Crisis of Union

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Election of 1848

1848

The election won by Zachary Taylor of the Whig Party, who ran against former President Martin Van Buren of the Free Soil Party and Lewis Cass of the Democratic Party.

Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman

1849

This date is technically when Harriet Tubman escaped her master. The underground railroad was a thing for a while, not just one year. The Underground Railroad was a system of abolitionists who smuggled slaves out of the South. A very prominent conductor of the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman, successfully rescued many slaves and avoided capture by southern planters.

Compromise of 1850

1850

Compilation of proposals from Henry Clay. California would become a free state and territories won from Mexico would be determined by popular sovereignty.

Christiana Riot

September 11, 1851

The event where local residents of Christiana, Pennsylvania defended a fugitive slave and killed the slave owner. Southerners demanded the hanging of those responsible, who were accused of treason and making war on the United States, but after the first defendant was acquitted, the government dropped the case. The trial was the first nationally-covered challenge to the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850.

Uncle Tom's Cabin

1852

A novel written by Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1852 that featured Uncle Tom, a kind and accepting slave. It sold very widely and gained support for abolition, but was despised in the South.

Kansas and Nebraska Act

1854

Nebraska would become two territories, Kansas and Nebraska. Kansas would be a slave state and Nebraska would be a free state.

Rise of the Republican Party

1854

A new party that made antislavery the center of the Republican philosophy. It became very big in the North as it included many businessmen who believed that slavery stifled industry and that slavery encouraged Immoral or wicked behavior.

Bleeding Kansas

1854 - 1856

A series of violent outbreaks between abolitionists and pro slavery supporters in the Kansas region that showed popular sovereignty was not the answer to the slavery problem.

Election of 1856

1856

The first Republican election, they nominated John C. Fremont. The Democrats nominated James Buchanan and the Know-Nothings nominated former President Millard Fillmore. Buchanan won under the promise that he would “stop the agitation of the slavery issue.”

Dredd Scott Decision

1857

Dred Scott, a slave, had been taken by his master and kept in Illinois, where slavery was outlawed. He tried to sue to gain freedom, but the Supreme Court ruled against him in 1857.

Lincoln Douglas Debate

1858

seven debates, competing for place in the senate, thousands of Americans gathered to watch them, Lincoln was anti-slavery, beginning his political career opposing the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and Douglas sympathised with slavery and saw popular sovereignty as a solution to regional problems

John Brown's Raid

1859

A radical abolitionist, John Brown, believed that he needed to fight to end slavery. In 1859, he attempted to raid an arsenal in Harper’s Ferry to inspire local slaves, but was caught and arrested

Formation of Constitutional Union Party

1860

The Know-Nothings and the Whigs made a last ditch effort during the 1860 election and combined to form a party focusing on healing the sectional split and upholding the unity supported by the constitution, their nominated Candidate was John Bell

Split of Democratic Party

1860

During the 1860 Election, argued about slavery, northern democrats versus southern democrats, nominating convention lasted 10 days, 2 candidates emerged, Northerners supported Stephen Douglas and popular sovereignty, Southerners supported vice president, John Breckinridge and the expansion of slavery

Crittenden Compromise

December 16, 1860

Attempt by senator John Crittenden to prevent southern states from seceding from the union, it allowed slavery in western states south of the Missouri compromise, sought federal funds to reimburse for runaway slaves, Lincoln disapproved, narrowly voted down by senators

Secession of the States

December 20, 1860

South Carolina first, the southerners were outraged that Lincoln was elected without any southern votes and thought the south no longer had a say in congress, the Confederate States of America were formed in February 1861

Attack on Fort Sumter

April 1861

Ft Sumter had remained in union hands when the south seceded, but it was running out of supplies, Buchanan tried to supply it in february, but the ship turned away when fired upon, in april Lincoln sent word and supplies, but the south was suspicious and fired on the fort, ultimately forcing it to surrender, Northerners and Lincoln were outraged, and he sent 75,000 volunteers to retaliate against the confederacy