Decades Of Conflict

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Nullification Crisis

1828 - 1832

The Nullification Crisis was a sectional crisis during the presidency of Andrew Jackson created by South Carolina's 1832 Ordinance of Nullification.
This ordinance declared by the power of the State that the federal Tariffs of 1828 and 1832 were unconstitutional and therefore null and void within the boundaries of South Carolina.
Its opponents expected that the election of Jackson as President would result in the tariff being significantly reduced.
Military preparations to resist anticipated federal enforcement were initiated by the state.
In late February both a Force Bill, authorizing the President to use military forces against South Carolina, and a new negotiated tariff satisfactory to South Carolina were passed by Congress.
The South Carolina convention reconvened and repealed its Nullification Ordinance on March 11, 1833.

Compromise of 1850

1846 - 1850

The Compromise of 1850 was a package of five bills passed in the United States in September 1850, which defused a four-year confrontation between the slave states of the South and the free states of the North regarding the status of territories acquired during the Mexican-American War (1846–1848).
Texas surrendered its claim to New Mexico, which it had threatened war over, as well as its claims north of the Missouri Compromise Line, transferred its crushing public debt to the federal government, and retained the control over El Paso that it had established earlier in 1850, with the Texas Panhandle (which earlier compromise proposals had detached from Texas) thrown in at the last moment.
California's application for admission as a free state with its current boundaries was approved and a Southern proposal to split California at parallel 35° north to provide a Southern territory was not approved.
The South avoided adoption of the symbolically significant Wilmot Proviso and the new New Mexico Territory and Utah Territory could in principle decide in the future to become slave states (popular sovereignty), even though Utah and a northern fringe of New Mexico were north of the Missouri Compromise Line where slavery had previously been banned in territories. In practice, these lands were generally unsuited to plantation agriculture and their existing settlers were non-Southerners uninterested in slavery. The unsettled southern parts of New Mexico Territory, where Southern hopes for expansion had been centered, remained a part of New Mexico instead of becoming a separate territory.
The most concrete Southern gains were a stronger Fugitive Slave Act, the enforcement of which outraged Northern public opinion, and preservation of slavery (but not the slave trade) in the national capital.
The slave trade was banned in Washington D.C.

Wilmot Proviso

August 8, 1846 - February 8, 1847

After an earlier attempt to acquire Texas by treaty had failed to receive the necessary two-thirds approval of the Senate, the United States annexed the Republic of Texas by a joint resolution of Congress that required simply a majority vote in each house of Congress.
President John Tyler signed the bill on March 1, 1845 on the last day of his presidency.
David Wilmot, a Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania, and a group of other Barnburner Democrats including Preston King of New York, Hannibal Hamlin of Maine, Gideon Welles of Connecticut, and Jacob Brinkerhoff of Ohio, had already been meeting in early August strategy
meetings.
Wilmot had a strong record of supporting the Polk administration and was close to many Southerners. With the likelihood that Wilmot would have no trouble gaining the floor in the House debate, he was chosen to present the amendment to the appropriations bill that would carry his name.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

June 5, 1851 - March 20, 1852

Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly[1] is an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Published in 1852, the novel "helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War", according to Will Kaufman.
Stowe, a Connecticut-born teacher at the Hartford Female Academy and an active abolitionist, featured the character of Uncle Tom, a long-suffering black slave around whom the stories of other characters revolve. The sentimental novel depicts the reality of slavery while also asserting that Christian love can overcome something as destructive as enslavement of fellow human beings.
Uncle Tom's Cabin was the best-selling novel of the 19th century and the second best-selling book of that century, following the Bible.
In the first year after it was published, 300,000 copies of the book were sold in the United States; one million copies were sold in Great Britain.

Dred Scott v. Sanford

1853 - 1854

Little is known of Dred Scott's early years. He was born a slave in Virginia between 1795 and 1800. In 1820, he was taken by his owner, Peter Blow, to Missouri, where he was later purchased by U.S. Army Surgeon Dr. John Emerson.
After purchasing Scott, Emerson took him to Fort Armstrong, which was located in Illinois. Illinois, a free state, had been free as a territory under the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, and had prohibited slavery in its constitution in 1819 when it was admitted as a state.
In 1837, the Army ordered Emerson to Jefferson Barracks Military Post, south of St. Louis, Missouri. Emerson left Scott and his wife at Fort Snelling, where he leased their services out for profit. By hiring Scott out in a free state, Emerson was effectively bringing the institution of slavery into a free state, which was a direct violation of the Missouri Compromise, the Northwest Ordinance, and the Wisconsin Enabling Act.
However, Sanford aka Sandford disputed the jurisdictional claim and alleged that Scott was a descendent of an imported African slave, and by reason of such fact could not be a "citizen" of any State. Scott did not dispute his ancestry, but contended other allegations in his suit made evident that he had been emancipated, and thus could have the status of "citizen." The Court held that neither Scott nor any other person of African descent, whether or not emancipated from slavery, could be "citizen of a state," and therefore was unable to bring suit in federal court on the ground of diversity.

