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Chapter 15 The Nation Breaking Apart 1846-1861. Section 1 - Growing Tensions Between North and South Find Out: How the abolitionist movement heightened tensions between the North and South The controversies over slavery in the territories

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chapter 15 the nation breaking apart 1846 1861
Chapter 15

The Nation Breaking Apart


Section 1 - Growing Tensions Between North and South

Find Out:

  • How the abolitionist movement heightened tensions between the North and South
  • The controversies over slavery in the territories
  • How the Wilmot Proviso and potential statehood for California deepened regional divisions
  • Analyze the Compromise of 1850
the divisive politics of slavery
  • Over the centuries, the Northern and Southern sections of the United States had developed into two very different cultural and economic regions
  • There were also differences in geography and climate, as well as religious differences
the south before the war
  • Rural plantation economy
  • Relied on slave labor
  • “Peculiar Institution” created tension
  • Southerners feared that the loss of slavery would mean loss of culture

James Hopkinson's Plantation. Planting sweet potatoes.

Library of Congress

the north before the war
  • The North had a more diverse economy
  • Industry flourished
  • Openly opposed slavery in the South and the new territories
  • More urbanized than South


Antislavery and racism
  • Antislavery movement gained strength in North since 1830’s
  • Abolitionists felt slavery was unjust and should immediately be abolished (North)
  • Northern workers and immigrants feared slavery as an economic threat (WHY?)
  • Most Northerners were racist even if they opposed slavery (How?)
  • Southerners said slavery helped slaves


slavery in the territories
  • The issue of whether slavery in California and the West would be legal led to heated debates in Congress
  • Gold rush led to application for statehood for California

David Wilmot was a representative from the state of Pennsylvania. He proposed that slavery should not be allowed in any territory won in the War with Mexico. Angry slaveholders protested that the government had no right to tell them what to do with their own property since slaves were considered property. The measure passed the House but failed in the Senate. – Library of Congress Prints and Photographs

The Wilmot Proviso

The Wilmot Proviso
  • Proposed by Penn. Rep. David Wilmot
  • Most disagreements settled with Compromise of 1820
  • New land won from Mexico caused tension over spread of slavery for many Northerners
  • Wilmot proposed to outlaw the spread of slavery in any territory won from War with Mexico
  • Southerners argued that slaves were property
the wilmot proviso cont
The Wilmot Proviso cont.
  • Slave holders said the gov’t couldn’t prevent them from taking property anywhere they wanted
  • Said Wilmot Proviso would be unconstitutional
  • Divided Congress along regional lines
  • Passed in House of Reps but not in Senate
  • (Wilmot’s Proviso) Led to creation of Free Soil Party to stop expansion of slavery
  • Made slavery a national issue
Controversy over Territories
  • 1848 Nation debates what to do with land won from Mexico
  • Addition of new states threatened balance of power between Northern and Southern states
  • Gold discovered in California would soon cause it to apply for statehood as its population grew
  • Most in California wanted to be a free state and applied in 1850
  • Balance of power between slave and free states would be upset
compromise of 1850
  • Southerners threatened secession over issue
  • Henry Clay again worked a Compromise
  • For the North: California would be admitted as free state
  • For the South: A more effective fugitive slave law
  • Residents of New Mexico & Utah would vote themselves


The United States Senate, A.D. 1850 – Library of Congress Prints and Photographs

Compromise of 1850
  • Proposed by Henry Clay (The Great Compromiser)
  • California admitted as a free state
  • Slave trade ended in Washington, D.C.
  • Congress would pass no laws regarding slavery for the rest of the territories won from Mexico
  • Stronger fugitive slave laws passed

Henry Clay, known as the Great Compromiser for coming up with the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Years and years in the Senate can surely age a man!

Henry Clay – Library of Congress

Prints and Photographs

Compromise of 1850 cont.
  • Northerners now feel they are part of slavery because of fugitive slave law
  • Daniel Webster supports measure for good of country
  • Bill pushed through by Stephen Douglas of Illinois
  • Many felt the Union was saved

Daniel Webster

supported the

Compromise of

1850 for the good

of the country.

