After President Thomas Jefferson acquired the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the United States expanded to twice its size. This purchase was gave so the United States could control the vast lands west of the Mississippi. As Americans pushed west, the issue of slavery came to the forefront. Would the new territories of the Untied States have slaves or be free.
The first confrontation over slavery in the West occurred in 1819. Missouri applied for admission to the Union as a state with slaves. The admission of Missouri would upset the balance of power in the Senate where at the time there were 11 free states and 11 slave states. Senator Henry Clay proposed a compromise. In 1820, he suggested that Missouri enter as a slave state and Maine as a free state to keep the balance of power. Congress also drew an imaginary line across the Louisiana Purchase at 36 degrees 30 minutes north of latitude. North of the line would be free states (with the exception of Missouri), and south of line would be slave states.
Compromise of 1850
In 1850, California applied for admission as a free state. Once again, the balance of power in the Senate was threatened. The South did not want to give the North a majority in the Senate. They also feared that more free states would be carved from the Mexican cession. Once again, Clay, the "Great Compromiser," pleaded for compromise. John C. Calhoun, a senator of South Carolina stated the South would not compromise. He demanded that slavery be allowed in the western territories and that there be a though fugitive-state law. Daniel Webster of Maine offered a solution to keep the Union together. The Compromise of 1850 had four parts: 1) California entered as a free state. 2) The rest of the Mexican cession was was divided into New Mexico and Utah. In each state voters would decide the issue of slavery. 3) Slave trade was ended in Washington D.C. 4) A strict new fugitive- slave law was passed.
Fugitive Slave Law
The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 was talked about alot. It required that all citizens were forced to return runaway slaves. People who helped the slaves escape would be jailed and fined. The law enraged the Northerners because it made them fell like a part of the slave system. Persons involved with the Underground Railroad worked to subvert the law.
Uncle Tom's Cabin
In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote the book Uncle Tom's Cabin. This book told the story of Uncle Tom, an enslaved African American, and his cruel master, Simon Legree. In the book, Stowe wrote of the evils and cruelty of slavery. While it is argued over whether the book was a true portrayal of slavery, the book still had enormous influence. The book sold more than 300,000 copies, was published in many different languages, and was made into a play. It also helped change the way many Northerners felt about slavery. Slavery was not now a political problem but now it was a mortal problem.
Election of 1860
In the mid- 1850s, people who thought slavery was wrong was looking for a new voice. Free Soilers, Northern Democrats, and anti- slavery Whigs formed the Republican Party. Their main goal was to keep slavery out of the western territories, not to end slavery in the South. The Party grew and was ready in 1856 to challenge the older parties in power. They were not successful in 1856. In 1860, the Republicans ran Abraham Lincoln from Illinois. Lincoln was known to appose slavery on the basis of it being morally wrong. However, Lincoln was not willing to end slavery on the risk of it tearing the union apart.
Beginning of the Civil War
After Lincoln took oath of office in 1861, he announced that no state can lawfully leave the Union. He declared, however, there would be no war unless the South had started it. The South started to take possession of all the Federal buildings- forts and post offices. The South took control of the three forts in Florida and was ready to take control of Fort Sumter in South Carolina. In April, 1861, the Confederates asked for the fort's Robert Anderson of the Union refused to surrender. The Confederate troops proceeded to shell Fort Sumter. Anderson ran out of ammunition and was forced to surrender. The war had begun.
The Civil War
the War went ongoing for the next five years, Lincoln switched generals 15 or 20 times no one knows if this might have been part of his strategy. One of the key wins for the Union army was in Gettysburg Pennsylvania. The Union army went on to win against the Confederates in many battles. The Union army had won the war. On April 14 1865. Lincoln and his wife went to see the play "Our American Cousin" when Lincoln was shot in the head and killed.
The End of Slavery
On December 6 1865, The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, passed by Congress on January 31, 1865, is finally ratified. Slavery is abolished.