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The American Civil War 1861-1865 Part I The Prelude to War. Is presented to you by Kathleen M. Price in association with Bishop Hafey Jr/Sr High School.

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The American Civil War 1861-1865 Part I The Prelude to War

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The American Civil War


Part I The Prelude to War

Is presented to you


Kathleen M. Price

in association with

Bishop Hafey Jr/Sr High School

“You might as well try to put out the burning flames of a house with a squirt gun, I think it is to be a long war, a very longer war than any politician thinks.”

William T. Sherman

Background and Causes

  • Economic issues

  • Political issues

  • Social/moral issues

The North

Industrial region

Favored tariff on imported goods

The South

Agricultural region

Imported goods from Europe therefore not in favor of tariffs


Political Problems:

  • The South favored State’s rights - loyalty to state before country

  • South losing political power to Northern and Midwestern states – larger populations

  • Therefore, the South was losing a balanced Senate- less amount of slave states.

  • And finally, a President from the North and against slavery

Social and Moral Issues

  • Slavery – concerned over property ownership by South. The constitution guaranteed the right to own property and protected against seizure of property

  • Slavery – a person owning another person is wrong in the eyes of many Northern citizens.

Background Events

  • Missouri Compromise

  • Compromise of 1850

  • Kansas-Nebraska Act

  • Dred Scott Decision

  • John Brown’s Raid

  • Election of Abraham Lincoln

Missouri Compromise (1820)

  • Country had 11 slave and 11 free states

  • Missouri requests statehood.

  • This would unbalance the Senate

  • Henry Clay’s plan was to admit Missouri as a slave state and admit Maine as a free state

  • Line was drawn across US, south of the line would be slave except for Missouri, and north of the line would be free.

  • Agreed by both sides

Compromise of 1850

  • Dealt with question of slavery in West

  • At time, 15 slave/15 free states in U.S.

  • Idea of Henry Clay & Daniel Webster

  • California as a free state

  • New Mexico and Utah territories citizens would vote on free or slave -- “popular sovereignty”

  • Strict Fugitive slave laws put in effect

Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854)

  • Devised by Stephen Douglas

  • Nebraska was a large territory, so divide into 2 territories (Nebraska and Kansas) making the “popular sovereignty” to be slave or free

  • South was in favor of Act because slave owners from Missouri could move their to vote for slavery

  • North was angry because Nebraska was always a free territory and knew South wanted slavery to move northward

  • Kansas territory became known as “Bleeding Kansas” as violence erupted as both sides tried to establish control of the government of Kansas

Dred Scott Decision (1857)

  • Scott was a slave whose owner moved into a free state. When the owner died, Scott argued that he should be a free man.

  • Went to Supreme Court: the Court ruled that since Scott is a slave, he was not considered a citizen - -slaves were property.

  • Court also ruled that Congress could not outlaw slavery in a territory therefore the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional.

John Brown’s Raid (1859)

  • John Brown & followers raided a federal arsenal (gun warehouse) at Harper Ferry, Virginia. They planned to give the guns to slaves in area to start a slave revolt.

  • Brown was eventually captured and at his trial was found guilty of treason. Brown was sentenced to death by hanging.

  • Brown became a hero to many northern abolitionists. Southerners felt even more threatened.

Election of Abe Lincoln(1860)

Lincoln defeated 3 opponents:

  • Stephen A Douglas ( Northern Democrat)

  • John C. Breckinridge (Southern Democrat)

  • John C. Bell (Constitutional Union Party)

    Lincoln’s victory was the signal for the South’s secession and eventually war.



Civil war


Slave codes


Underground Railroad




Martial law





Vocabulary Terms to Know

Northern States outnumber Southern StatesThe number of senators from slave and free states were no longer even and with the election of Abraham Lincoln, the South felt he would not be sympathetic to their way of life and would not treat them fairly. This caused the South to secede.


Graphics used this presentation can be located at the following sites:

The American Civil War


Part II: The Battles and Generals

Political Leaders

North (Union) South (Confederate)

Abraham LincolnJefferson Davis

Andrew JohnsonAlexander Stephens

Military Leaders

The Confederacy The Union


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