A Divided Nation

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by BrookeValenzuela
Last updated 7 years ago

Social Studies
African-American History

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A Divided Nation

A Divided Nation

The United States became a divided nation. This means the the nation was no longer together and that they were going through a period of conflict among states. The United States divided due to the ongoing arguments over slavery between the north and the south.

The Kansas Nebraska Act In 1854, Douglas introduced the Kansas Nebraska Act. This act would divided the left over land from the Lousiana Purchase, and it would make it into two more territories, Kansas and Nebraska. This act also eliminated the restrictions of the Missouri Compromise on slavery. Many northerners were angered and they attended protest meetings and they sent petitions to Congress. Kansas was divided by the two opposing sides on slavery.

Dred Scott Decision In 1846, a slave named Dred Scott sued for his freedom. Eleven years later his case was brought up in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1857. The court ruled that African Americans were not citizens so Scott had no right to sue, and since slaves were considered property slaves could be brought into federal property. The court also ruled that since Scott returned to Missouri, he was not free. Southerners were happy at the ruling, because the court ruled in their favor. Northerners, however, were angry because Congress did not stop the spread of slavery in federal territories.

The Election of 1860 Northern and southern democrats could not decide on a candidate. Many other groups made their own candidates, such as John Bell. However, Lincoln appealed to more people. Lincoln won 180 out of 183 electoral votes in the free states. Lincoln became the next president in 1860. Many southerners were angry, because he did not compaign in south states and yet he still became president. Also the south thought they were beginning to lose their national political power.

Raid on Harper's Ferry On October 16, 1859, John Brown led a small amry in hope to start a slave rebellion to attack Haper's Ferry. That night 8 of Brown's men were killed and 3 local people were killed, so Brown and the rest of his men retreated to a firehouse. The next day in a short period of time a squad of marines killed two more of Brown's men and then captured the rest of Brown's army. Brown was taken to court and convicted of treason, murder, and conspiracy. Brown was ordered to be hanged and some of his men recieved death sentences as well. Many southeners felt threatened by John Brown's attack. They felt that the sooner they get out of the Union the better.

The South Secedes After a week since Lincoln was elected, the South's delegates considered secession. Lincoln said that slavery would not spread and it would die out, and this angered many southerners. The South believed that everything they worked for would be ruined without slavery. The south believed that they had the right to secede because they voluntarily joined the Union which means they should be able to leave voluntarily. South Carolina was the first state to secede. Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Lousiana, and Florida also seceded and they formed the Confederaet States of America. When the states secede, many people wondered who owned the federal property and conflict arose.


"In my opinion, it [diagreement over slavery] will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved- I do not expect the house to fall- but I do expect it will cease to be divided." -Abraham Lincoln



Compromise of 1850 The Compromise of 1850 allowed California to join as a free state. It also allowed for the rest of the Mexican Cession to be divided into two new territories, Utah and New Mexico. The compromise also set a new fugitive slave law, and it banned the slave trade. Many northerners were enraged by the new fugitive slave act the compromise made. They thought it was unfair how a slave could be taken back to their slave owner when they were in the free states and how people who helped slaves were punished.


"If I am dying for freedom, I could not die for a better cause. -John A. Copeland


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