The Civil War

Began on April 12, 1861 Northerners and Confederates both expected a short, glorious war and entered the war with high hopes of an early victory. However, the Civil War lasted 4 years and more Americans would die than in any other conflict

Events and How They Led up to the Civil War

Missouri Compromise

1820

The Missouri Compromise was a series of agreements used to settled whether or not Missouri would enter the Union as a free state or a slave state. Putting Missouri as either a free or slave state would make Congress unbalanced causing one side to have more power then the other. The solution to this problem was to separate Maine from Massachusetts and make it a free state and Missouri a slave state. It also made anything South of Missouri slave territory and banned it from anywhere North of Missouri.

Tariff of Abominations

1828

Congress in 1816 passed a tariff to protect the infant American industries. The tariff was increased in 1824 and again in 1828. The Tariff of Abominations, was called a “disgusting and loathsome” tariff by John C. Calhoun. As an agricultural region dependent on cotton, the South had to compete in the world market. The high tariff on manufactured goods reduced British exports to the United States and forced the South to buy the more expensive Northern manufactured goods. To the South, the North was getting rich at the expense to the South. In 1828 Calhoun wrote down his theory in a document entitled “The South Carolina Exposition,” but he did not sign his name to it. Nor did he say what he privately felt. Calhoun believed that if the federal government refused to permit a state to nullify a federal law, the state had the right to withdraw from the Union.

Underground Railroad

1830 - 1860

As time went on, free African Americans and white abolitionists developed a secret network of people who would, at great risk to themselves, aid fugitive slaves in their escape. It became known as the underground railroad. Fugitives were hid in secret tunnels and false cupboards and the "conductors" provided them with food and clothing. They escorted the fugitive slaves to the next "station", often in disguise. Harriet Tubman, born into slavery in either 1820 or 1821, was one of the most famous "conductors". She suffered a head injury, caused by a plantation overseer hitting her with a lead weight. Shortly after passage of the Fugitive Slave Act, Tubman became a conductor on the Underground Railroad. In all, she made 19 trips back to the South and is said to have helped 300 slaves—including her own parents—flee to freedom. Neither Tubman nor the slaves she helped were ever captured. Later she became an ardent speaker for abolition.

The Liberator

1831

William Lloyd Garrison, the most radical white abolitionist, started his own paper, The Liberator, in 1831 to deliver an uncompromising message: immediate emancipation with no payment to slaveholders. As white abolitionists began to respond to Garrison’s ideas, he founded the New England Anti-Slavery Society in 1832, followed by the national American AntiSlavery Society a year later. Garrison enjoyed core black support; three out of four early subscribers were African Americans. The whites who opposed abolition, however, hated him. Some whites supported it but opposed him when he attacked churches and the government for failing to condemn slavery.

Nat Turner Rebellion

August 1831

Nat Turner was a gifted preacher who believed that he had been chosen to lead his people out of bondage. In August, 1831, Turner and 80 follower attacked four plantations and killed nearly 60 white inhabitants. Turner hid out for weeks before being captured, trailed, and hanged for his actions. In retaliation to Turner's Rebellon, whites killed as many as 200 blacks, most of them being innocent of any connection to Nat Turners uprising. This bloody rebellion strengthened the resolve of Southern whites to defend slavery and to control their slave. In some states, in the aftermath of the Turner rebellion, people argued that the only way to prevent further slave revolts was through emancipation. Others, however, chose to tighten restrictions on all African Americans.

Force Bill

1833

When Congress passed a tariff law in 1832 that South Carolina legislators had still found unacceptable, the issue of states' rights was finally put to a test. They had declared the tariffs of 1828 and 1832 "unauthorized by the Constitution" and "null and void, and no law." They threatened that if customs officials tried to collect duties, then they would secede. This made Jackson furious. He believed that SC's actions fluted the will of the people as expressed in the U.S. Constitution. He declared their action treasonous and threatened to hang Calhoun and march troops into SC to enforce the tariff. To make good on his threats, Jackson next persuaded Congress to pass the Force Bill in 1833. This bill allowed the federal government to use the army and navy against South Carolina if state authorities resisted paying proper duties.In 1833 the Great Compromiser, Henry Clay, proposed a tariff bill that would gradually lower duties over a ten-year period.

Publishing of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas

1845

Wimot Proviso

1846

The Wilmot Proviso was, by Representative David Wilmot, suggested that "slavery shall never exist" in the land gained from Mexico and the Treaty of Guadalupe. This law was passed in the House of Representatives but Congress refused to vote on it, behind Senator John C. Calhoun (SC)'s objections. Calhoun had warned them that if Congress was to ban slavery, then it would lead to a war between the Union.

