A Divided Nation

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by BrookeValenzuela
Last updated 6 years ago

Social Studies
African-American History

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A Divided Nation

The Dred Scott Decision was about a slave, Dred Scott, who sued his slaveholder because he argued that once he was on free land he was considered free. However, the Supreme Court's ruling said otherwise. The judge first said that all African Americans were not US citizens under the Constitution. Next, he said that the fact that Scott was free for being on free land was not true, and finally, he said that the Missouri Compromise restriction on slavery beyond the 36°30' line to be unconstitutional.

A Divided Nation

Around 1860, the United States started expanding West. The issue on whether or not slavery should be allowed in these new territories caused a huge disagreement among the Northern and Southern parts of the Union. The Northerners were completely against slavery, whereas Southerners were completely for slavery.

In 1854, Stephen Douglass introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Act. This was a plan that divided the rest of the Louisianna Purchase into two territories (kansas and Nebraska) and allowed people there to decide on slavery.

The compromise of 1850 was made to settle the disputes between the free and slave states. In this compromise, it stated that California could enter the Union as a free state, the Mexican Cession was divided into two territories (Utah and New Mexico), and those places were where the question on allowing slavery or not would be decided by the people.

Compromise of 1850

John Brown had the idea of starting an uprising. He wanted to do this by seizing Virginia's weapons, killing southerners in the way, and arming local slaves. Finally, in 1859, John's Brown rebellion began. However, white southerners had killed 8 of his members, and later on, 2 more members were killed and the other ten, including Brown, were captured.

In this election, everyone chose someone different. Northern democrats chose Stephen Douglas, Southern democrats chose John. C. Beckinridge, and the Constitutional Union Party chose John Bell, and a unified Republican Party voted for Lincoln. Because of them, Lincoln won the election with 180 out of the 183 electoral votes in the free states.

Kansas-Nebraska Act

Dred Scott Decision

Raid on Harper's Ferry

Election of 1860

President Lincoln said that slavery could not expand and would eventually die out. This angered many southerners. South Carolina's delegates considered secession. (withdrawing from the Union) They said that they could leave the same way they joined, by holding special conventions. Along South Carolina, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana also seceded, forming the Confederate States of America. After this, however, Lincoln tried to convince the seceded states that they would not provoke war, and that, given time, the southern states would return to the Union.

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This is a quote from President Lincoln who disagreed with the southern states being allowed to secede. "No state, upon its own mere motion, can lawfully get out of the Union... they can only do so against [the] law, and by revolution."

The South Secedes


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