Road to the Civil War

By: Evan Blomquist

The Civil War started because of a massive build up between different beliefs and ideas of how the country should be run. Whether or not to have slaves also played a major factor in the build up to this war. The North believed in the abolishment of slaves, and the South believed slavery was a constitutional right to have them and started arguing against the North.

Manifest Destiny

This is the picture portrays how the country was broken up during this time and the current states.

Manifest Destiny was the idea that The U.S. had the God given right to own the land from the atlantic ocean all the way west to the Pacific Ocean. They basically went and took land that already belonged to Mexico. For example when Mexico owned Texas they allowed Americans to settle there, but after a while they believed it was there right to have that land and started the Mexican-American war.

Kansas & Nebraska Act

The Kansas-Nebraska Act was an 1854 bill that mandated “popular sovereignty”–allowing settlers of a territory to decide whether slavery would be allowed within a new state’s borders. This caused a mass rush of people to these areas so they could vote whether it was a slave state or a free state based on popular sovereignty. Led to conflict between abolitionist settlers from the North, and pro-slavery settlers from the South. This period of violence was known as Bleeding Kansas.

Fugitive Slave Laws of 1850

The fugitive slave laws were implemented during the Kansas and Nebraska Act to keep the slaves from escaping. They mainly kept escaped slaves from becoming free when they got to free states. They also could accuse any black of being an escaped slave, and they couldn't speak against accusations. This greatly angered people in the north who were mainly abolitionists because they had to by federal law assist slave hunters find escaped slaves. The south loved it because the escaped slaves were being tracked down, and the laws were being enforced by the federal government.

Uncle Tom's Cabin

It was an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe published in 1852. Tom was the slave that the novel revolved around, and depicted how life as a slave really was. This novel was one of the main things that supported the abolitionist's cause during the 1850's. The North loved the book and made various theatrical shows based off of it that were known as "Uncle Tom Shows". The South criticized the book and many southern slave owners wrote books saying that Stowe's point of view was wrong. Lincoln was allegedly said “So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war." This book had a major impact on the views of slavery. The North grew even more against it, causing the abolitionist viewpoints to rise in numbers.

Transcontinental Railroad

In 1862, the Pacific Railroad Act chartered the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific Railroad Companies, and tasked them with building a transcontinental railroad that would link the United States from east to west. During the next seven years, the two companies would race toward each other from Sacramento, California on the one side and Omaha, Nebraska on the other, struggling against great risks before they met at Promontory, Utah, on May 10, 1869. The railroad greatly boosted the economy when it was finished. Instead of sending goods by horse or on foot, they could now ship them all over the country faster through the railroad. This was a great advantage to the industrialized North, because they were able to quickly ship their manufactured goods. The Republicans wanted a transcontinental railroad following a northern route that would link New York and Chicago with San Francisco. This would give the North a monopoly on trade with the Far West. The South bitterly opposed that railroad because it mainly relied on cash crop and were being charged shipping tariffs. Land had already been allocated for a Southern route, but the North had voted to block the funding to construct it. Which meant the South would have to fund it on their own if they had to build it.

Dread Scott Decision

In 1857, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in the Dred Scott case, affirming the right of slave owners to take their slaves into the Western territories, negating the doctrine of popular sovereignty and severely undermining the platform of the newly created Republican Party. The south was for it because it meant they could take slaves with them into the new territories. The North was highly against this decision because they saw this as an act of the Southerners wanting to take over the country and rule, and extend slavery throughout the nation. This ended up putting a larger gap between the North and the South.

Reform Movements

  • Women's Rights Movement- This movement led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott held a women's rights conference at the Seneca Fall Convention. At the convention they wrote a Declaration of Women's Rights.
  • Temperance Movement- Was the movement to eliminate alcohol completely
  • Education- Led by Horace Mann,was a movement to create mandatory public education in America. It was eventually successful.
Horace Mann
  • Treatment of the Insane- Reformers led by Dorothea Dix led the way to more modern treatment of the mentally ill.
Dorothea Dix

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