THE ROAD TO SECESSION CAUSES OF THE CIVIL WAR
The Missouri Compromise • The Problem: • In 1819, 11 states permitted slavery and 11 did not, giving an equal balance of representation. • Slaveholding Missouri asked to join the Union. • Admitting a slave state would shift the balance in favor of the Southern slave states. • Should territories of the Louisiana purchase be admitted as slave states or free states?
The Missouri Compromise The Solution: House Henry Clay proposed the “Missouri Compromise” which would allow Missouri’s admittance as a slave state while simultaneously admitting Maine as a free state. The Compromise also prohibited slavery in the remainder of the Louisiana Purchase north of 36-30N latitude.
The Compromise of 1850 The Problem: • After acquiring the Mexican Cession, the US must again decide whether the territories there will be admitted as slave states or free states.
The Compromise of 1850 The Solution: • California would be admitted as a free state • The New Mexico territory would have no restriction on slavery. • The slave trade, but not slavery itself, would be abolished in the District of Columbia (Washington D.C). • A stronger Fugitive Slave Law that was criticized in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Kansas-Nebraska Act The Problem: • In 1854 Stephen Douglas proposes that “popular sovereignty” should be how the slavery issue should be decided in new territories. • This would overturn the Missouri Compromise. • He makes this proposal to get Southern support for a railroad in the North.
Kansas-Nebraska Act The Response: • The law passed, overturning the Missouri Compromise. • The act led to bloodshed in Kansas when it was time to vote. • Critics of the act formed a new political party, The Republicans, “overnight”. • They wanted to let slavery continue in the South, but not extend it to any new territories.
The Dred Scott v. Sanford The Problem: • Dred Scott, a Southern slave, was taken to the North by his master and then back to slavery in the South. • Scott sued for his freedom. • Should he be considered “Free” because he had been on free soil and then taken back to slavery?
Dred Scott The Decision: • The court states: • Scott is not a citizen, so he is not entitled to bring a lawsuit before the court. • Africans could never become citizens because they were not included when the Constitution was written. • Slaves are property and Congress has no right to take away slaveholder’s property. • What it means: • Congress can’t legally prohibit slavery in new territories. • The Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional.
Dividing Issues The Problem: • Lincoln-Douglas debates (1858): • Debates during election for state Senator • 7 debates, each 3 hours long, entirely about slavery • Lincoln says: • Dred Scott decision wrong, African Americans are humansbeings with rights and no person could claim a moral right to enslave them. • Lincoln lost the election, but his position was clear. • John Brown’s Raid (1859): • A white abolitionist that starts a slave revolt at Harpers Ferry. It is ended quickly, he is tried and executed. • He is a hero in the North. • The South is alarmed and fearful.
Dividing Issues The Problem Continued: • Election of 1860: • Lincoln is the Republican Candidate. • 2 Democrat candidates because North and South can’t agree on one. • Lincoln wins but did not take a single Southern state. • What is the South to do?
The Nation Splits Apart • 6 Weeks after Lincoln is elected, South Carolina secedes – They followed the same process to leave the Union that they did to join it (Special convention and vote) • By February 1861 - Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia joined in secession as well (Eventually there would be 11) • The Confederate States of America was born • Capital: Montgomery, AL (Richmond, VA) • President: Jefferson Davis