Events Leading to the Civil War

Events

California Gold Rush

1849

Gold was discovered in California, this caused a lot of people to move there. Most people didn't actually find gold, very few actually did.

The significance of the California gold rush was that there were so many people moving there, so they were able to create a constitution and apply for statehood which would affect the issue of slavery.

Compromise of 1850

1850

The compromise of 1850 was the compromise between the southern states and the northern states on California and other disputed areas.

The significance of the compromise is that the north got a better deal. They got California to be a free state and the District of Columbia could not have slave trade.

Kansas Nebraska Act

1854

This act let the option of slavery be chosen based on popular sovereignty or let the people decide in the states of Kansas and Nebraska.

This act was significant because it went against the Missouri compromise saying that banned slavery north of the 36’ 30’ line. This act repealed the Missouri compromise.

Ostend Manifesto

1854

The Ostend Manifesto was a document stating that the United States of America would offer 120 million dollars to Spain for Cuba and if try didn't accept it, then it is justified to take it.

This is significant because Spain doesn't accept it, the south wants it the most because then it could be a slave state. Northerners were obviously against the taking of Cuba causing more sectionalism.

Treaty of Kanagawa

1854

This treaty opened up Japan to trading with us and also more of the Asian continent.

This was significant because Japan wanted to counter Britain. This also was significant because it broke the century old tradition of isolation causing them to modernize a lot faster.

Bleeding Kansas

1854

John Brown was a very controversial man, he was an abolitionist who used all violence. He killed 5 pro-slaveryites in the south

He was significant because in the south he was a criminal and terrorist. To the north he was a martyr or a hero, he fought for what they believed. This caused people to think differently of him and sectionalism.

Dred Scott Decision

1857

This decision is that he is a slave and not a free man. Dred Scott was a slave who was taken into the free states. When his slave owner died he was inherited through family, he fought for freedom proclaiming that he has been a free man. It fails and he has to go back to being a slave with the person that inherited him.

This is significant because the south had control over the supreme court, the presidency, and the Constitution. They said that property was being taken away from the slave owner and said it was unconstitutional.

Panic of 1857

1857

The panic was a time where the California gold rush was causing inflation, there was overgrowth of grain, and over speculation mostly on railroads and land. Also this called for higher tariff rate which was lowered by over 20% just months before.

This was significant because it caused a lot of people to freak out. The economy was getting very bad, and there was a lot of violence with land disputes. People didn’t know how it could get worse.

John Brown

1859

Lieutenant Robert E. Lee convicted John Brown for treason and sentenced him to be hanged.

This was significant because the south saw it as justice for all the deaths, but the north saw it as more of a killing of a martyr. John Brown was seen in very different perspectives.

Lincoln's Inauguration

1860

The Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln as president of the United States of America. Beating his opponent due to the electoral college.

This was significant because South Carolina threatened to secede if his was elected president. They did so in December of 1860, so did other southern states just six weeks before he was inaugurated.

Lincoln v. Douglas debate

1860

The debate between Lincoln and Douglas was legendary. Lincoln was a pretty good debater, he asked Douglas what he would do if the people of the land voted slavery down, but the the Supreme Court says you can’t, who’s side would you be on? He said that the people should choose.

What Douglas said made him lose the election. He was fighting the lesser of two evils and lost, he chose the wrong side because now the south hated him. The Freeport Doctrine is the reason he lost.

Crittenden Compromise

December 18, 1860

The Crittenden compromise was James Henry's last shot and a compromise, it was trying to propose that the 36’ 30’ line be all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

This was significant, because he and the north felt that this was a compromise, the south felt this as a restriction on getting more southern states to become slave states. This was not used because Lincoln was opposed to it.