Summary: Both the North and the South had their own ideas with what to do with the new land acquired from the Louisiana purchase. Both the Northerners and the Southerners heavily believed that the land should be aligned in terms of slavery as the land they lived in. Northerners wanted all the land to be free land and the Southerners wanted all the land to be slave land. Both sides quickly realized that they would have to come to a compromise as both sides couldn't get exactly what they wanted. When both Missouri and Maine requested entry to the Union it was decided that both would be admitted but only Missouri would be allowed to be a slave state. Just one year later the senate decided that all land below 36º 30' latitude would be a slave state from this point on and all land above the line would be a free state with the sole exception of Missouri. The line ran across the Southern border of Missouri so the state was not isolated from other slave states. The Missouri Compromise bill was passed on March 6th of 1820.
North: Northerners were satisfied with Maine being a free state and Missouri being a slave state. However Northerners were worried about the spread the slavery traveling North wards because Missouri was now the most Northern slave state. Northerners were also pleased as the addition of the Missouri Compromise meant that there was definite, defined, and inarguable border of where slavery would not take place. They still would have ideally preferred if all of the Union was anti-slavery but they were happy with what they had.
South: The South was happy with Missouri being a slave state and Maine being a slave state as is meant that slavery was being spread North bound. This kept many Southerners satisfied until a year later when the Missouri Compromise itself passed. When the Missouri Compromise passed forcing the land that was allowed to be slave states Southerners felt that this boundary should have been pushed more up North. Southerners however like the Northerners were very happy with the idea that this line was a permanent boundary for which land was allowed to be slave land. This gave a sense of hope for slave supporting Southerners as it meant that slavery was not going to banned in the Union anytime soon.
The Annexation of Texas
March 2, 1836 - December 29, 1845
Summary: In the 1830's American settlers began moving into modern day Texas which used to be part of Mexico. In turn Mexico attempted to stop the movement of Americans into Texas. By 1826 there were more Americans than Mexicans in the land that Mexico claimed. The result was several battles between the Mexican government and the American settlers. In October of 1835 Santa Anna the then dictator of Mexico started a series of battles which ended on March 6th of the following year with Texans capturing Santa Anna himself at which point he was forced to recognize Texas as an independent nation. Almost a decade later The Republic of Texas officially joined the Union.
North: Throughout most of the process of the annexation of Texas, Northerners generally opposed it. The main reasons for opposing it was that it would help contribute more land to the nation which allowed slavery. This created moral issues as the North did not want more people to be forced into slavery on their watch. But if Texas was admitted into the nation then there be a risk that it could aggravate and cause a war with Mexico.
South: The South heavily supported the addition of Texas to America as it would create another slave state under the Missouri Compromise. The South had already been fearing the complete abolition of slavery for years at this point and another guaranteed slave state would help their efforts. Texas would also be a perfect place to grow cotton due to its rich soil and warm climate, paired with slavery the combination would be great for the Souths economy.
Compromise of 1850
Summary: The Compromise of 1850 consisted of several laws that would solve disputes across the nation. Ideally those who passed this bill hoped it would help keep the the country in one piece as tensions were on a steady rise between the North and the South. One of the central pieces of the Compromise of 1850 was that slave trade in the District of Columbia (Washington, DC) would be banned. Another important key piece was that California would be announced as a free state. This made modern day Utah and New Mexico formally into territories. These two new territories were to decide on slavery by popular sovereignty, the process of which citizens of a body vote on an topic and the majority gets to have it their way. By creating Utah and New Mexico into territories the problem of the western border of Texas was no longer disputable. The final piece of the Compromise of 1850 made so that slave owners and slave hunters could now more easily capture slaves that had fled into free states.
North: The North was generally happy with the Compromise of 1850 but they were not satisfied with the addition of the Fugitive Slave Law which allowed escaped slaves to be captured more easily. The north was more than ecstatic with the ban of slavery in both California and the District of Columbia. They were also happy with the formal addition of Utah and New Mexico into territories. What made this deal even better for them was that there was a chance that both Utah and New Mexico had a chance of voting to be slave states. However the North's response to risk of both Utah and New Mexico becoming slave states was that they would use violence against pro slavery citizens.
South: The South we generally upset with both California and the District of Columbia becoming free states and places. However they were relived with the Fugitive Slave Law as well as the admission of Utah and New Mexico into territories. They were also happy with the new defined borders as it did not allow Texans to dispute the border with violence. However they replaced the anger and violence by attacking and harassing the anti-slavery citizens of Utah and New Mexico. However these attacks were not nearly as bad as Bleeding Kansas which happened in the following years.
