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Causes of the Civil War

The unresolved debate over the spread of slavery, that was meant to be settled by the Missouri Compromise of 1820, resurfaced with the Compromise of 1850 and later the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. The 1850 Compromise admitted California as a free state, in return for allowing slavery to continue in Washington D.C. In addition the territory of New Mexico (including present-day Arizona and Utah) was organized without any specific prohibition of slavery, and laws throughout the land for the capture of fugitive slaves were strengthened. This last aspect of the Compromise was known as the Fugitive Slave Act. It stipulated any slave who escaped to another state or into federal territory would be seized and returned to their owner. The Act also imposed an additional penalty on any individual who helped a slave escape. Many northerners reacted angrily to these seemingly unjust and inhumane laws, and there presence spurred the operation of the fabled Underground Railroad, a network of thousands of homes and other "stations" that helped escaping slaves travel from the southern slave-holding states to the northern states and on to Canada, and thus freedom. In 1854 there was yet another attempt at North-South compromise over the spread of slavery into new territories and states. The Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise and sought to resolve the status of the Louisiana Purchase by dividing it in two: Kansas and Nebraska. The act left the matter of determining the status of a new state as slave or free--as the decision of the new states' citizens. This in turn led to more intensified violence as both northern and southern interest groups attempted to increase the number of pro and anti slavery settlers in the new territories by encouraging migration from other states. The tendency towards importing pro and antislavery forces into the Kansas territory during the mid- and late 1850s resulted in widespread conflict and violence. In fact there were so many violent incidents that occurred in Kansas, often involving neighbours attacking neighbours, the area was nicknamed bleeding Kansas. The importance of the elections in Nebraska and Kansas was reflected in the words of pro-slavery Missouri Senator David Atchison who said "We are playing for a mighty stake. If we win, we carry slavery to the Pacific Ocean. Attempts at political compromise were clearly intensifying North-South hostilities rather than resolving them.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise and sought to resolve the status of the Louisiana Purchase by dividing it in two: Kansas and Nebraska. The act left the matter of determining the status of a new state as slave or free--as the decision of the new states' citizens. In reaction to the South's fierce defence of slavery an abolition movement in the North began to emerge and attract popular following. The abolitionists believed not only that slavery was wrong, but also the Federal government should move to abolish it. They were very vocal about their beliefs, and

Dred Scott was returned to slavery. A federal court initially ruled that Scott was a free citizen. Virginia. and further fueled the conviction that slavery was morally wrong and should be abolished. Scott was a slave who judicially challenged the institution of slavery. Kentucky and Missouri remained part of the Union but possessed sizeable populations of pro-slavery inhabitants. the border states of Delaware. In addition. including vigourous opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act. as well as many of his followers. a very popular account of slaves' lives and the plight of runaway slaves. Georgia. Southerners viewed Brown as a blood-thirsty villain. The book served to introduce anti-slavery ideas to an increasing number of Americans. Within days of the election South Carolina seceded from the Union. and thus Lincoln's election was a mirror image of the deep sectional divisions that existed in the country. it was a short step to the proposition that a state had the right to dissolve its association with the Federal Government if it felt it was not being treated fairly. and yet most defining event in American history. led by John Brown. Virginia. to win the federal election. From such a position of believing its voice was not being heard in the country's management of political affairs. However Lincoln did not win any southern states. the Civil War of 1861-65. But the Supreme Court later ruled otherwise in an appeal. it was the Dred Scott case of 1857. . Abraham Lincoln. Louisiana. arguing it was biased and misrepresented the truth. Many southern states quickly banned sales of Uncle Tom's Cabin. It stated that Negroes were an inferior race and that African-Americans could never become United States citizens. He had visited the free territory of Minnesota with his master and claimed that this made him a free man. and who forever changed the definition of property in America. seized an arsenal in Harper's Ferry. To this day Beecher's famed novel is on the recommended reading list of many American high schools and universities. The Dred Scott ruling greatly divided the nation and further demonstrated the inability of northerners and southerners to find a workable compromise. were hanged for their actions. If there was a personal event of the period that captured the hearts of the nation and embodied growing demand to extend basic human rights to African-Americans. Eventually the insurrection was put down and Brown. while northerners saw him as a just hero. John Brown was executed for his actions in 'bleeding Kansas' and seizure of a federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry. and called upon local slaves to participate in armed insurrection.increasingly began to challenge the South's right to own slaves. Uncle Tom's Cabin. Brown had also previously been involved in an event in 'bleeding Kansas' in which five pro-slavery supporters were dragged from their beds and brutally murdered. allowing for the newly formed Republican Party. Virginia. The popularity of abolition had been further forwarded in 1852 when author Harriet Beecher Stowe published her famed novel. North Carolina and Arkansas would later round out the seceding states that would form the break away Confederate States of America. This event widened the political and social gap between North and South and took the nation closer to the brink of Civil War. Mississippi and Texas soon followed suit. How does the above painting portray Brown? Can you support your claim with visual evidence found within the painting? The nation was deeply divided as the presidential election of 1860 drew near. The dispute over slavery acquired even more violent overtones in 1859 when a group of abolitionists. Florida. Alabama. The deep chasm that slavery had formed in America saw the Democrat Party splinter into three separate groups. Maryland. The stage was set for the most damaging. led by long shot candidate. Tennessee.