Road to War

Road to War
As the North became more industrialized, slavery began
to die out in the northern states. However, South became
more and more dependent on the use of slaves with the
development of the cotton gin. The big question in the
United States was what to do with slavery in the new
western territories. Congress passed new laws every
few years to try to solve the problem.
• 1787 -- All states in
this area (northwest
of Ohio River) will be
free states
• 1820 -- Missouri is not
northwest of Ohio, so what to
• Northern states don’t want
more slave states, will disrupt
the balance of slave and
free; final decision:
• Missouri is slave state
• Maine (used to be part of MA)
is added as separate free state
• in future, all states North of
36˚30' will be free; all states
South of 36˚30' will be slave
Texas Annexation & the
Mexican-American War (1848)
results in more land being
added to the United States,
south of 36-30, would give
Slave states an advantage.
What should be done?
1846 – Wilmot Proviso –
slavery should not be permitted
in any territory taken from
- California is a free state
- New Mexico and Utah can
decide for themselves whether
or not to have slavery
- Abolished sale of slaves in DC
- Fugitive Slave Law – northern
states were required to help
capture and return run-away
slaves (Enraged many
• 1854 - People in the
new territories (Kansas
and Nebraska) should
decide for themselves
whether to be slave or
• popular sovereignty: the
people in each territory
will vote on whether or not
to have slavery
1854 – Creation of the
Republican Party
• opposed to the KansasNebraska Act
• wanted to keep slavery
out of the territories
• drew support from many
diverse groups – were
able to win elections
1856 – Bleeding Kansas
• Groups in favor of slavery
and groups opposed to
slavery (“free-soilers”)
both move into Kansas,
trying to sway the vote
May 21 – Sack of Lawrence:
• Southerners attacked and looted
several homes and the
newspaper office in this antislavery town
May 24 – Pottawatomie Creek:
• John Brown and a group of New
Englanders attacked this proslavery town at night, dragged 5
men from their homes and killed
them (with swords)
Raids and counter-raids continued
all summer, Kansas is “bleeding”
1857 -- Chief Justice
Roger Taney ruled that
• African-Americans are not
citizens and do not have
• Even if slaves were
brought into free states
and they were still slaves
1858 – Series of debates
over the issue of slavery
during the campaign for
Illinois Senate seat
• Lincoln lost the race for the
Senate, but became the
Republican Party
candidate for president in
• Lincoln warned: “A house
divided against itself
cannot stand.”
October 16, 1859 –
Harper’s Ferry, Virginia
• John Brown (a white
abolitionist) and 18 others (5
black and 13 whites)
attacked the Federal Arsenal
at Harper's Ferry
• Attempted to overthrow all
slave masters
• the arsenal was surrounded
and John Brown and the
others were captured
• Brown is executed for treason