Kaitlin Williams & Jeanaye Watson

Road To Civil War

Inspired by the Second Great Awakening and Transcendentalism, Americans started a number of social reform movements in the antebellum era, including the fight against alcohol and slavery and the fight for public schools, humans prisons and asylums, and women's rights.

-Reform Movement: moment intended to bring about social and humanistic reforms.

  • Social Reform: Ralph Waldo Emerson was considered the leader of the transcendentalists, an American philosophical movement that believed all humans, like all nature, were born good.
  • Temperance Movement: Sought to limit or even ban the consumption of alcohol.
  • Education: Horace Mann took control of new Massachusetts Board of Education and pursued free, equal, non religious schooling for all social classes.
  • Prisons and Asylums: Dorothea Dix help create public institutions dedicated to the treatment of mental illness.

-Manifest Destiny: an expression that was popular in the 1840s. Many people believed that the U.S. was destined to secure territory from "sea to sea", from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

-Fugitive Slaw Law of 1850: a pair of federal laws that allowed for the capture and return to runaway slaves within the territory of the United States.

-Uncle Tom's Cabin: an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Published in 1852, the novel helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War.

  1. What did Lincoln say about this work?

         Abraham Lincoln greeted Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1862 by saying "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war." Whether the story is true or not, the sentiment underscores the public connection between Uncle Tom's Cabin and the Civil War.

2. This work made slavery what type of issue?

-Kansas Nebraska Act: 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.

-Transcontinental Railroad: completed in 1869 at Promontory, Utah; it linked the eastern railroad system, revolutionizing transportation in the West.

-Dred Scott Decision: a Missouri slave decided to sue for his freedom, claiming that his four-year stay in the northern portion of the Louisiana Territory made free land by the Missouri Compromise had made him a free man.

Impact on North and South

  • The expansion of the US all the way to the Pacific impacted the South because it became evident that most states would become 'free' states, lessening the power of the South in Congress. With anti-slavery proponents becoming even more determined, the South knew that it was on borrowed time until the North could pass laws that effectively outlawed slavery.

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