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Chapter 19: Drifting Toward Disunion

"A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free".
by

Edith Miguel

on 13 December 2012

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Transcript of Chapter 19: Drifting Toward Disunion

Chapter 19: Drifting Toward Disunion Objectives: 1. Enumerate the sequence of major crises, beginning with the Kansas-Nebraska Act, that led up to secession, and explain the significance of each event.

2. Explain how and why the territory of bleeding Kansas became the scene of a dress rehearsal for the Civil War.

3. Trace the growing power of the Republican party in the 1850s and the increasing domination of the Democratic party by its militantly proslavery wing.

4. Explain how the Dred Scott decision and John Brown’s Harpers Ferry raid deepened sectional antagonism.

5. Trace the rise of Lincoln as a Republican spokesman, and explain why his senatorial campaign debates with Stephen Douglas made him a major national figure despite losing the election.

6. Analyze the election of 1860, including the split in the Democratic party, the four-way campaign, the sharp sectional divisions, and Lincoln’s northern-based minority victory.

7. Describe the secession of seven southern states following Lincoln’s victory, the formation of the Confederacy, and the failure of the last compromise effort. Stowe and Helper: Literary Incendiaries
*In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe published Uncle Tom's Cabin, a popular book that awakened the passions of the North toward the evils of slavery.
millions of copies were sold and the British people were greatly pleased by it.
*Another book is "The Impending Crisis of the South, written by Hinton R. Helper, a non aristocratic white North Carolinian, tried to prove, by an array of statistics, that the non-slave holding Southern whites were really the ones most hurt by slavery.
was published in the North The North-South Contest for Kansas
Northerners began to pour into Kansas, and Southerners were outraged, since they had supported the Compromise of 1850 under the impression that Kansas would become a slave state
During the election day in 1855, mobs of southerners "border ruffians" from Missouri flooded the polls and elected Kansas to be a slave state
Kansans were confused on choosing between two governments the first one was illegal; free government in Topeka and the second one is fraudulent; slavery government in Shawnee.
In 1856,a group of pro-slavery raiders shot up and burn part of Lawrence, by this violence started. Kansas in Convulsion
John Brown- fanatical abolitionist who, in May of 1856 in response to the pro-slavery events in Lawrence, hacked to death 5 presumed pro-slavery men at Pottawatomie Creek.
Civil War flared up in Kansas in 1856
In 1857, Kansas had enough people to apply for statehood. Its citizens were going to vote again on whether or not to have slavery in the state of Kansas. In order to keep the free-soilers from creating a free state, the pro-slavery politicians created the Lecompton Constitution. If slavery was voted against, then one of the provisions in the constitution would protect those who already owned slaves in Kansas. Many free-soilers boycotted voting, so the pro-slavery voted, approving the constitution to include slavery.
James Buchanan, a democrat, succeeded Pierce as the President of the United States had a strong southern influence and approved of the Lecompton Constitution. "Bully" Brooks and His Bludegeon:
“Bleeding Kansas” was an issue that spilled into Congress: Senator Charles Sumner was a vocal anti-slavery, and his blistering speeches condemned all slavery supporters.
Congressman Preston S. Brooks decided that since Sumner was not a gentleman he could not challenge him to a duel, so Brooks beat Sumner with a cane until it broke; nearby, Senators did nothing but watched, and Brooks was cheered on by the South.
However, the incident touched off fireworks, as Sumner’s “The Crime Against Kansas” speech was reprinted by the thousands, and it put Brooks and the South in the wrong. "Old Buck" Versus "The Pathfinder"
James Buchanan was chosen by the democrats in Cincinnati as their presidential candidate to run in the election of 1856 because he wasn't influenced by the Kansas-Nebraska Act as Pierce and Douglas had been.
the opponent was Captain John C. Fremont chosen by the Republicans in Philadelphia because he was also not influenced by the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
The American Party, "Know-Nothing Party", was formed by Protestants who were alarmed by the increase of immigrants from Ireland and Germany.
They chose former president Millard Fillmore as their candidate for the election of 1856. The Electoral Fruits of 1856
Buchanan won the election of 1856 because there were doubts about Fremont’s honesty, capacity, and sound judgment.
Perhaps it was better that Buchanan won, since Fremont was not as strong as Lincoln, and in 1856, many people were still apathetic about slavery, and the South could have seceded more easily. The Dred Scott Bombshell:
