The Liberator

January 1, 1831 - December 29, 1865

An anti-slavery newspaper written by William Lloyd Garrison. It drew attention to abolition, both positive and negative, causing a war of words between supporters of slavery and those opposed.

Underground Railroad

Approx. 1840 - Approx. 1860

A network of abolitionists that secretly helped slaves escape to freedom by setting up hiding places and routes to the North. Harriet Tubman was a key person to its success.

Free Soil Party

1848 - 1854

A political party organized by anti-slavery men in the north, democrats who were resentful at Polk's actions, and some conscience Whigs. The Free-Soil Party was against slavery in the new territories. They also advocated federal aid for internal improvements and urged free government homesteads for settlers.

Compromise of 1850


• California admitted as a free state
• Texas gave up its claims to lands disputed with New Mexico
• Slave trade in D.C. was banned, but slavery was legal
• Popular sovereignty in Mexican Cession lands
• Texas was paid $10 million for land lost
• A new, tougher Fugitive Slave Law of 1850

Kansas-Nebraska Act


ended the peace established between the North and South by the Compromise of 1850. It was proposed by Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois and repealed the Missouri Compromise. The act enforced popular sovereignty upon the new territories but was opposed by Northern Democrats and Whigs.

Dred Scott Decision

March 6, 1857

Dred Scott was a black slave who had lived with his master for five years in Illinois and Wisconsin territory. He sued for his freedom on the basis of his long residence in free territory. The Supreme Court ruled that Dred Scott was a black slave and not a citizen. Hence, he could not sue in a federal court.

Black Codes


Laws passed by southern states after the Civil War denying ex-slaves the complete civil rights enjoyed by whites and intended to force blacks back to plantations and impoverished lifestyles.

Compromise of 1877


The unwritten deal that settled the 1876 presidential election contest between Rutherford Hayes (Rep) and Samuel Tilden (Dem.) Hayes was awarded the presidency in exchange for the permanent removal of federal troops from the South.