1820-1860: Increasing
Sectionalism & the Road to
the Civil War
(Unit III, Segment 1 of 3)
The Sectional Crisis
■Essential Question:
–Was the Civil War inevitable?
Sectionalism in the Antebellum Era
• From
1800-1860,
the transformed
North & South
became
“King
Cotton” had
the
vastly
regions
Southdifferent
into a rural
region with slavery,
little manufacturing, & few railroads
Sectionalism in the Antebellum Era
• From
1800-1860,
the North
& South became
The North
had industrial
factories,
vastly
different
regions workers,
cities,
paid immigrant
railroads, & larger population
Sectionalism in the Antebellum Era
These regional differences increased
sectionalism -- placing the interests of a
region above the interests of the nation
–1820-1850: Sectionalism was mild &
resolved by compromise
Sectionalism: 1820-1850
The first major issue regarding slavery in
the antebellum era focused on Missouri
becoming a state in 1820:
–Northerners & Southerners did not want
to upset the equal balance of free & slave
states in the Senate
–Northerners did not want slavery to
spread beyond the “Deep South”
–Southerners did not think Congress had
the power to stop slavery
In 1820,
Henry
Clay
negotiated
Maine
broke
from
Massachusetts
the&Missouri
became Compromise
a free state
“The firebell in the night!”
Missouri became
a slave state
Slavery was outlawed in all western
territories above the latitude of
36°30'
Sectionalism: 1820-1850
In the 1830s, the issue of tariffs
divided North & South
–Southerners argued that tariffs
benefited only the North & made
manufactured goods too expensive
–John C. Calhoun of SC attempted
nullification & threatened secession
–President Jackson fought this
states’ rights argument
Texas was not annexed
for 9 years
Sectionalism:
1820-1850
because statehood would
In the 1840s,
westward
expansion
unbalance the number of free &
brought the issueslave
of slavery
states up again:
The addition of the
Mexican Cession after the
Mexican-American War
gave Southerners hope
that slavery would spread
to the Pacific Ocean
Sectionalism: 1820-1850
• In 1850, California asked to enter the
Union as a free state:
–Southerners did not want more free
states & wanted slavery to be
allowed in the southwest territories
–Northerners wanted to keep slavery
out of the SW & wanted other laws to
protect runaway slaves who made it
to freedom in the North
The Compromise of 1850 solved the sectional
The people
ofbetween
Utah & North The
dispute
& South
slave trade
New Mexico could vote
ended in
to allow or ban slavery
Washington DC
(popular sovereignty)
California
entered as a
free state
A stronger Fugitive Slave Law
was created that allowed
Southerners to recapture
slaves in the North
The Compromise of 1850:
Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, & John Calhoun
Sectionalism: 1820-1850
• From 1820 to 1850, sectionalism in
America increased due to
–Differences in regional economies
& the use of slavery
–Westward expansion & the entry of
new states to the Union
–Growing abolitionism in the North
• But, each time a dispute threatened the
nation, a compromise was reached
Sectionalism in the Antebellum Era
These regional differences increased
sectionalism -- placing the interests of a region
above the interests of the nation
–1820-1850: Sectionalism was mild & resolved
by compromise
–1850-1856: The growth of abolitionism &
westward expansion intensified the question
of the “morality” of slavery
Sectionalism: 1850-1856
• Abolitionists & many Northerners
despised the Compromise of 1850:
–The Fugitive Slave Law allowed
runaway slaves (& sometimes “free
blacks”) to be recaptured &
enslaved
–Northerners formed vigilante
committees to protect runaways
–Abolitionism grew in the North
Harriet Tubman made 19 trips
South to lead 300 slaves to
freedom through the
Underground Railroad
The
Underground
Railroad was
a network of
safe houses
to help
slaves
escape to
freedom
Sectionalism: 1850-1856
• In 1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe
published Uncle Tom’s Cabin
–Depicted slavery as a
moral evil
–Became the best selling
book of the 19th century
–Inspired many in the
"So you're the little
North to join the
lady who started this
great war!"