The Free-Soil Party

1848

In 1848 the Free-Soil Party, which opposed the extension of slavery into the territories, nominated former Democratic president Martin Van Buren. Many Northerners were Free-Soilers without being abolitionists. A number of Northern Free-Soilers supported laws prohibiting black settlement in their communities and denying blacks the right to vote. Free-Soilers objected to slavery’s impact on free white workers in the wage-based labor force, upon which the North depended. Free-Soilers detected a dangerous pattern in such events as the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act and the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. They were convinced that a conspiracy existed on the part of the “diabolical slave power” to spread slavery throughout the United States.

Treaty of Guadalupe

1848

The new land acquired after the Mexican American War (Treaty of Guadaloupe - 1848) raised the issue of whether slavery should be allowed to spread westward.

Fugitive Slave Act

1850

Under the law, alleged fugitives were not entitled to a trial by jury, despite the Sixth Amendment provision calling for a speedy and public jury trial and the right to counsel. They also couldn't testify on their own behalf and a statement from a slave owner was all it took to have a slave return. Frederick Douglas wasn't very happy with this law. Some Northerners, who were infuriated by this law, resisted it by organizing vigilance committees to send endangered African Americans to safety in Canada. Nine Northern states passed personal liberty laws, which forbade the imprisonment of runaway slaves and guaranteed that they would have jury trials. Southern slave owners were enraged by Northern resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act, prompting one Harvard law student from Georgia to tell his mother, “Do not be surprised if when I return home you find me a confirmed disunionist. '

The Compromise of 1850

1850

Henry Clay proposed the Compromise of 1850 in January, trying to find a way to keep both the Abolitionist North and the Pro-Slavery South happy
-California admitted to the Union as a free state
-Popular sovereignty to determine slavery in Utah and New Mexico
-Settled border dispute between Texas and New Mexico and paid off Texas’ debts
-Abolished slave trade (but not slavery) in Washington, D.C.
-Guaranteed strong federal enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Acts
The compromise was not passed at first, mostly because it was opposed by John C. Calhoun, who still felt that the Southern states were being treated unfairly and Northern agitation against slavery threatened to destroy the South. Again, he offered secession as the only honorable solution.
It wasn’t until November of 1850, after the Death of John C. Calhoun that the Compromise of 1850 passed.

Uncle Tom's Cabin is published

1852

in 1852, ardent abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe published "Uncle Tom's Cabin". It delivered a message that slavery was not just a political contest, but also a great moral struggle. Readers tensed with excitement as the slave Eliza fled across the frozen Ohio River, clutching her infant son in her arms. . They wept bitterly when Simon Legree bought Uncle Tom and had him whipped to death. In quick response, Northern abolitionists increased their protests against the Fugitive Slave Act, while Southerners criticized the book as an attack on the South as a whole. The furor over Uncle Tom’s Cabin had barely begun to settle when a new controversy over slavery drew heated debate.

Bleeding Kansas

1854 - 1858

In 1856, Anti-Slavery Northerners crowded to Kansas to try to create an anti-slavery majority. At the same time, pro-slavery “border ruffians” from Missouri voted illegally in Kansas and established a pro-slavery government in Kansas. Anti-slavery settlers, at the same time, tried to established their own free government.
In May 1856, pro-slavery settlers attacked an anti-slavery stronghold in Lawrence, KS and destroyed newspaper presses, shops, homes (including the home of the elected free-state governor). All in all, 200 people died at this territorial Civil War. Kansas ultimately entered the union as a slave state.

Kansas Nebraska Act

May 1854

On January 23, 1854, Douglas proposed dividing the territory into two regions. Each region would determine the issue of slavery based on popular sovereignty.
Nebraska, to the north and adjacent to the free state of Iowa as intended to be a free state. Kansas, to the south and adjacent to the slave state of Missouri, was intended to a be a slave state.
(By even allowing the possibility of slavery in these territories, he is going against the Missouri Compromise, which banned slavery in territories north of Missouri.)
Some Northern congressmen saw the bill as part of a plot to turn the territories into slave states; but nearly
90 percent of Southern congressmen voted for the bill.