May 30th, 1854
Summary: Stephen A. Douglas introduced a bill on January 4th of 1854 which would allow Kansas and Nebraska to decide for themselves by means of popular sovereignty. This act would eventually pass on May 30th of the same year causing a great deal of turbulence in both the North and the South. The severe controversy was caused partly by the fact that this act would void the Missouri Compromise by allowing a state to be a slave state above the latitude 36°30'. What ensued was both slave supporters and anti-slave supporters rushed to Kansas to sway the election which caused the election to be repeated three times so that a fair vote could take place. After the first election two government created their own laws one supporting and the other supporting the abolition of slavery. This period was known as Bleeding Kansas for the major riots and violence that was created.
North: When the Kansas-Nebraska act was put into place the Northerners immediately became furious. This act voided the Missouri Compromise which was enacted in 1820 and declared that any states above the 36° 30´ latitude line were reserved at free states and any states below that line were to be reserved as slave states. The compromise was meant to be long standing solution to slavery but when the Kansas-Nebraska Act was made and voided it made many Northerners furious. They heavily protested the gain of a slave state above the line but their efforts were pointless. Northerners from the surrounding regions fled to area to protest forcefully creating the previously mentioned time period known as Bleeding Kansas which resulted in approximately 59 deaths.
South: As typically seen the South initially had the exact opposite response but they were quick to take action. At first Southerners were pleasantly surprised the introduction of the bill and did everything they could to make sure that it passed. The main reason pro-slavery settlers were so happy was because both the Kansas and Nebraska territories were already above the line that was agreed upon in the Missouri Compromise. This meant that even if both of the soon to be states did not allow slavery on its soil then the South had nothing to lose. When the Southerns fled to Kansas to fight anti-slavery forces led by John Brown a period known as Bleeding Kansas erupted. The Southerners created a legislature to rival the Northerners legislature as a result congress declared election fraud and a retrial was held leading to Kansas becoming a free state. The election fraud was declared because during the period of Bleeding Kansas people illegals voted in hopes of swaying the election.
Dred Scott Court Case
March 6th, 1857
Summary: The infamous Dred Scott Court Case focused mainly on a slave named Dred Scott suing for his freedom. One of the reasons he stated in his case was that he lived in a state which was free under the Missouri Compromise. He argued that he maintained his freedom even when he returned to a slave state. The defendant (Dred Scott was the parties) argued in return that as a black man in the Union, he maintained absolutely no right to sue due to the decision that he was not considered a citizen. Another thing that the court ruled was that any court led attempt to prohibit slavery would be a violation of the 5th amendment and be unconstitutional. In conclusion Dred Scott's case lost 7-2 but he soon was released from his owner.
North: The outcome of the Dred Scott Court Case almost stunned Northerners. Northerners were almost confident that Scott would win the case. They believed that the government and court should have the power to control and rule slavery. The Supreme Court ruled against this, also making the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional which was not at all what they wanted to hear. They also believed that as a slave Dred Scott was entitled to the right to sue and the process of court. The Supreme Court also ruled against this making the legal definition of a citizen of the nation a free man who had been born in the states or had lived in the Union for at least two years. This ruling by the court made the Northern inhabitants of the nation frustrated about the lack of thought given to colored folk. Abraham Lincoln even gave public speeches in protest before his presidency.
South: Just as the North the South was equally sure that the outcome of the Dred Scot court case would be that his right to be a leave without freedom would be maintained. When the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could not control slavery due to slaves like Dred Scott being property let the South was more than ecstatic. The court also ruled that Dred Scott was not a citizen and hence had no right whatsoever to the due process and entitlement of a fair and equal trial. The South saw this as another major win in a relatively peaceful battle as this meant that the government acknowledged that slaves were property not citizens of a sovereign nation. When the court also lastly ruled that the South did not have to carry out Northern laws at all it satisfied them since it showed Northerners that the South could be in a position if the circumstances were in favor of the Southerners.
John Brown's Raid
October 16th, 1859
Summary: On the 16th of October in 1859 John Brown raided a federal arsenal in Harper's Ferry, Virginia. He was arguably one of the most avid supporters of the ban of slavery. He planned and carried out the raid alongside his own sons and other heavy advocates of the ban slavery. Most of the men associated with the raid were Northerners who had some of the strongest opinions on slavery. On October 16th if 1859 the inspired and dedicated men left their farmhouse and arrived in town on the 17th of October just hours later. Once Brown and his associates had raided the federal arsenal they planned to quickly escape and arm Southern slaves so that they may create a massive slave led rebellion which would eventually end in an notable amount of slave owners deaths as well thousands of former slaves becoming free and escaping towards North. What actually happened was that once they had gathered the weapons they planned to take, they realized they were trapped. They then took several people who were already in the building hostage one of whom was George Washington's great grand nephew. Within hours Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Lee of the navy was on the scene and had surrounded the ambitious raiders which forced them to surrender on October 18th of 1859. John Brown was eventually executed for treason on December 18th of the same year.