abolitionist cause
Sectionalism: 1850-1856
• In 1854, Congress passed Stephen
Douglas’ Kansas-Nebraska Act
–The law used popular sovereignty
to give the residents of the territories
the right to vote to determine slavery
– To do this, Congress repealed
(ended) the Missouri Compromise
line at 36º30’ in the western
territories
The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854
Sectionalism: 1850-1856
• Northerners were outraged by the
Kansas-Nebraska Act:
–Congress allowed slavery to spread
into an area of the U.S. where
slavery was already outlawed
–Northerners formed the Republican
Party in 1854 & became committed
to the “free soil” movement
Sectionalism: 1850-1856
• Popular sovereignty failed to settle the
slavery question in the West:
–When a vote was held in Kansas in
1855 to decide on slavery, thousands
of Missouri residents illegally voted
–This illegal vote gave Kansas slavery
when its residents voted against it
–In 1856, a war began between Kansas
& Missouri (“Bleeding Kansas”)
The voteThousands
revealed aof
pro-slavery
victory
pro-slavery
which led
to“Bleeding
a violent
civil
war
in Kansas
Kansas”
Missouri
residents
crossed
the border & voted for slavery
Free-soilers from Kansas
voted against slavery
Sectionalism: 1850-1856
• From 1850 to 1856, sectionalism in
America increased due to:
–The growth of abolitionism due to
the Fugitive Slave Law, Uncle Tom’s
Cabin, & the Kansas-Nebraska Act
–The birth of regional (not national)
political parties like the Republicans
• Sectional tensions were becoming so bad
that compromise was not an option
Sectionalism in the Antebellum Era
These regional differences increased
sectionalism -- placing the interests of a region
above the interests of the nation
–1820-1850: Sectionalism was mild & resolved
by compromise
–1850-1856: The growth of abolitionism &
westward expansion intensified the question
of the “morality” of slavery
–1856-1860: The slave issue became
“irreconcilable” & led to the Civil War
Sectionalism: 1856-1860
• In 1857, a slave named Dred Scott
sued for his freedom after traveling with
his master from Missouri to Wisconsin
• The Dred Scott case presented the
Supreme Court with 2 major questions:
–Does Congress have the power to
decide on slavery in the territories?
–Is the Missouri Compromise
constitutional?
Sectionalism: 1856-1860
• In Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), the
Supreme Court ruled:
– Dred Scott had no right to sue because
African Americans were not citizens
– Congress did not have the power to
stop slavery in western territories so
the Missouri Compromise was ruled
unconstitutional
– Northern abolitionists were furious
Lincoln was unknown at the time,
Sectionalism:
1856-1860
but during the campaign he argued
• In 1858,
Democrat
Douglas
that Congress
mustStephen
stop the spread
of slavery
(free soil argument)
ran against
Republican
Abraham
Lincoln for the Illinois Senate
Lincoln lost the Senate election,
but his argument against slavery
made him a popular national figure
“A house divided against
itself cannot stand.
I believe this government
cannot endure,
permanently half slave
and half free.”
-- Abraham Lincoln, 1858
Sectionalism: 1856-1860
• In 1859, abolitionist John Brown led an
unsuccessful raid on a federal armory at
Harper’s Ferry, VA in an attempt to free
slaves in a massive slave uprising
–Brown was caught & executed
–But he was seen as a martyr by many
in the North
–Southerners believed Northerners were
using violence to end slavery
An Ill-fated Raid
Raid on Harpers Ferry
■ October 1859
■ John Brown / 20 men
(5 African Americans)
capture
Federal Armory
[Harpers Ferry, Virginia
(now WV)]
Goal: arm slaves /
promote a slave
rebellion
“One man and God can overturn the
universe.”
-- John Brown
Guilty!
The Verdict
“Now, if it is deemed
necessary that I
should forfeit my
life for the
furtherance of the
ends of justice, and
mingle my blood further
with the blood of my children and with the
blood of millions in this slave country whose
rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and
unjust enactments -- I submit; so let it be
done.”
-- John Brown
A Prediction?
John Brown left a haunting note to be read after
his execution:
“I, John Brown, am now quite
certain that the crimes of this
guilty land will never be
purged away but with Blood.
I had as I now think vainly
flattered myself that without much bloodshed,
it might be done.”
Result:
1. South grew less inclined to negotiate and
talk
peace
2. South began to form militias to protect
itself from possible slave insurrections
Republicans
nominated
Abraham
Lincoln
who
Sectionalism:
1856-1860
argued for “free soil” & a strong national gov’t
Northern
Democrats
Stephen
• The
Election
of 1860nominated
proved to
be the
Douglas
whofor
argued
for popular sovereignty
final
straw
the South:
Southern Democrats nominated
John Breckenridge who argued for
states rights & the protection of slavery
Democrats in the
North & South were
split over the issue
of slavery
Lincoln
won the election
Sectionalism:
1856
without a single Southern vote
- 1860
Southerners assumed slavery would soon be
abolished & began to discuss the possibility
of seceding (breaking away) from the USA
Sectionalism:
1856-1860
In December 1860, South Carolina became
the first state to secede from the Union
In 1861, more Southern states seceded &
the Civil War between North & South began
Sectionalism: 1856-1860
• From 1856 to 1860, sectionalism in
America increased due to:
–Slavery became the most important
political issue of the time
–Growing Southern fears that the
North would end slavery (John
Brown’s raid, election of Lincoln)
• No compromises could prevent a
Civil War between the North & South