And Black People Were at the Heart of It (1846-1861)- Part 2

And Black People Were at the
Heart of It (1846-1861)- Part 2
The Kansas-Nebraska Act
The Dred Scott Case
Lincoln and Douglas Debate
Harper’s Ferry
Kansas-Nebraska Act
Douglas’s proposal for “popular sovereignty” in the KansasNebraska territories angered Northerners since it went against
the Missouri Compromise line (36º30’N).
This act opened territories to slavery that had been closed to it
for 30yrs, and also led to the division of the North and South
and violence over Kansas.
“Border ruffians” from Missouri invaded Kansas, attacked antislavery settlements and voted illegally in elections.
The New England Emigrant Aid Society
sent people packing “Beecher’s Bibles”
to help in Kansas.
The papers labeled the area “Bleeding
Kansas” and 200 people died in the
ensuing violence.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act
Preston Brooks Attacks Charles Sumner
Congress also became violent over the idea of popular sovereignty in the Kansas
and Nebraska territories when Sen. Charles Sumner (MA) accused Sen. Andrew
Butler (SC) of “keeping slavery as his lover.”
Congressman Preston Brooks (SC) was Butler’s cousin, and he exacted revenge on
Sumner by beating him with a ratan cane severely enough to cause Sumner to
leave Congress for 4yrs with physical and emotion injuries.
The 1856 election followed shortly
after with Northern Democrat,
James Buchanan against
Republican John C. Freemont.
Buchanan won the election, but
Republicans gained strength and
looked to the election of 1860.
The Dred Scott Decision
Dred Scott was a slave to a Missouri military doctor in the 1830’s. His owner
brought him into the North (IL and MN) where Scott remained for 3yrs., marrying
and having a child.
1846, Emerson- his owner- died and Scott and his wife, Harriet, filed for freedom
suits. They argued that since they were brought to territories where slavery was
illegal, that they were free.
Scott lost his 1st case, won his 2nd, lost again on appeal to
Missouri Supreme Court, appealed to a U.S. Circuit Court
and lost, and finally appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Roger B. Taney presided over the case, and
handed down a ruling that would influence the future of
both slavery and Scott.
Questions for the Court
Two questions needed to be answered by Taney and the Supreme Court:
1) Could Scott, a black man, sue in a federal court?
Taney ruled that black people could not sue in a federal since they were not citizens–
essentially stating that black people had no rights.
This was not an accurate remark since blacks had been
treated as citizens in several states, even voting in 5 out of
the 13 states at one point.
2) Was Scott free because he had been taken to a state and
territory where slavery was prohibited.
The court ruled against this and stated that slave owners
property rights took precedence. They overturned the
measures of Congress that prevented slave owners from
bringing slaves into states without slavery as well. This
was a major turning point for the slave discussion in the
Reactions, White Northerners, Black Americans
Whites were split over the decision– Southerners
were delighted and Republicans horrified.
African Americans were disgusted and spoke out
at rallies and meetings against a government that
denied them their rights.
Although many white northerners were moved by
the struggle of slaves, many were indifferent,
fearful, or hostile to blacks and did not want them
to migrate north.
Most of the Old Northwest (IL, IN, IO) except for
OH banned black settlement or disenfranchised
Alexis de Tocqueville talked
of the hypocrisy in
Northern ideals when he
“The prejudice of race
appears to be stronger in
the states that have
abolished slavery then in
those where it still exists;
and nowhere is it so
intolerant as in those states
where servitude has never
been known.”
The Lincoln-Douglas Debates
The Illinois Senatorial race led to one of the most important debates of the time
between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. Their debates were centered on
race and slavery.
The Freeport Debate was the most famous. Lincoln challenged Douglas with the
question of whether slavery could exist into any federal territory with the Dred
Scott decision.
Douglas’s response laid the
groundwork for the fracturing of
the Democratic party as well as the
ability to resist slavery expansion.
Douglas contended that if states did
not enact slave codes to protect and
control slave property, then slave
owners would not settle in northern
Abraham Lincoln and Black People
The Lincoln-Douglas debates generally turned to “mud slinging,” in which each
candidate argued for who favored whites more and blacks less. Douglas was an
advocate of white supremacy, but Lincoln did not differ much.
Lincoln did not believe in racial equality and stated, “I
do not understand that because I do not want a negro
woman for a slave I must necessarily have her for a
Lincoln did, however, believe that race should not deny
someone the right to be a free laborer.
Although Douglas won the Senatorial seat, Lincoln
made a strong impression and Douglas angered the
southerners and split the Democratic party.
John Brown & Raid on Harpers Ferry
John Brown was a radical abolitionist who had taken party in “Bleeding
He attempted to gain support for a mass uprising and in 1859 had
amassed 17 followers (including 3 of his sons and 5 black men) to storm
the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, VA to secure weapons and then
move south.
His plan went awry when the 1st person they killed was a
free black man. They then holed up in the arsenal and
were surrounded and taken by local militia and U.S.
Marines. 8 of Brown’s men (including 2 of his sons)
were killed. Brown was charged with treason and
hanged with 2 of his conspirators.
Northerners mourned his loss as a martyr, and
Southerners were horrified and angered by the
Northern sympathy. After the trial, jurors barns were
burned and livestock was poisoned.
The Election of Abraham Lincoln
The election of 1860 featured 4 candidates:
1) Stephen Douglas- Northern Democrat
2) John C. Breckenridge- Southern Democrat
3) John Bell- Constitutional Union (Former Whigs)
4) Abraham Lincoln- Republican
Lincoln’s name was not
featured on the southern
ballots since the
Republican party opposed
the expansion of slavery.
Many Northern blacks and abolitionists were
also reluctant about supporting Lincoln and
the Republican party due to the racism and
contradictions they saw in Lincoln’s beliefs.
When Lincoln won the election, the Southern states felt that they
had lost their voice in politics and felt they had no other course
but to secede.
SC seceded on Dec. 20th, 1860 and by Feb. 1861, seven states had
seceded (SC, MS, AL, FL, LA, GA, and TX) to form the
Confederate States of America.
Lincoln attempted to assure these states in his inaugural address
that slavery would not be ended, but secession also would not be
A month after his address, Fort
Sumter was surrounded and on
April 12th, 1861, the 1st shots of the
Civil War were fired. Four more
states seceded (VA, TN, NC, and
AK) and the Civil War had began.
• Tensions increased between the North and South as
the government became more and more involved in
the issue of slavery.
• The view of blacks was very contradictory in the
North where they did not like slavery, yet did not
like blacks.
• Lincoln’s election, along with the violence in Kansas,
John Brown’s raid, and the Freeport Doctrine
ultimately led to secession.
• HW: Work on Ch.8-10 Essay (due Monday) and
wrap up your final presentations (due Thursday)