Road to Civil War

Fugitive Slave Act of 1793

A federal pair of laws that allowed for the capture and return of runaway slaves. It was enacted by Congress in 1793. The first Fugitive Slave Act authorized local governments to seize and return escaped slaves. It impacted the North by setting a lot of tension to the North. The act mostly aimed for the North. It made them feel like they were part of the slave system. It impacted the South by making it a little easier to get their slaves back. They could get more slaves than they had before because now the North was involved and you couldn't prove if you were free.

Compromise of 1850

A set of laws, passed in the midst of fierce wrangling between groups favoring slavery and groups opposing it that attempted to give something to both sides. The compromise admitted California to the United States as a "free" state but allowed some newly acquired territories to decide on slavery for themselves. Part of the compromise included the fugitive slave act. It impacted the North by there being a divider to separate them from parts of the South. It impacted the South by some of the being blocked from other slave states.

Uncle Tom's Cabin

Published by Harriet Beecher Stowe. The North saw how harsh slavery really was. They didn't like slavery and they ruled against it. They became very aware of the horror of slavery. The South met the book as an outrage. They branded it an irresponsible book of distortions and overstatements.

Bleeding Kansas 1854

A series of violent political confrontations in the United States. It involved anti-slavery Free-staters and pro-slavery "Border Ruffian" elements. It took place in the Kansas territory and the neighboring towns of Missouri. Abolitionists in the North organized and funded several thousand settlers to move to Kansas and vote later to make it a free state.

Kansas-Nebraska Act 1854

It allowed people in the territories of Kansas and Nebraska to decide for themselves whether or not to allow slavery within their borders. The act served to repeal the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which prohibited slavery North of latitude 36 degree 30. It impacted the North by letting Kansas and Nebraska to make the decision about slavery. The North was very upset about this. It impacted the South by letting them decide what the verdict on slavery would be.

Dred Scott Case 1857

A controversial ruling made by the supreme court in 1857, shortly before the outbreak of The Civil War. Dred Scott was a slave. He sought to be declared a free man on the basis that he had lived for a time in a "free" territory with his master. It was an eye opener to northerners who believed that slavery was tolerable as long as it stayed in the south. The North felt that they had to stop slavery now or they wouldn't get another chance to do it. The growing fear in the North started The Civil War. It impacted the South by them getting a victory because Scott was still a slave he wasn't a citizen.

Lincoln/Douglass Debates 1858

A series of seven debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. This impacted the North by them wanting to vote for Lincoln because he was anti-slavery. The South wanted to vote for Douglas because he wanted slavery to expand.

John Brown at Harper's Ferry 1859

An attempt by John Brown to start an armed revolt in 1859 by seizing a United States arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Brown's raid, accompanied by 20 men in his party, was defeated by a detachment in the U.S. Marines. It impacted the North and South by him deepening the division of the North and the South.

Election of Lincoln 1860

Lincoln ran against Douglas again, who represented the Northern faction of a heavily divided Democratic Party, as well as Breckinridge and Bell. This impacted the North by them voting for Lincoln to win because he was anti-slavery. They knew that they had a chance of abolishing slavery with Lincoln in office. It impacted the South by them getting scared that slavery was going to end because their president ruled against it.

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