Causes of the Civil War 1820 1860

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Causes of the Civil War 1820 - 1860

  • Mr. Dickson
  • U.S. History


  • There was a great debate over where slavery would be allowed and where it would not. A debate occurred and finally a compromise was reached. It stated:
  • 1.) Missouri entered as a slave state
  • 2.) Maine entered as a free state.
  • 3.) The 36’ 30’’ line is drawn. This line was suppose to decide whether slavery would be allowed in certain territories or not.
  • This compromise was effective for a number of years – almost thirty! However, after about 1850, problems began to occur and the compromise was less and less effective.


  • This was a plan presented by David Wilmot, a Congressman from Pennsylvania, to stop the spread of slavery into the territories won from Mexico.
  • His plan PASSED the House but FAILED in the Senate.
  • His plan showed the power of the North.
  • His plan also made the South suspicious of the North’s intentions.


  • This was a NEW political party formed in Buffalo, New York.
  • It was formed by Northerners who wanted to DISCUSS the issue of slavery.
  • This was the FIRST party formed that was a “sectional party” and they picked Martin Van Buren as their first candidate for President.
  • “Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Labor, and Free Men”
  • Endorsed the Wilmot Proviso


  • This time it includes 5 parts!
  • 1.) California enters as a FREE state.
  • 2.) Area from Mexican Cession divided into Utah and New Mexico. Slavery issue to be decided by POPULAR SOVEREIGNTRY.
  • 3.) ENDED slave trade in
  • Washington D.C.
  • 4.) Made a STRICT Fugitive Slave Law
  • 5.) Settled boarder problems between New Mexico and Texas.
  • Again, problems better for a short period of time and then became worse.


  • This law was part of the compromise of 1850.
  • It was a law that REQUIRED citizens to catch runaway slaves.
  • If a person did not comply, they cold be fined up to $1000 or put in jail for SIX months.
  • Judges received $10 if they returned a slave and $5 if they freed them.
  • MANY blacks who were free were captured and sent back into slavery.
  • Northerners HATED this law because it forced them to become a part of the system of slavery.


  • This was a NOVEL written by Harriett Beecher Stowe.
  • It was written to show the EVILS of slavery by telling the story of an older slave who was whipped to death by his owner.
  • After reading it, MANY Northerners began to change their view of slavery.
  • Southerners said the book was full of LIES!


  • Divides lands into Kansas and Nebraska territories.
  • Decided that SLAVERY issue would be decided by POPULAR SOVREIGNTY.
  • Led to violence in the Senate. Preston Brooks and Charles Sumner.
  • Pro-slavery and Anti-slavery settlers in ONE AREA and this leads to conflict!
  • Northerners believe this REPEALS the Missouri Compromise.
  • Bleeding Kansas – Gov.John Geary sends out 1,300 federal troops to stop violence
  • Democratic senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois sponsored this bill.


  • Because of the violence going on in Kansas, John Brown and four of his sons, decide to take the law into their own hands.
  • They ride into a small town named Pottawatomie Creek and pull five pro-slavery men out of their beds in the middle of the night.
  • The men are murdered. John Brown believes he is doing what “GOD has told him to do”.
  • Many Northerners, while they don’t believe in slavery, are appalled at what he did.


  • Dred Scott was a slave.
  • He had lived in a free territory with his owner.
  • His owner moved back into a slave state.
  • While there, the owner died.
  • Scott had ABOLITIONIST attorneys file a law suit for him.
  • It went to the Supreme Court but he LOST.
  • The Court ruled he was NOT a citizen but RATHER property and therefore he could not file a lawsuit.
  • Also, they ruled that Congress could NOT ban slavery in any of the territories.
  • This REPEALED the Missouri Compromise.
  • Southerners LOVED the ruling while Northerners HATED it. It meant slavery could spread into all the territories!


  • Lincoln and Douglas debated!
  • Douglass believed in deciding slavery by popular sovereignty.
  • Lincoln believed that slavery should NOT be allowed to spread into the territories.
  • Lincoln ALSO believed the Nation could not survive if the fighting continued to rip the Union apart with the slavery issue.


  • John Brown was at it again!
  • This time, he led five blacks and thirteen whites into Harper’s Ferry.
  • They planned to raid an arsenal and start a slave revolt.
  • Problem: No slaves “rose” to help.
  • A number of his men died and Brown was arrested by Robert E. Lee.
  • Brown was tried and found guilty of murder and treason. He was later hanged.
  • Some Northerners thought of him as a “Martyr” (someone who dies for his beliefs.)


  • Lincoln ran against Douglass in the Presidential Election of 1860.
  • The Southern states did not like Lincoln or what he believed in. They overwhelmingly supported Douglass yet Lincoln STILL got elected.
  • Southerners grew very angry. Said this showed it did not matter what their opinions were, the North had to much power!
  • Many Southerners talked of SECEDING from the Union.

The South Secedes

  • December 20, 1860 - South Carolina voted to succeed from the Union.
  • Senator John Crittenden(Kentucky) ties to extend the Missouri Compromise line to the West. (Fails)
  • February 1861 - Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.
  • February 4th, 1861 - Montgomery, Alabama the Confederate States of America is formed.
  • Jefferson Davis - Selected to a 6 year term as President of the United States. (State Rights)

Attack on Fort Sumter

  • The Confederate forces start to seize Federal Forts.
  • April 12, 1861 - The attack begins in Charleston Harbor at 4:30 A.M.
  • P.G.T. Beauregard leads the attack against Robert Anderson.
  • Anderson is forced to surrender the Fort. (Yankee Doodle) April 14th, 1861
  • Daniel Hough - Is the first man to die in the Civil War.
  • Union Flag is re-raised on April 14, 1865.

Lincoln Calls For Volunteers

  • After news of the attack and capture of Ft. Sumter Lincoln Calls for 75,000 volunteers.
  • Many people North and South rush out to volunteer for military service.
  • Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas vote to join the Confederacy.
  • The Civil War officially had begun.


  • A VOTE where the people decide on an issue. (I.E. – slavery)
  • An agreement reached between two sides where both sides have to “give up” something,.


  • A person who works to bring an end to or believes in NO slavery. Often they try and help slaves to freedom.
  • The belief that your part of the country is the BEST. You put your part of the country’s needs in front of what is best for the WHOLE nation.
  • /


  • A person who has gone against or broken the law and is on the loose.
  • SECEDE -
  • To remove or break away as the Southern states did from the Union.


  • A warehouse that stores guns and ammunition.
  • MARTYR –
  • A person who is willing to die for their beliefs. I.E. – John Brown

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