Causes of the American Civil War
Laws Against the Slave AuctionAfter the Revolutionary War, the slave auctions seemed to be dying out. In response, the Northern states started passing laws against slave auctions in their states. American Colonization Society The ACS bought a small country in Africa called Liberia. The ACS allowed any slaves who wanted to go to Liberia to go there and live. Although several thousand slaves went to live there, the ACS was not a huge success.
Free Blacks AccomplishmentsFree blacks in the North and South made significant achievments. Many were successful playwrites, inventors, novelists, and some helped lead the Westward movement. Eli Whitney and the Cotton GinEli Whitney’s cotton gin was hailed as a farming revolution. Twice as much cotton could be cleaned in half the time! This created a huge market for cotton. Cotton production shot up. But with more cotton, the South needed more slaves to pick the cotton. The slave population shot up drastically in the years before the Civil War. #5. Solomon NorthrupSolomon Northrup was a free black man that was kidnapped and sold into slavery. He wrote a book about his life, which angered many abolitionists and many normal citizens also.
Slave LifeSlaves had very simple homes that were small and poorly furnished. But the furnishings were not bad. It was the fact that they had no chance for improvement. #The Treatment Of Slaves At Slave Auctions The slave auction was one of the most inhumane places in American history. Slaves were made to run, do tests of dexterity, show their teeth, and exhibit all sorts of things to buyers. Families were split up at the call of the auctioneer. Dred Scott Case The U. S. Supreme Court decided in the Dred Scott case that slaves were the property of their owners and had no rights.
The Presidential Election of 1860In the Presidential Election of 1860, a Republican president was elected. Abraham Lincoln was strongly anti-slavery. This election led to the Southern states seceeding. The Fugitive Slave LawThe law said that slaves had to be returned to their owners if they escaped. “The only way to make the Fugitive Slave Law a dead letter is to make half a dozen or more dead kidnappers,” said Frederick Douglass. By kidnappers, he meant the men who tried to reclaim slaves. #11. Social DifficultiesMany ex-slaves and free blacks left the United States and went to live in Canada.
The problem with this was that ex-slaves were giving America a bad reputation. Western StatesEvery time a western territory became a state, the Senate had to be balanced by free and slave states. The problem was made worse by the fact that no western states wanted to become slave states. #Anti-Slavery ArtPaintings such as “A Ride for Liberty- the Fugitive Slave” and were influential because of the horrific images they depicted. Uncle Tom’s CabinUncle Toms Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe told of the horrible cruelty of slavery. It was widely distributed and even became a best-seller in Europe.
It was regarded by some to be one of the main causes of the Civil War because it outraged so many thousands of people. #Stage Playin New York there were many anti-slavery plays. These plays had many people looking at slavery in real life. It turned many people into abolitionists and abolitionists into radicals. The American Anti-Slavery Almanac The Almanac published essays and abolitionist ideas. Even though some of it was true, it was mostly propaganda written by the editors. No Trials for SlavesNorthern citizens saw unaway slaves caught and hauled back off to the South without a chance to defend themselves in court. Thousands of Northerners were outraged at this.
ReligionReligious beliefs were one of the major reasons for abolitionism in the North and South. Many were convinced that slavery was against the Bible because of such passages witch stated that the Lord would deliver his children from the hands of oppressors. Many were convinced that it was their duty to God to help slaves escape their masters. #New York Nine Months LawThe law stated that anyone who lived in New York for nine months was a citizen of New York. Any slave who ran away to New York and hid out for nine months could not be taken back to the South. This angered Southerners who had just lost valuable property. Abolitionist RadicalsRadicals in the North actually did not convert many people to their (at the time) severely liberal beliefs. But they did make many people rethink their values on slavery and made many abolitionists.
Quakers The Quakers were one of the religious groups at the helm of the anti-slavery movement since colonial days. They were joined by northern ministers and preachers such as Theodore Dwight Weld and Henry Ward Beecher. The aboltionism movement was led in large part by religious leaders.Pottawamie Massacreln the middle of the night, John Brown and seven men went into the homes of three families and killed five people. This seemingly random killing was in response to the attack on Lawrence, Kansas. It brought Kansas to the verge of civil war.
The Attack On Lawrence The Kansas abolitionist headquarters were in Lawrence, Kansas. The settlers did many marches around the town. A U. S. marshal tried to arrest some of the leaders, but they fled before he could do so. On May 21, Sheriff Jones marched into town with an army of Missourians and threw the printing presses of two anti-slavery newspapers into the river. Anti-slavery Kansans seethed with rage. “Bleeding Kansas”The Pottawamie Massacre was used by politicians to raise anger. The events in Kansas were not as major as they made it seem. Few people actually died, but the newspapers wrote exaggerated reports which scared many Americans.
Reaction to the The Kansas-Nebraska BillSenator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois introduced a bill which would set up territorial government for land west of Missouri. Northerners who opposed Douglas’s bill grew angry. Abolitionists were determined to keep slavery out of Kansas. The Ostend ManifestoPresident Pierce, under the influence of Southern politicians, began negotiations with Spain to buy Cuba. This was seen as an attempt to extend Southern territory. Northerners were shocked and outraged. Free Soilers and the Kansas-Nebraska BillSince the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, it was feared that many anti-slavery Free Soilers would rush into Kansas and use popular sovereignty to keep slavery out. Instead, the reverse happened.
About 5000 Missourians crossed the border and voted. Although these votes were not legal, they were counted. As a result, a huge majority of the voters were proslavery. They soon made many proslavery laws, evn one that would reward death to anyone who helped slaves escape. Free-soilers refused to recognize this government. They set up their own government in Topeka. # Reverend Henry Ward BeecherOne of the most dangerous steps in the abolitionist movement was taken by Reverend Henry Ward Beecher. He was a well known abolitionist and the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. As delicate as relations were in Kansas, he stoked the fire by sending guns to abolitionists forces there. He was so successful at this that people began to speak of the weapons as Beecher’s Bibles.