow slavery within each territory.  

The Dred scott decision took place on March 6th, 1857. Dred Scott  was the name of an African-American slave. He was taken by his master, an officer in the U.S. Army, from the slave state of Missouri to the free state of Illinois and then to the free territory of Wisconsin. He lived on free soil for a long period of time. The Dred Scott decision had the effect of widening the political and social gap between North and South and took the nation closer to the brink of Civil War.

The transcontinental railroad was completed on May 10th, 1869.  The First Transcontinental Railroad was a 1,907-mile (3,069 km) contiguous railroad line constructed between 1863 and 1869 across the western U.S. to connect the Pacific coast at San Francisco Bay with the existing Eastern U.S. rail network at Council Bluffs, Iowa, on the Missouri.  This railroad connected the North and South to the rest of the world.  The only group who did not benefit from the railroad were the Native Americans, who were forced to leave their native lands.

The woman's right reform started in 1848.   The first gathering devoted to women’s rights in the United States was held July 19–20, 1848, in Seneca Falls, New York. The principal organizers of the Seneca Falls Convention were Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a mother of four from upstate New York, and the Quaker abolitionist Lucretia Mott.  This is where the Woman's suffrage movement began.  During this movement women fought for more  basic rights, more entitlement, more wages, more equal opportunity's  and for the right to vote.   This had a direct impact on the north and south because it gave the woman of these regions more rights, especially because the north was so industrialized and  the south had such a strong labor force.

The Anti-Slavery movement or the abolition movement began in the 1830's.  During this movement, abolitionist pushed for freedom and equal rights for slaves.  The abolitionist would help the slaves in anyway they could. (The underground railroad is a great example of this.  The underground railroad was a set of escape routes for run away slaves that was run by free slaves and Abolitionist.)  This had a HUGE impact on the south.  The North was already against slavery, so this reform didn't really do anything to change their views.  But the south had completely different views and depended on the slaves for labor.  So without this movement, the end of slavery would have been delayed by many, years.

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