A Nation Dividing

A Nation Dividing
• Learn how the Fugitive Slave Act and the KansasNebraska Act further divided the North and South.
• Learn how popular sovereignty led to violence.
Compromise of 1850
• California would be admitted as a free state.
• New Mexico Territory would have no
restrictions on slavery.
• The New Mexico/Texas border dispute would
be settled in favor of New Mexico.
• The slave trade would be abolished in
Washington, D.C.
• A strict fugitive slave law would be passed.
California Admitted as Free State
Admitted to the Union as a
free state September 9, 1850
New Mexico Territory
There would be no restrictions on slavery in the New Mexico
New Mexico-Texas Border Dispute
The dispute between Texas and
New Mexico over what the
border would be would be
settled in New Mexico’s favor.
Slave Trade Ban
Slavery was allowed, but the
buying and selling of slaves
was banned in Washington,
Fugitive Slave Act
Required all citizens to help in the capture and return of
escaped slaves.. Those helping could be fined or imprisoned.
Resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act
Abolitionists refused to help
enforce the act. Many helped
runaways. Juries refused to
convict. One of the most
successful groups was the
“underground railroad”. One of
the activists was Harriet Tubman.
Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad was a system of safe houses and
locations by which runaway slaves could hide and be helped
on their journey to freedom.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote the
novel exposing the evils slaves
faced. Beatings, whippings,
chains, families separated, living
conditions. This helped widen
the division between the North
and South on the issue of
slavery. When Abraham Lincoln
met Stowe, he is reported to
have said, “So you wrote the
book that started this great
Kansas-Nebraska Act
As railroads began moving
west of the Mississippi
River, Stephan A. Douglas
from Illinois wanted
Chicago to be the starting
point for a trans continental
Slavery Issue
Most of the territory west of the Mississippi river lay above the
Missouri Compromise Line of 36 degrees 30 minutes north
latitude. So states from this territory would be free states,
strengthening the North’s power in Congress.
Popular Sovereignty
Because Douglas knew the South would object to his plan, he
proposed eliminating the Missouri Compromise Line and
allowing the people living in that territory the right to determine
whether or not to have slavery.
Legislation Passes
On May 4, 1854, The Kansas-Nebraska Act passes Congress. The
territory is divided into Kansas and Nebraska. Popular sovereignty will
decide the issue of slavery.
Conflicts Ignite
In the spring of 1855 elections are held. Border Ruffians,
primarily pro-slavery people from Missouri crossed the border
and effected the elections. A pro-slavery government is voted
Anti-Slavery Elections
Kansans not happy with the results,
hold their own elections and an
anti-slavery government is chosen.
Washington Politics
President Franklin Pierce and the
United States’ Senate supported
the pro-slavery government.
Washington Politics
The House of Representatives supported the anti-slavery government.
On May 21 1856, pro slavery people attacked the town of Lawrence
Kansas. The shelled the town, burn the hotel.
John Brown
In retaliation, John Brown, with
his sons and some loyal followers
went out to seek revenge for the
attack on Lawrence.
Pottawattamie Creek Massacre
On the night of May 24 John Brown and his followers came to
the cabin of James Doyle and murdered the five males of the
Bleeding Kansas
These two events led to the
territorial nickname, “Bleeding
Violence in Congress
On May 19 and 20, Senator
Charles Sumner from
Massachusetts, a leading
abolitionist, gave a speech
condemning the Kansas
Nebraska Act and slavery in
general. During the speech he
had attacked the pro-slavery
senators, in particular Andrew
P. Butler of South Carolina.
Preston Brooks
In response, Preston Brooks, Butler’s distant cousin came into
the senate and in front of the whole chamber beat Sumner
repeatedly with a cane.
American Dividing
All of these incidents of violence from “Bleeding Kansas”, the
Pottawattamie Massacre, to the Charles Sumner beating
revealed to the nation how deeply divided the nation was on
the issue of slavery.