On March 6, 1857, the Dred Scott decision was handed down by the Supreme Court.
Dred Scott was a slave whose master took him north into free states where he lived for many years.
The Court said a legislature/Congress cannot outlaw slavery, as that would go against the 5th Amendment saying a person’s property cannot be taken without due process of law. This was the bombshell statement.
The Court then concluded the Missouri Compromise had been unconstitutional all along
The case inflamed millions of abolitionists against slavery and even those who did not care much about it.
Northerners complained; Southerners were ecstatic about the decision but inflamed by northern defiance, and more tension built. The Financial Crash of 1857:
The panic of 1857 broke out due to California gold inflating the currency and over-speculation in land and railroads.
--The North was the hardest hit, while the South, with its cotton, continued to flourish.
The Tariff of 1857 lowered duties to about 20%. The North blamed it for causing the panic, because they felt they needed higher duties for more protection. This gave the Republicans two economic issues for the election of 1860: protection for the unprotected and farms for the farmless. An Illinois Rail-Splitter Emerges
In 1858, Senator Stephen Douglas’ term was about to expire, and against him was Republican Abraham Lincoln.
Abe was an ugly fellow who had risen up the political ladder slowly but was a good lawyer, had a down-home common sense about him, and a pretty decent debater. The Great Debate: Lincoln Versus Douglas
Lincoln challenged Douglas to a series of seven debates that were arranged from August to October 1858.
The most famous debate came at Freeport, Illinois. Lincoln asked Douglas, "What if the people of a territory should vote down slavery?" The Supreme Court in the Dred Scott decision had decreed that the people could not. Douglas's reply to him became known as the "Freeport Doctrine."
Douglas argued that no matter how the Supreme Court ruled, slavery would stay down if the people voted it down. Laws to protect slavery would have to be voted on by the territorial legislatures.
Douglas won the senatorial election, but Lincoln won the popular vote. John Brown: Murderer or Martyr?
John Brown now had a plan to invade the South, seize its arms, call upon the slaves to rise up and revolt, and take over the South and free it of slaves.
--in his raid of Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, the slaves didn’t revolt, and he was captured by the U.S. Marines under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Lee and convicted of treason, sentenced to death, and hanged.
Brown, though insane, was not stupid, and he portrayed himself as a martyr against slavery, and when he was hanged, he instantly became a martyr for abolitionists; northerners rallied around his memory. The Disruption of the Democrats
After failing to nominate a candidate in Charleston, South Carolina, the Democrats split into Northern and Southern factions, and at Baltimore, the Northern Democrats nominated Stephen Douglas for president while the Southern Democrats chose John C. Breckinridge.
Meanwhile, the “Know-Nothings” chose John Bell of Tennessee and called themselves the Constitutional Union party. They tried to mend fences and offered as their platform, simply, the Constitution. A Rail-Splitter Splits Union
The Republican Party met in Chicago and nominated Abraham Lincoln as their presidential candidate.
The Republican platform had an appeal to nearly every part of the nation. For the free-soilers, non-extension of slavery; for the northern manufacturers, a protective tariff; for the immigrants, no abridgment of rights; for the Northwest, a Pacific railroad; for the West, internal improvements at federal expense; and for the farmers, free plots of land from the public domain.
The Southerners said that if Abraham Lincoln was elected as President, the Union would split. The Electoral Upheavel of 1860
40% you got on the textof the popular vote, and had the Democratic Party been more organized and energetic, they might have won.
It was a very sectional race: the North went to Lincoln, the South to Breckinridge, the “middle-ground” to the middle-of-the-road candidate in Bell, and popular-sovereignty-land went to Douglas.
The Republicans did not control the House or the Senate, and the South still had a five-to-four majority in the Supreme Court, but the South still decided to secede. The Secessionist Exodus
South Carolina had threatened to secede if Lincoln was elected president, and now it went good on its word, seceding in December of 1860. •Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas (the Deep South) followed in the next six weeks, before Abe was inaugurated.
The seven secession states met in Montgomery, Alabama in February of 1861 and created the Confederate States of America, and they chose Jefferson Davis as president.