Kansas-Nebraska_Act

January 4, 1854 - May 30, 1854

The Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, opening new lands for settlement, and had the effect of repealing the Missouri Compromise of 1820 by allowing settlers in those territories to determine through Popular Sovereignty whether they would allow slavery within each territory.
The act was designed by Democratic Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois.
Douglas hoped popular sovereignty would enable democracy to triumph, so he would not have to take a side on the issue of slavery. A wave of indignation erupted across the North as anti-slavery elements cried betrayal, for Kansas had been officially closed to slavery since the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and that Compromise was now repealed because of popular sovereignty.
The final vote in favor of the bill was 113 to 100.Northern Democrats split in favor of the bill by a narrow 44 to 42 vote, while all 45 northern Whigs opposed it. In the South, Democrats voted in favor by 57 to 2 and Whigs by a closer 12 to 7.President Pierce signed the bill into law on May 30.

Lincoln-Douglas Debates

August 21 1858 - October 15 1858

The Lincoln–Douglas Debates of 1858 were a series of seven debates between Abraham Lincoln, the Republican candidate for the Senate in Illinois, and Senator Stephen Douglas, the Democratic Party candidate.
At the time, U.S. senators were elected by state legislatures; thus Lincoln and Douglas were trying for their respective parties to win control of the Illinois legislature. The debates previewed the issues that Lincoln would face in the aftermath of his victory in the 1860 presidential election. The main issue discussed in all seven debates was slavery.
In agreeing to the debates, Lincoln and Douglas decided to hold one debate in each of the nine congressional districts in Illinois. Because both had already spoken in two—Springfield and Chicago—within a day of each other, they decided that their "joint appearances" would be held only in the remaining seven districts.
The debates were held in seven towns in the state of Illinois: Ottawa on August 21, Freeport on August 27, Jonesboro on September 15, Charleston on September 18, Galesburg on October 7, Quincy on October 13, and Alton on October 15.
The debates in Freeport, Quincy and Alton drew especially large numbers of people from neighboring states, as the issue of slavery was of monumental importance to citizens across the nation. Newspaper coverage of the debates was intense.

“Bleeding Kansas”

1859 - January 29, 1861

Bleeding Kansas, Bloody Kansas or the Border War, was a series of violent political confrontations involving anti-slavery Free-Staters and pro-slavery "Border Ruffian" elements, that took place in the Kansas Territory and the neighboring towns of Missouri between 1854 and 1861.
Congress had long struggled to balance the interests of pro-slavery forces and anti-slavery forces. The events later known as Bleeding Kansas were set into motion by the Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854, which nullified the Missouri Compromise and instead implemented the concept of popular sovereignty.
At one point, Kansas had two separate governments, each with its own constitution, although only one was federally recognized. On January 29, 1861, Kansas was admitted to the Union as a free state, less than three months before the Battle of Fort Sumter which began the Civil War.
In October 1855, John Brown came to Kansas Territory to fight slavery. On November 21, 1855 the (relatively bloodless) "Wakarusa War" began when a Free-Stater named Charles Dow was shot by a pro-slavery settler. The only fatal casualty occurring during the siege was one Free-State man named Thomas Barber. He was shot and killed on December 6, 1855 where the main body of the invaders were encamped, some 6 miles (10 km) from Lawrence.
The following day, on the afternoon of May 22, 1856, South Carolina Democrat Preston Brooks physically attacked Massachusetts Free Soil Senator Charles Sumner in the Senate chambers, hitting him on the head with his thick cane. Sumner was blinded by his own blood, and staggered away until he collapsed, lapsing into unconsciousness. Brooks continued to beat Sumner until he broke his cane. Several other senators attempted to help Sumner, but were blocked by Rep. Laurence Keitt, who was holding a pistol and shouting "Let them be!" This was in retaliation for insulting language Sumner used against Brooks's relative in a speech Sumner made that denounced Southerners for proslavery violence in Kansas. Sumner was beaten severely and did not return to his Senate desk for three years as a result of his injuries to the head and neck area; he became regarded as an antislavery martyr.
These acts in turn inspired John Brown to lead a group of men in Kansas Territory on an attack at a proslavery settlement at Pottawatomie Creek. During the night of May 24, the group, which included four of Brown's sons, led five pro-slavery men from their homes and hacked them to death with broadswords.