Founding of the Republican Party

July 6, 1854

In 1854, the Republican Party was founded on the platform of stopping slavery in the territories, and later evolved into a truly abolitionist party

Caning of Charles Sumner

May 22, 1856

On May 19, Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner delivered in the Senate an impassioned speech later called “The Crime Against Kansas.” He verbally attacked his colleagues for their support of slavery and was particularly abusive towards aged senator Andrew P. Butler. Sumner sneered at Butler for his pro-slavery beliefs and made fun of his impaired speech. So, on May 22, 1856, Butler's nephew, Congressman Preston S. Brooks, walked into the Senate chamber and over to Sumner’s desk and proceeded to beat Sumner with his cane until it broke. Sumner suffered shock and apparent brain damage and did not return to his Senate seat for over three years. Southerners applauded and showered Brooks with new canes while the Northerners condemned the incident as yet another example of Southern brutality and antagonism toward free speech. Northerners and Southerners, it appeared, had met an impasse.

Dred Scott Decision

1857

Dred Scott was a slave from Missouri and his lawsuit was about how he was a free person while living up north and wanted to keep his freedom when he moved back down south. However, when he took his case to court he was denied this right because of the Missouri Compromise which they had ruled unconstitutional. By striking down the Missouri Compromise,
the Supreme Court had cleared the way for the extension of slavery.

Lincoln-Douglas Debates

1858

Attack at Harpers Ferry, VA

1859

On October 16, 1859, John Brown led 21 men, black and white, into Harpers Ferry, VA. Brown's aim was to seize the federal arsenal there, distribute the captured arms to slaves in the area, and start a general slave uprising. Brown held 60 of the town's prominent citizens hostage because he had hope that their slaves would then join the insurrection. However, no slaves came forward, instead local troops killed 8 of Brown's men. Colonel Robert E. Lee commanded a detachment of U.S. Marines to race to Harpers Ferry. They storm the engine house where Brown and his men were barricading themselves, killed two more of his raiders, and captured Brown. Brown was turned over to Virginia to be trialed for treason. No one knows exactly why John Brown didn't tell slaves in advance of his plans or why didn't provide his men with enough food to last even for one day. On December 2, 1859, John Brown was hanged for high treason in the presence of federal troops and a crowd of curious observers. Lincoln and Douglas commended Brown as a murderer, but many other Northerners expressed admiration fir him and his cause. Some Northerners began to call Brown a martyr for the sacred cause of freedom. In the South, outraged mobs assaulted whites who were suspected of holding antislavery views. Harpers Ferry terrified Southern slaveholders, who were convinced the North was plotting slave uprisings everywhere.

Election of 1860

1860

Three major candidates vied for office in addition to Lincoln. The Democratic Party split over the issue of slavery. Northern Democrats choose Stephen Douglas and his doctrine of popular sovereignty, the Southern Democrats choose Vice-President John C. Breckenridge and former Know-Nothings, Whigs for SC, and some moderate Northerners nominated John Bell of Tennessee. Lincoln emerged as the winner, but like Buchanan in the previous election, he received less than half the popular vote. In fact, although Lincoln defeated his combined opponents in the electoral vote by 180 to 123, he received no electoral votes from the South. The outlook for the Union was grim.

Battle of Fort Sumter

1861

The day after his inauguration, the new president received an urgent dispatch from the fort’s commander, Major Anderson. The Confederacy was demanding that he surrender or face an attack, and his supplies of food and ammunition would last six weeks at the most. This news presented Lincoln with a dilemma. His dilemma was if he ordered the navy to shoot its way into Charleston and reinforce Fort Sumter, he would be responsible for starting a war, but if he ordered the fort to evacuate, he would then be treating the Confederacy as a legitimate nation. Lincoln executed a clever political maneuver. He would not abandon Fort Sumter, but neither would he reinforce it. He would merely send in “food for hungry men.” This now caused Jefferson Davis to face a dilemma. His dilemma was if he did nothing, he would damage the image of the Confederacy as a sovereign nation, but on the other hand if he started fired the first shots he would turn a peaceful protest into a war. On April 12, Confederate batteries began thundering away. Charleston’s citizens watched and cheered as though it were a fireworks display. The South Carolinians bombarded the fort with more than 4,000 rounds before Anderson surrendered. The fall of Fort Sumter united the North. Lincoln’s call for troops provoked a very different reaction in the states of the upper South. On April 17, Virginia, unwilling to fight against other Southern states, seceded.

Secession and the Founding of the Confederate States of America

February 4, 1861

Following the example of South Carolina, who seceded almost immediately after Lincoln's election, states from the Lower South seceded.
The South drafted a Constitution declaring each state to be independent, guaranteed the existence of slavery, and banned protective tariffs. The Confederate States of America Included South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee