Ch. 19 Notes
Drifting Toward Disunion
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
1. In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle
Tom’s Cabin, which left an enduring impression
on the North and their view of slavery.
2. Thousands of northerners joined the
abolitionist movement because of the book’s
portrayal of slavery.
3. The governments of Great Britain and France
later decided not to intervene in the Civil War
because of their own citizen’s reaction to the
The Fight for Kansas
1. When the Kansas/Nebraska Act passes through
Congress, many abolitionists (known as free
soilers) begin moving to Kansas, determined not
to allow slavery there.
2. They bring with them guns, known as
“Beecher’s bibles”, named after Henry War
Beecher, the abolitionist who helped raise the
money to buy them.
3. Pro-slavery “border ruffians” moved into Kansas
from Missouri in order to vote for slavery.
Bleeding Kansas
1. When the election is held in 1855, the pro-slavery
side wins and sets up a government at Shawnee
2. The free soilers set up their own government in
3. In 1856, a gang of pro-slavery raiders attacked and
burned part of Lawrence, Kansas.
4. In retaliation, John Brown attacked some pro-slavery
supporters at Pottawatomie Creek, Kansas, killing
five people.
5. After this, civil war breaks out in Kansas between the
pro and anti-slavery forces – Kansas become the
litmus test that shows popular sovereignty doesn’t
Bleeding Congress
1. In 1856 Charles Sumner of Massachusetts gives an incredibly
harsh speech in the Senate condemning slavery, insulting S.C.
Senator Andrew Butler in the process.
2. In response, S.C. Rep. Preston S. Brooks entered the Senate and
beat him senseless with a cane.
3. This incident showed how the passions over slavery were
becoming inflamed in both the North and the South.
Lecompton Constitution
1. In 1857 the pro-slavery government of Kansas
submitted the Lecompton Constitution to Congress
for approval – the constitution allowed slavery in
Kansas and the people of Kansas weren’t allowed to
vote on it.
2. It wasn’t approved, largely because of Stephen
Douglas, who still believed strongly in popular
sovereignty, refused to support a constitution that
hadn’t been submitted to the vote of the people.
3. This caused Douglas to lose a lot of his support within
the Democratic Party.
Presidential Election of 1856
1. The Democrats nominate another doughface, James
Buchanan, largely because he had been out of the
country and hadn’t been involved in the Kansas/Nebraska
Act – they refuse to nominate Douglas, their most wellknown member, because of his involvement in the
Kansas/Nebraska Act.
2. The Republicans nominate John C. Freemont of California
3. The Native American Party, or Know-Nothings, nominate
Millard Fillmore and campaign on limiting immigration.
4. Buchanan wins the election, largely because many
northerners are still willing to vote Democrat because
they don’t want to lose their profitable business
connections with the South, but the Republicans do quite
well for a brand new party
Presidential Election of 1856
The Dred Scott Decision
In 1857 the Supreme Court
hears the Dred Scott case.
He was a slave who had sued
his owner for his freedom
because he had been taken
into free territory.
The Supreme Court decides
that (1) slaves are property and
have no standing to use the
U.S. courts and (2) Congress
can’t deprive people of their
property by limiting where
slavery is or isn’t allowed.
Northerners are horrified by
the decision while Southerners
are thrilled.
The Panic of 1857
1. This panic wasn’t nearly as bad as the one in
1837 but it came at a terrible time because it
inflamed the tensions between the north and
the south.
2. Northern manufactures struggled during the
panic and called for more protective tariffs while
southern plantation owners, who were doing a
large part of their business with Europe, weren’t
affected much.
3. This led the South to believe that they were
economically superior to the North and gave
them another reason to tout the use of slaves.
Douglas vs. Lincoln
1. In 1858, because of Douglas’ loss of support
from the Democrats, the Republicans decide to
challenge him for his seat in the Senate and run
Abraham Lincoln against him.
2. Lincoln challenges Douglas to a series of
debates, and Douglas accepts.
3. Lincoln will ultimately lose the election but the
coverage of the debates will propel him into the
national spotlight and set him up for being
nominated for president by the Republicans in
Douglas vs. Lincoln
The Great Debate
1. In their debate in Alton, Illinois, Douglas
attacks the Republican Party.
2. He refers to them as “Black Republicans” and
claims they want to free the slaves and grant
them equality.
3. Lincoln refutes the claim, stating that the
Republicans just want to contain slavery
where it was and keep it from spreading into
the territories.
The Freeport Doctrine
1. In the debate in Freeport, Illinois, Lincoln
asks Douglas if popular sovereignty is still
legal after the Dred Scott decision.
2. Douglas claims that it’s the people of an area
who have the ultimate say in deciding if
slavery exists there and they will have the
ability to pass laws that would fail to protect
slavery within an area, regardless of the
Supreme Court’s decision.
1. In 1859, John Brown
leads a raid on Harpers
Ferry, Va.
2. Brown believes that God
has told him to use force
to free the slaves.
3. Brown seizes a federal
arsenal and expects the
slaves of the area to
flock to him, arm
themselves and rise up
against the whites
around them.
4. Brown doesn’t get word
to the slaves in the area
of what he’s planning
and he’s captured and
eventually executed.
John Brown
Harper’s Ferry
The Effects of Browns’ Raid
1. While most northerners disapprove of
Brown’s actions, many view him as a hero
willing to give up his life to free slaves.
2. The South view’s the approval of these
northerners as the North’s approval to use
force to free the slaves.
3. They also believe that is exactly what will
happen should the Republican Party rise to
The Presidential Election of 1860
1. The Democrats split over the issue of slavery.
2. The northern Democrats run Stephen Douglas, who
supports popular sovereignty.
3. The southern Democrats run John C. Breckenridge,
who favors the extension of slavery into the
4. The Republican run Abraham Lincoln, who favors
keeping slavery contained where it is.
5. The Constitutional Union Party is formed (from
moderate Democrats mainly) and their goal is to keep
the Republicans from winning and to preserve the
Union – they nominate John Bell.
6. Lincoln, or course, wins the election.
Presidential Election of 1860
The Confederate States of America
1. As soon as Lincoln is elected, South Carolina
secedes from the Union – seven states have
seceded by the time Lincoln is inaugurated and
four more threaten to do so if the north does
anything to them.
2. The southern states meet in Montgomery,
Alabama, and form the Confederate States of
America, choosing Jefferson Davis as their
president and Alexander Stephens as their vice
1. The southern states had numerous reasons for secession.
2. The state’s rights argument claimed that they had the
right to secede – state conventions were used to ratify the
Constitution and create the government so state
conventions could be used to withdraw from the
government as well.
3. Others believed that the political balance was tipping
against them anyway so better to get out now while they
were still on an equal footing
4. Many claimed the Republicans were full of abolitionists
who were going to force them to free their slaves.
5. Others felt like the north wouldn’t care if they seceded –
and their were northerners who didn’t.
6. All of these reasons revolved around the issue of slavery
James Buchanan
1. Buchanan doesn’t know what to do about
the secession of the southern states.
2. He believes that they don’t have the right to
secede but he also believes that he doesn’t
have the authority to do anything about it.
3. Since he’s a lame-duck president, he decides
to just wait and let Lincoln deal with it.
The Crittenden Amendments
1. Senator John Crittenden of Kentucky will
propose a series of Constitutional amendments
to try to get the south back into the Union.
2. These amendments would have created a
dividing line in the territories along the 36° 30’
line and allowed all new states the right to vote
on the issue of slavery.
3. Lincoln refuses to support these amendments,
claiming that he had been elected by people
that didn’t want to see slavery extended into the