President Buchanan did nothing to force the confederacy back into the Union, partly because the Union troops were needed in the West and because the North was still apathetic toward secession; he simply left the issue for Lincoln to handle when he got sworn in. The Collapse of Compromise
In a last-minute attempt at compromise (again), James Henry Crittenden of Kentucky proposed the Crittenden Compromise, which would ban slavery north of the 36°30’ line extended to the Pacific and would leave the issue in territories south of the line up to the people; also, existing slavery south of the line would be protected.
Lincoln opposed the compromise, which might have worked, because his party had preached against the extension of slavery, and he had to stick to principle.
It also seems that Buchanan could not have saved the Union no matter what he would have done. Farewell to Union
The seceding states did so because they feared that their rights as a slaveholding minority were being threatened, and were alarmed at the growing power of the Republicans, plus, they believed that they would be unopposed despite what the Northerners claimed.
The South also hoped to develop its own banking and shipping, and to prosper.
Besides, in 1776, the 13 colonies had seceded from Britain and had won; now the South could do the same thing. Objective #1)
Enumerate the sequence of major crises, beginning with the Kansas-Nebraska Act, that led up to secession, and explain the significance of each event.
Uncle Tom's Cabin-written in 1852 by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Stowe was an abolitionist who wrote this book to show the evils of slavery. had a huge impact on the way that northerners viewed slavery. It helped further the cause of abolition and even Abraham Lincoln recognized that this bok was one of the events that led to the outbreak of the Civil War.
Bleeding Kansas shocked Northerner Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed in 1854 allowing the Kansas and Nebraska territories to decide for themselves using popular sovereignty whether they wanted to be free or slave. By 1856, Kansas had become a hotbed of violence as pro- and anti-slavery forces fought over the state's future. The widely reported violent events were a small taste of the violence to come with the Civil War.
Charles Sumner is Attacked by Preston on the Floor of the Senate -One of the most publicized events in Bleeding Kansas was when on May 21, 1856 Border Ruffians ransacked Lawrence, Kansas which was known to be a staunch free-state area. One day later, violence occurred on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Pro-slavery Congressman Preston Brooks attacked Charles Sumner with a cane after Sumner had given a speech attacking the pro-slavery forces for the violence occurring in Kansas.
Dred Scott Decision- in 1857 lost his case proving that he should be free because he had been held as a slave while living in a free state. The Court ruled that his petition could not be seen because he did not hold any property. But it went further, to state that even though he had been taken by his 'owner' into a free state, he was still a slave because slaves were to be considered property of their owners. This decision furthered the cause of abolitionists as they increased their efforts to fight against slavery.
Lecompton Constitution Rejected- When the Kansas-Nebraska Act passed, Kansas was allowed to determine whether it would enter the union as free or slave. Numerous constitutions were advanced by the territory to make this decision. In 1857, the Lecompton Constitution was created allowing for Kansas to be a slave state. Pro-slavery forces supported by President James Buchanan attempted to push the Constitution through the US Congress for acceptance. However, there was enough opposition that in 1858 it was sent back to Kansas for a vote. Even though it delayed statehood, Kansas voters rejected the Constitution and Kansas became a free state.
John Brown Raided Harper's Ferry -a radical abolitionist who had been involved in anti-slavery violence in Kansas. On October 16, 1859, he led a group of seventeen including five black members to raid the arsenal located in Harper's Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia). His goal was to start a slave uprising using the captured weapons. However, after capturing several buildings, Brown and his men were surrounded and eventually killed or captured by troops led by Colonel Robert E. Lee. Brown was tried and hanged for treason. This event was one more in the growing abolitionist movement that helped lead to open warfare in 1861. Objective #2
Explain how and why the territory of bleeding Kansas became the scene of a dress rehearsal for the Civil War
All of the northerners that came into Kansas were just ordinary westward-moving pioneers, some of them were northern abolitionists or free-soilers. The territory was to be run on the basis of popular sovereignty, as stated in the Compromise of 1850. Southerners that came into the territory, however, were more than ordinarily touchy to the northern abolitionists. They had supported the Kansas-Nebraska scheme of Stephen Douglas with the unspoken understanding that Kansas would become a slave state with Nebraska becoming free. Southerners now felt that the “nebrascals” were now apparently out to abolitionize both Kansas and Nebraska. In 1855 to elect the members for the first territorial legislature, proslavery “border ruffians” poured in from Missouri to vote early and often. The slavery supporters triumphed and set up their own government at Shawnee Mission; free-soilers, unable to stomach the fraudulent conspiracy, established an extralegal regime of their own in Topeka. The confused Kansans thus had their choice between two governments, one based on fraud, the other on illegality. Tension mounted as settlers feuded over conflicting land claims. The breaking point came in 1856 when a gang of proslavery raiders, allegedly provocation, shot up and burned part of the free-soil town of Lawrence. Objective #4
Explain how the Dred Scott decision and John Brown’s Harpers Ferry raid deepened sectional antagonism.
