Antebellum Period Pre-Civil War


Know Nothing Party

1845 - 1855

Group of Catholic immigrants from Ireland and Germany who were poor and unwanted. This group embraced nativism, and many were opposed to territorial expansion of slavery.

Wilmot Proviso

August 8, 1846

David Wilmot's speech to the House of Representatives and proposed bill endorsed the annexation of Texas as a slave state. However any new territory to be acquired through the land from Mexico will not be a slave state.

Free- Soil Movement


Preceding the 1848 election, a new party emerged as the Free Soil Party attracting northern Democrats opposed to slavery, anti-slavery northern Whigs, and members of the abolitionists Liberty Party. Their candidate was Martin Van Buren, and they focused on slavery will not be expanded in the western territories.

California Gold Rush

January 24, 1848 - 1855

Once gold was found in California in January of 1848 spiked a large population to moved out to California in hopes to become rich. The greatest mass migration in U.S. history accumulating a near 92% male population in California.

Zachary Taylor

March 4, 1849 - July 9, 1850

Zachary Taylor is elected president as a member of the Whig Party. His presidency did not last long since he suddenly passed away five days after a heat stroke.

The Compromise of 1850


In a ten month long debate between the North and South, Henry Clay's eight resolutions designed to settle the tensions between the North and South. However, the Compromise resulted in no big nor long impact since the only ones swayed by the resolutions were moderates.

The Great Debate

March 4, 1850 - March 6, 1850

John Calhoun's statement of uncompromising with Henry Clay's resolutions deeming that the slave states in the south would loose all power in the Union and they will succeed.

Fugitive Slave Act

September 18, 1850

Sought to recover salves who had already escaped, it enabled slave traders to kidnap free blacks in the North, claim them as runaways and take them. As well as denied fugitives a jury trial, as this act was hated by all abolitionists.

Election of 1852- Pierce's Presidency

1852 - 1856

Between Franklin Pierce, Wilmer Scott and John P. Hale the election came out with the democrat Franklin Pierce as the winner. He promoted western expansion and conversion of territories into states even if they were slave states. However, his presidency was unsuccessful as he was unable to unite the warring fractions of his own party

Uncle Tom's Cabin


Harriet Breecher Stowe's best selling novel describing the horrid acts of slavery s a anti-slavery movement in response to the Fugitive slave act

Bleeding Kansas

1854 - 1861

Due to the Kansas-Nebraska act there rose a violent debate over slavery. Nebraska became a free state, Kansas' fate was still undetermined. As there were elections put up to determine slavery or not, but many pro-slavery southerners came into Kansas to scew the vote. However, after a finally a just vote, Kansas ended up becoming a free state. This caused a territoral civil war over the dispute of slavery

Kansas-Nebraska Act


Allowed the voters in each state to decide to whether or not to allow slavery and along with it came the decision to repeal the Missouri Compromise. This opened up lots of fertile land for slave labor.

President Buchanan

1856 - 1860

Democratic elected president who was for Southern power, he aggressively promoted western expansion. Though was in office during a lot of drama through the Dred Scott case, issues over war in Kansas, and the Financial Panic of 1857.

Dred Scott Decision

February 11, 1856 - March 6, 1857

Court case involving Dred Scott, a freed slave who lived in Wisconsin and Illinois with a wife and child, sought to be considered free in the state of Missouri. This case was in Scott's favor on a local standard, but once the case reached the Supreme Court, it was deemed that his freedom was lost once he returned to a slave state.

Sack of Lawrence

May 1856

Pro-Slavery force of more than 500 southerners invaded the town of Lawrence, Kansas, a free state town twenty miles from the Missouri border. The mission was to get any abolitionist or anti-slavery member out of the city as the group ended up destroying the newspaper, burning homes, and ransacking shops

The Pottawatomie Massacre

May 24, 1856

Two days after the Sack of Lawrence, john Brown led four of his sons and a son-in-law to Pottawatomie, Kansas dragged five men from their houses and murdered them in response to the Sack of Lawrence. This led to a brutal guerrilla war in Kansas.

The Lecompton Constitution

1857 - 1858

There was a scheduled pro-slavery constitutional convention in which Lecompton drafted a constitution in which Kansas would become a slave state. Buchanan took charge and promoted Lecompton's constitution. Then there was an election held to determine a constitution to live under. After the election was not rigged on the second attempt, Kansas was deemed a free state.

Lincoln-Douglas debates


In the Illinois senate race there were seven debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas in a heated race subjected on slavery. However, Stephen A. Douglas won the senate race, these debates facilitated a platform for Abraham Lincoln to receive national attention and the Republicans seized control of the House of Representatives

John Brown's Raid

October 16, 1859

John Brown created a plan to steal federal weapons and give them to rebellions slaves in western Virginia hoping to trigger and up rise in the South. He led a group of twenty men to Harpers Ferry, Virginia they cut telephone lines and occupied the arsenal of 100,000 rifles. However John Brown was caught and tried for treason. John Brown was sentenced to death but died fighting for his cause to end slavery.

Lincoln's Election and Presidency

1861 - 1865

Lincoln as a member of the Republican Party was greatly opposed to slavery though did not want the immediate abolition of slavery. He also promoted economic expansion with protective tariffs, federally financed internal improvements, and a transcontinental railroad. Lincpln campaigned against John Bell of Tennessee, Stephen A. Douglas, and John C. Breckinridge coming out as the victor with 39% of the populous vote.