Prelude to the Civil War


Missouri Compromise


Compromise between Pro-Slavery and Anti- Slavery supporters about slavery in new Lousiana territory. It prohibited slavery north of the 36th parallel, to keep the balance of slave and free states Missouri entered as a slave state so Maine could enter as a free.

Nullification Crisis

1828 - 1832

John C. Calhoun promoted the idea that state's right come before federal and that states have the right to nullify a law. South Carolina was outraged by the Tariff of Abominations and tried to nullify the law, because they felt it was meant to only help northerners.

Annexation of Texas


Texas was the 28th stated admitted to the union, and the U.S in gaining Texas also gained it's boarder dispute.Texas previously a part of Mexico had an ongoing boarder dispute with Mexico which eventually became a small war between Mexico and America.

Compromise of 1850

September, 1850

The compromise consisted of five bills including the fugitive slave act. These bills were meant to end a four year argument between slave and free states regrading slavery in the Mexican cession area of the U.S. Reduced conflict in these areas for about four years

Fugitive slave act

September 18, 1850

Part of the Compromise of 1850, meant to reduce tension between slave holders of the south and free north. This law declared that any slaves found were to be returned to their masters.

Publication of "Uncle Tom's Cabin"


Published in 1852 Uncle Tom's cabin is an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Features a character known as Uncle Tom a long time slave. Was created to help the abolitionists movement in the 1850s.

Kansas- Nebraska Act


This law created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, and in effected repealed the Missouri compromise through popular sovereignty. It let the people living in these areas to decide for themselves if they wanted slavery in these areas or not.

Bleeding Kansas

1854 - 1858

Time were Kansas was the site of violence due to slavery issues. When Pro-slavery and anti-slavery supporters migrated to the area it created many violent in-counters. Kansas eventually enters as a free state.

Sumner- Brooks incident

May, 1856

With tensions in Kansas high it carried over into the congress. Where congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina attacked congressman Charles Sumner of Massachusetts with a cane, because Sumner blamed the south for the violence in Kansas.

Dred Scott Case

March, 1857

The case had been brought before the court by Dred Scott, a slave who had lived with his owner in a free state before returning to the slave state of Missouri. Scott argued that his time spent in these locations entitled him to emancipation. In his decision, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney,a supporter of slavery, disagreed: The court found that no black, free or slave, could claim U.S. citizenship, and therefore blacks were unable to petition the court for their freedom. The Dred Scott decision incensed abolitionists and heightened North-South tensions.

Lecompton Constitution

September 1857

The second of four constitutions proposed for Kansas and allowed slavery. After much controversy it was rejected by Congress.

Lincoln-Douglas Debates

August, 1858 - October, 1858

Series of seven debates between Abraham Lincoln the republican candidate and Senator Stephen Douglas, the Democratic Party candidate. The main issue discussed in all seven debates was slavery.

Raid on Harper's Ferry

October 16 1859

An attempt by the white abolitionist John Brown to start an armed slave revolt in 1859 by seizing a United States arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Brown's raid, accomplished by 20 men in his party, was defeated by a detachment of U.S. Marines led by Col. Robert E. Lee. John Brown had originally asked Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, both of whom he had met in his formative years as an abolitionist in Springfield, Massachusetts, to join him in his raid, but Tubman was prevented by illness, and Douglass declined, as he believed Brown's plan would fail.

Election of 1860

November 6, 1860

The United States had been divided during the 1850s on questions surrounding the expansion of slavery and the rights of slave owners. The Republican Party, dominant in the North, secured enough electoral votes to put Abraham Lincoln in the White House without support from the South.Before Lincoln's inauguration, seven Southern states seceded and formed the Confederacy.

Crittenden Compromise

December 18, 1860

The Crittenden Compromise was an unsuccessful proposal introduced by Kentucky Senator John J. Crittenden it aimed to resolve the U.S. secession crisis of 1860–1861 by addressing the grievances that led the slave states of the United States to contemplate secession from the United States.