In the Dred Scott decision, in which Taney stated that he would have no slave become a citizen in the US under his justification. This statement infuriated millions of abolitionists against slavery; it even aroused those that really hadn’t cared about the issue before the case. Northern abolitionists were angered, which they were fully within their right to be, but their anger inflamed the South. Tension built up even more because of this incident. John Brown, though insane, tried to invade the South and in effect, take over the South. His plan for Harper’s Ferry in Virginia was to seize its arms and call upon all the slaves to revolt. Unfortunately for him, none of the slaves revolted with him, and he was captured hastily, and sentenced to death. Brown was hung, and he instantly became a martyr for abolitionists, with northerners rallying around his memory; abolitionists were infuriated by his execution. Many southerners soon asked how they could possibly remain in the Union while a “murderous gang of abolitionists” were trying to take over the South and expel the southern ways. Objective #5
Trace the rise of Lincoln as a Republican spokesman, and explain why his senatorial campaign debates with Stephen Douglas made him a major national figure despite losing the election.
To his election as president in 1860, he had successful careers as a lawyer and politician in Illinois, serving several terms in the state legislature and one in the U.S. House of Representatives. He also holds the distinction of being the only U.S. president to receive a patent; in 1849, he designed a system for lifting riverboats off sandbars. In 1858, he engaged in a legendary series of debates across Illinois with the author of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Sen. Stephen Douglas. The five-foot, four-inch Douglas—"the Little Giant"—and the lanky, six-foot-four Lincoln faced off over the issue of expanding slavery beyond the states where it currently existed. Lincoln carefully made a distinction between slavery where it existed and its expansion into new territories and states. The debates grew national attention, and Lincoln was invited to speak in other states. The national attention he received resulted in the Republican Party making him its presidential candidate in the 1860 election. On the divisive matter of slavery, the Republican platform supported prohibiting slavery in the territories but opposed interfering with it in the states where it already existed. Objective #3
Trace the growing power of the Republican party in the 1850s and the increasing domination of the Democratic party by its militantly proslavery wing.
The Republicans lost the 1856 election in part because southern threats that a Republican victory would be a declaration of war. As late as 1856, many northerners were still willing to vote Democratic instead of Republican because many did not want to lose their profitable business connections with the South. Objective #6
Analyze the election of 1860, including the split in the Democratic party, the four-way campaign, the sharp sectional divisions, and Lincoln’s northern-based minority victory.
The antislavery Free Soil party pushed the issue into the election of 1848. The application of gold-rich California for admission to the Union forced the controversy into the Senate, which engaged in stormy debates over slavery and the Union. The 1856 election signaled the rise of the sectionally based RepublicanParty. The Dred Scott case delighted the South, while northern Republicans pledged defiance. The Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 deepened the national controversy over slavery. John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry made him a heroic martyr in the North, a terrorist in the South, and led outraged southerners to fear a slave uprising. In the 1860 presidential contest, the Democratic Party split along sectional lines, allowing Lincoln to win the four-way election. His election spurred the Seven southern states quickly seceded and organized the Confederate States of America. As southerners optimistically cast off their ties to the hated North, lame-duck President Buchanan proved unable to act. The last-minute Crittenden Compromise effort failed because of Lincoln's opposition. Objective #7)
7. Describe the secession of seven southern states following Lincoln’s victory, the formation of the Confederacy, and the failure of the last compromise effort.
South Carolina was truly the catalyst for the formation of the Confederacy. They had threatened to go out if the “sectional” Lincoln came in, and was as good as its word. Four days after the election of Lincoln, its legislature voted unanimously to call a special convention. Over the next six weeks, six more states of the lower South, though somewhat less united, followed the leader over the precipice: Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas all seceded. Unfortunately for President Buchanan, he could not find anywhere within the Constitution the authority to stop the secession of the seven states with sheer force. The seven states that were to soon secede met formally in Birmingham, Alabama. They created a government known as the Confederate States of American. Their president was to be Jefferson Davis, a man of wide military and administrative experience. President Buchanan unfortunately could not find the authority in the Constitution to stop the seven states. One important reason that Buchanan did not draw military force was that his small standing army was being used to control the Indians in the West. Ironically, when Lincoln came to the presidency he essentially continued Buchanan’s wait-and-see policy. The last ditch effort at compromise was made by James Crittenden, who proposed the Crittenden Amendments. This bill would ban slavery above the 36°30’ line and would leave the issue in territories below the line up to the people (popular sovereignty). Also, the existing slavery line would be protected. Lincoln opposed the compromise, even though it might have worked, because his party had preached against the extension of slavery, and he had to stick to the principle.
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