Stephen Douglas

helped his friend

Henry Clay by

pushing the bill

through Congress.

Notes and images from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs

underground railroad
  • Escape from slavery was dangerous and meant traveling on foot at night
  • As time went on, African Americans and white abolitionists developed a secret network of people who would hide fugitive slaves
  • ”Conductors” would hide runaways in tunnels and even cupboards
harriet tubman
  • One of the most famous conductors was Harriet Tubman
  • Tubman escaped slavery and vowed to help others do the same
  • She made 19 trips back to South and freed over 300 slaves (Including her own parents)



Comparing and Contrasting Use the chart below to take notes on the differences between the North and the South

Section 2 - The Crisis Deepens

Find Out:

  • How the Fugitive Slave Act and Uncle Tom’s Cabin affected Northerners
  • The concept of popular sovereignty
  • The violence in “Bleeding Kansas”
  • The attack on Senator Sumner in the Senate
fugitive slave act
  • Under the law, runaway slaves were not entitled to a trial by jury
  • Anyone helping a slave escape was jailed for 6 months and fined $1,000
  • Northerners were upset by the harshness of the new law and often helped hide fugitive slaves

Effects of the Fugitive Slave Law – Library of Congress Prints and Photographs

The Fugitive Slave Act
  • Federal Commissioner ruled on each case
  • Received $5 for releasing defendant
  • Received $10 to return to slaveholder

What do you think happened?

The Fugitive Slave Act cont.
  • Southerners felt FSA was justified because

slaves were considered property

  • Northerners resented law because it made them part of the slavery system by requiring them to capture runaway slaves
  • It placed fines on people who wouldn’t cooperate and jail terms on those who helped slaves escape
  • Northerners faced a moral choice

a. Obey law and support slavery

b. Disobey law and oppose slavery

Question: How could a northerner break the law under the Fugitive Slave Act?

uncle tom s cabin

In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe published her influential novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin

The book stressed the moralevil ofslavery

Southerners protested that it did not portray slavery accurately

Abolitionist protests increased

Instant best seller sold 500,000 by 1857

Eliza Pursued by Bloodhounds

from the Library of Congress Prints

and Photographs

tension builds in kansas

After Stephen Douglas worked to pass the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, Kansas would vote to decide on whether slavery would be legal or outlawed

This contradicted the 36° 30” of the Missouri Compromise


The Kansas-Nebraska Act
  • Proposed by Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois to divide up Nebraska Territory into Kansas and Nebraska
  • Let people decide through popular sovereignty whether or not to allow slavery (Why did he do this?)
  • Would end Missouri Compromise
  • Turned Kansas into a bloody battleground
bleeding kansas
  • The race for Kansas was on. . .both supporters and opponents attempted to populate Kansas to win the vote over slavery
  • As the election neared, a group of pro-slavery “border ruffians” from Missouri attempted to cross into Kansas
  • Violence erupted – Bleeding Kansas is the legacy

Finally, after years of fighting, Kansas is admitted as a free state in 1861

More Bleeding Kansas
  • Election for government held in 1855
  • More proslavery than antislavery
  • 5000 proslavery Missourian’s voted illegally to swing vote for proslavery
  • Proslavery government won
  • Antislavery forces elected own government
  • Both sides armed themselves
  • “Sack of Lawrence” in May of 1855

Ruins of the Free-State Hotel in Lawrence in 1856 as sketched in Sara T. D. Robinson's book, Kansas; Its Interior and Exterior Life. The hotel was destroyed by Proslavery men led by Sheriff Samuel J. Jones, who were acting without authorization. Both the New England Emigrant Aid Company and its assignee, the University of Kansas, several times tried unsuccessfully to collect damages from the federal government.