Attack on Harper’s Ferry

October 16, 1859 - October 19 1859

John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry was 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 rented the Kennedy Farmhouse, with a small cabin nearby, 4 miles (6.4 km) north of Harpers Ferry in Washington County, Maryland,and took up residence under the name Isaac Smith. Brown came with a small group of men minimally trained for military action. His group included 16 white men, 3 free blacks, 1 freed slave, and 1 fugitive slave.
Northern abolitionist groups sent 198 breech-loading .52 caliber Sharps carbines ("Beecher's Bibles") and 950 pikes (obtained from Charles Blair, in late September), in preparation for the raid. The arsenal contained 100,000 muskets and rifles.
Brown attempted to attract more black recruits.
He tried recruiting Frederick Douglass as a liaison officer to the slaves. Douglass declined, indicating to Brown that he believed the raid was a suicide mission. The plan was "an attack on the federal government" that "would array the whole country against us." You "will never get out alive," he warned.

Election of 1860

November 6, 1860 - November 7, 1860

The United States presidential election of 1860 was the 19th quadrennial presidential election. The election was held on Tuesday, November 6, 1860 and served as the immediate impetus for the outbreak of the American Civil War.
The United States had been divided during the 1850s on questions surrounding the expansion of slavery and the rights of slave owners. In 1860, these issues broke the Democratic Party into Northern and Southern factions, and a new Constitutional Union Party appeared. In the face of a divided opposition, 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. Secessionists from four additional Border states joined them when Lincoln's call to restore federal property in the South forced them to take sides, and two states (Kentucky and Missouri) tried to remain neutral. Following South Carolina's secessionist movement, the Union admitted Kansas, West Virginia, and Nevada as free-soil states.
Six candidates were nominated: Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, James Guthrie of Kentucky, Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter of Virginia, Joseph Lane of Oregon, Daniel S. Dickinson of New York, and Andrew Johnson of Tennessee. Three other candidates, Isaac Toucey of Connecticut, James Pearce of Maryland, and Jefferson Davis of Mississippi (the future president of the Confederate States) also received votes. Douglas, a moderate on the slavery issue who favored "popular sovereignty", was ahead on the first ballot, needing 56.5 more votes. On the 57th ballot, Douglas was still ahead, but still 51.5 votes short of nomination. In desperation, the delegates agreed on May 3 to stop voting and adjourn the convention.

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Carolinas Secede

December 20, 1860 - December 21, 1860

Lincoln's victory in the presidential election of 1860 triggered South Carolina's declaration of secession from the Union in December.
On December 20, 1860, South Carolina became the first Southern state to declare its secession and later formed the Confederacy. The first shots of the Civil War were fired in Charleston by its Citadel cadets upon a civilian merchant ship Star of the West bringing supplies to the beleaguered Federal garrison at Fort Sumter January 9, 1861.

Attack on Ft. Sumter

April 12 1861 - April 14 1861

The Battle of Fort Sumter (April 12–14, 1861) was the bombardment and surrender of Fort Sumter, near Charleston, South Carolina, that started the American Civil War.
On December 26, 1860, U.S. Major Robert Anderson surreptitiously moved his small command from the indefensible Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island to Fort Sumter, a substantial fortress controlling the entrance of Charleston Harbor. An attempt by U.S. President James Buchanan to reinforce and resupply Anderson, using the unarmed merchant ship Star of the West, failed when it was fired upon by shore batteries on January 9, 1861. South Carolina authorities then seized all Federal property in the Charleston area, except for Fort Sumter.
During the early months of 1861, the situation around Fort Sumter increasingly began to resemble a siege. In March, Brig. Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard, the first general officer of the newly formed Confederate States of America, was placed in command of Confederate forces in Charleston. Beauregard energetically directed the strengthening of batteries around Charleston harbor aimed at Fort Sumter. Conditions in the fort grew dire as the Union soldiers rushed to complete the installation of additional guns. Anderson was short of men, food, and supplies.
The Union garrison surrendered the fort to Confederate personnel at 2:30 p.m., April 14. No one from either side was killed during the bombardment. During the 100-gun salute to the U.S. flag—Anderson's one condition for withdrawal—a pile of cartridges blew up from a spark, mortally wounding privates Daniel Hough and Edward Galloway, and seriously wounding the other four members of the gun crew; these were the first military fatalities of the war. The salute was stopped at fifty shots. Hough was buried in the Fort Sumter parade ground within two hours after the explosion. Galloway and Private George Fielding were sent to the hospital in Charleston, where Galloway died a few days later; Fielding was released after six weeks. The other wounded men and the remaining Union troops were placed aboard a Confederate steamer, the Isabel, where they spent the night and were transported the next morning to Fox's relief ship Baltic, resting outside the harbor bar