North: The Northerners were surprised to see John Brown get convicted and sentenced to death. The average Northerner typically aligned themselves to the ideals that John Brown believed in and that compelled to carry out the raid. They believed that the hundreds of white deaths caused by armed slaves killing them and their families would have been justified to free thousands of slaves. When the media pictured him in the news articles they depicted him as a divine figure with the intent to carry out an extremely noble and honorable act. They celebrated his act of heroism and bravery for many days to come the Northerners were also outraged when he was sentenced to death.
South: The Southerners had almost the exact opposite reaction which the Northerners did. They celebrated his capture as it meant that hundreds if not thousands of white slave owners would not be killed and their property would rightfully stay theirs. They were outraged at how the Northern media depicted John Brown as a saint and hero. The Southern media heavily depicted John Brown as a terrorist who was attempting to kill thousands of white men, women, and children.
Abraham Lincoln Elected
November 6th, 1860
Summary : Abraham Lincoln of the Republican party won the election of 1860 with a total of 180 electoral votes. He received 39.8% of the vote with the other three candidates receiving 29.5%, 18.1%, and 12.6%. He carried 18 out of 33 states, with the majority of those states being from the Northeast region of America. The election allowed him to be the 16th president of America until his assassination on April 14th, 1865.
North: The Northern region of then America could not be more happy with the election of Lincoln. This reaction was anticipated as most Northern states were the states that carried him towards his election. The North also shared some of the same ideals as Lincoln, such as both supported the ban of slavery. Lincoln was arguably one of the most avid supporters of the ban of slavery.
South: As one most likely already knows, the South were the most reliant on slavery for their economy. With Lincoln planning to ban slavery, the South didn't even bother to put him on their ballots. Considering not one state gave electoral votes to him but he still won, the South reasonably felt that they had no influence on the nation. This heavily aggravated the South to the point of succession.
Secession of South Carolina
December 20th, 1860
Summary: Within three months of Abraham Lincolns controversial election the state of South Carolina had already made up their mind. They had decided that they would leave the Union. This decision was fueled form the growing anger of the fact that not even all the Southern states together could have prevented Lincolns election. They decided that they would be the first state to seceded from the United States of America. Just as they hoped six other states had left the Union. On February first of the next year delegates from all the states except Texas meant in Montgomery, Alabama where they decided to elect Jefferson Davis as president of the new Confederate States of America.
North: The North was not ready for such a strong reaction from the Southerners. For a short period of time they believed that the whole thing would blow over and it was a short term example of defiance. Once they realized that Southerners were completely serious as well dedicated they made a few last ditch efforts. For example one senator wished to amend the Missouri Compromise so that land South of the line would receive federal protection in terms of slavery. Some Northerners believed that the act of secession was completely illegal and should be fought while others believed that it was completely legal and their decision should be treated with respect. This divide was caused in part due to the fact that the Constitution contained absolutely nothing related to the proper terms and how secession should be carried out.
South: When South Carolina seceded from the Union other states saw their reaction and decided they wanted to follow suit with pride. They heavily argued that if they have no affect whatsoever on the Union then they don't want to be a part of that Union. The Southerners were anxious with what the Northerners would do once Lincoln would be inaugurated. Southerners feared that Lincoln would immediately declare war which would start the new nation with turbulence and the government wouldn't have time to mature and gain stability. Southerners believed that their secession was completely legal and should be respect by the North.
Uncle Toms Cabin
June 5th 1862
Summary: Uncle Tom's Cabin was a book published in 1852 and authored by Harriet Beecher Stowe. The book itself contained many Northern ideals bashed common slave practices in the South. It was heavily opinionated in favor of anti slavery laws and philosophies. The book showed Northerners how truly bad slaves were being treated in the South. Northerners had no idea that slaves were being treated so badly in the South. When the book was read by Northerners they began to see Southerners in a new and even worse manor.
North: Northerners were shocked when they initially read the book. They knew slaves weren’t being treated good but they had no idea that they were being tortured. Their attitude towards Southerners completely changed as a result of the information gained from reading the book. They were once again deeply angered by the injustices of slavery. The publication of the book gave them even more reason to ban slavery nation wide.
South: Southerners felt that the book was far too opinionated and untrue. Not every slave owner treated their slaves as depicted in the book. Southerners also felt that even if they treated their slaves as depicted in the book that they had a reason to do so and that it was justified. They truly felt that colored folk were less than that of white folk. They were even surprised when they saw the harsh reaction that Northerners had when they read the book.