Violence in Congress
  • Charles Sumner from Massachusetts delivered a speech in the Senate attacking proslavery forces in Kansas
  • Insulted Sen. A.P. Butler of S.C.
  • Preston Brooks, Butler’s nephew, attacked Sumner on the Senate floor with his cane, hitting him about 30 times and breaking the cane

Charles Sumner of Massachusetts delivered a blistering speech in the Senate attacking the spread of slavery into Kansas. In his speech he attacked fellow Senators Douglas of Illinois and Butler of South Carolina. It took Sumner three years to regain his health enough to return to the Senate.

Hon. Charles Sumner - the great senator and statesman, the champion of civil and political equality - born January 6th 1811, died March 11th 1874 from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs

Preston Brooks was the nephew of A.P. Butler who was singled out by Sumner in his speech. Brooks was never charged with a crime but resigned his seat in the House after surviving a censure vote. He was soon reelected to fill his own vacancy.

John Brown
  • Avenged the Sack of Lawrence
  • With 7 other men he murdered 5 proslavery neighbors while they slept in their beds
  • Known as the Pottawatomie Massacre after creek where victims bodies were found
  • Civil war broke out in Kansas for 3 more years

John Brown believed that God commanded him to rid slavery from the United States. After leading raids in Kansas with 5 of his sons, he moved to Virginia to plan an attack that would free all the slaves. Brown was wounded and captured and later hanged for treason on December 2, 1859 for his role in trying to capture the American fort at Harpers Ferry - from

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs.

John Brown, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing slightly right


Recognizing Effects Take notes on the Compromise of 1850.


California is admitted as

a free state which

changed the balance

between the number of slave and free states


The Fugitive Slave Act

brought the issue of slavery to Northerners. They resented being involved in the slavery issue.


of 1850


Residents in western

territories will decide by vote

whether to allow slavery or not


B. Evaluating Use the chart below to evaluate the role of these people and ideas in raising tensions over the issue of slavery in the1850’s.

Section 3 - Slavery Dominates


Find Out:

  • Why the Republican Party was formed
  • The effects of the Dred Scott case
  • The Lincoln-Douglas Debates
  • The impact of John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry
new political parties emerge
  • The political landscape by 1856 was very different than it had been just a few years earlier
  • Gone was the Whig Party
  • The Democrats were still alive but faced increasing challenge from new parties
  • An alternative was the Know-Nothing Party

Know-Nothing members answered questions by saying, “I know Nothing”

the free soilers

Another party that emerged in the mid-19th century was the Free-Soilers

They were northerners who opposed slavery in the territories

Free-Soilers objections to slavery were based on economics not moral objection to slavery

They believed slavery drove down wages for white workers


republicans emerge as leading party
  • In 1854, opponents of slavery in the territories formed a new political party, the Republican Party
  • As the party grew it took on Free-Soilers, some anti-slavery Democrats and Whigs, and Know-Nothings

Republicans won all but 3 presidential elections from 1860-1932


"A Paradox“ from the

Library of Congress

The Republicans and

Democrats fight over

the foreign vote

The Republican Party Forms
  • Grew from split in the Whig Party over the Kansas-Nebraska Act
  • Southern whigs were destroyed
  • Northern whigs joined with other opponents of slavery and formed the Republican Party
  • Ran John C. Frémont for President in 1856


Campaign poster from 1856 election

from Library of Congress Prints and


Song for the people from

the Library of Congress

The Election of 1856
  • Democrats nominate James Buchanan from Pennsylvania
  • Buchanan was minister to Great Britain and out of the country since 1853
  • Said little about slavery and claimed his goal was to maintain the Union
  • Frémont ran in the North for the Republicans-not on Southern ballot
  • Former President Millard Fillmore ran in South
  • Buchanan won but Frèmont won 11 states for Republicans
the dred scott decision
  • A major Supreme Court decision occurred when slave Dred Scott was taken by his owner to free states Illinois & Wisconsin
  • Scott argued that that made him a free man
  • Finally in 1857, the Supreme Court (Chief Justice Taney) ruled against Dred Scott citing the Constitution’s protection of property
  • The decision increased tensions over slavery
  • Northerners are angry because it made slavery legal everywhere in US

DRED SCOTT LOST HIS CHANCE AT FREEDOM – From Library of Congress Prints and Photographs


Dred Scott and his wife sued for their

freedom because they had lived for

9 years in free territory. The decision had

more to do with property rights than

whether they deserved their freedom.

