Events Leading up to the Civil War


Rhode Island Makes Slave Trade Illegal

May 18, 1652

Rhode Island was the first state to make slave trade illegal, starting off the movement to make slavery illegal in the North.

Maryland Passes a Law Making Slavery Lifelong


This event marked the first time slavery became lifelong & mandatory anywhere in the U.S. It provided incentive for slaves, one of the main forces of the CIvil War, to revolt.

British Navigation Act


The British Navigation Act taxed items passing in between plantations, mainly affecting the South. Because it did not really affect the North, this was the beginning of tension between North and South, a key factor in the Civil War.

The Royal African Company Loses Its Monopoly on the Slave Trade


When this slave trading company lost its monopoly, making people in the colonies start to engage in slave trade for profit, which started to fuel the growth of economy in the South.

Slave Revolt in New York

April 6, 1712

In this slave revolt, there were a total of six suicides and twenty-one executions. It is the first of many in the U.S that ultimately led to the Civil War.

2nd Slave Revolt in New York


In this revolt, in the same place in New York, thirteen slaves are hanged, thirteen burned alive, and thirteen, and seventy-one deported. It marks a rise in slave awareness, as it is the first time there are 2 slave revolts in one place in the U.S.

Rhode Island and Connecticut ban the Importation of Slaves


This event marks another leap in the struggle against slavery. At this point, Rhode Island bans importation and use of slaves, the first state to do so.

Northwest Ordinance


This ordinance banned slavery west of New York in the USA, making a basis for the North during the Civil War.

Fugitive Slave Act

February 12, 1793

The Fugitive Slave Act made all slaves that tried to escape to free states return to their plantations, making freedom for slaves just about impossible, making the need for slave revolts greater.

Eli Whitney Invents the Cotton Gin

March 14, 1794

The cotton gin to do the work of 50 men when it came t separating seeds from cotton plants. Now that it was so easy to harvest cotton, more people wanted plantations, boosting slave trade, making a stronger foundation for the South in the Civil War.

Whiskey Rebellion

September 1794

This rebellion was started by a bunch of angry Pennsylvania farmers rebelled against the federal government, angry over the new liquor tax. Although they were put down, it was a sign that the balance of power between state and nation was tipping.

Slave Importation is Abolished


The ban of slave importation was banned in 1808, marking a crucial step towards the fight against slavery and the Civil War. Although this rule was established in 1808, between 1808 and 1860, 250,000 slaves were imported illegally.

Talmadge Amendment

February 15, 1819

This amendment banned slavery in Missouri, yet another step towards free blacks and also towards the Civil War.

Frederick Douglass Boards a Train to Freedom

September 3, 1838

Frederick Douglass, later becoming a famous black abolitionist, boards a train with a fake identity to go to freedom. Douglass would become an important character in the Civil Rights Movement, help other former slaves to rise and revolt.

Uncle Tom's Cabin is Published


"Uncle Tom's Cabin", an anti-slavery novel written by Harriet Baker Stowe, becomes an iconic piece of literature used to help other people, both blacks and whites, to help in the fight against slavery.