From Library of Congress Prints

and Photographs

lincoln douglas debates
  • The 1858 race for U.S. Senate in Illinois was hotly contested between Republican Lincoln and Democratic Douglas
  • One of the most celebrated debates in history ensued as the topic was slavery in the territories
  • Douglas favored popular sovereignty while Lincoln wanted a Constitutional Amendment
  • Made Lincoln a national figure

Lincoln Douglas debate Du Page County Centennial, August 27th

From the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs

harpers ferry

While politicians debated the slavery issue, John Brown plotted a major slave revolt

On October 16, 1859, he led a band of 21 men, black and white, into Harpers Ferry, Virginia

He hoped to seize a large federal arsenal, but troops put down the rebellion

Brown was tried and executed



John Brown Attacks Harpers Ferry
  • Wanted to arm slaves to revolt for their freedom
  • Planned to capture weapons at the U.S. arsenal at Harpers Ferry, VA
  • Oct. 16, 1859, Brown and his followers captured the arsenal, killing 4 people
  • Brown sent out word to arm the slaves but none came
  • Marines attacked the fort and captured Brown 6 of his followers
  • Brown was hung for treason

A. Analyzing Points of ViewUse the chart below to take notes on people’s views of the topics listed.


B. Finding Main IdeasUse the chart below to note something important you learned about each of the


Section 4 - Lincoln’s Election and Southern Secession

Find Out:

  • Why the Democratic Party split in the election of 1860
  • The issues in the election of 1860
  • The secession of the Southern states from the Union
  • The Union’s response to secession
Political Parties Splinter
  • Democrats held convention to nominate candidate for President in Charleston, S.C. in April of 1860
  • No. and So. Democrats disagreed on issue of slavery in their platform-popular sovereignty (How?)
  • Northern Democrats won out causing 50 Southern delegates to walk out
  • Northern Democrats tried to nominate Stephen Douglas of Illinois
  • He couldn’t win enough votes
political parties splinter cont
Political Parties Splinter cont.
  • Democrats gave up and decided to meet in

Baltimore in June of 1860

  • Couldn’t agree on candidate and Northern

Democrats nominated Douglas

  • Southern Democrats nominated John

Breckinridge of Kentucky (current VP)

and supporter of slavery

  • Republicans had already nominated Lincoln
  • John Bell ran for Constitutional Union Party

which formed to preserve Union

1860 presidential election
  • Republicans nominated Abe Lincoln while the Democrats split
  • Lincoln won the 1860 election with less than half the popular vote and no Southern electoral votes
  • The Southern states were not happy

Washington, D.C. Negro boys admiring the Lincoln Memorial –from Library of Congress .

southern secession
  • Lincoln’s victory in 1860 election convinced Southerners that they had to act quickly
  • South Carolina led the way, seceding from the union in December of 1860
  • Mississippi was next, then Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, & Texas
  • Southern delegates met in February, 1861 and formed the Confederate States of America with Jefferson Davis as President
  • Southern states had now

dissolved their ties with the USA

Secession Exploded from Library of Congress

Prints and Photographs.

Efforts to Compromise Fail
  • Some want compromise
  • John J. Crittenden proposed a compromise to extend the Missouri Compromise Line to the Pacific Ocean
  • Never passed Congress
  • Lincoln took oath of office on March 4,1861
  • Told South he had no intention of abolishing slavery
  • Lincoln did not press the South

B. Analyzing Points of ViewUse the chart below to take notes on the views of each group regarding