9 Events That Led to the Civil War


The Compromise of 1850

Tensions over slavery escalated after the Mexican War, leading to the California dispute and failed compromise attempts, fueling the path to the American Civil War.

The Fugitive Slave Act

The Compromise of 1850 intensified tensions as the new Fugitive Slave Act imposed stricter measures, leading to widespread resistance in the North and the passage of "personal liberty" laws that hindered slaveholders' efforts to reclaim escaped slaves.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act

The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 sparked "Bleeding Kansas" and disrupted the compromise on slavery, foreshadowing the Civil War.

The Pottawatomie Massacre

John Brown, a radical abolitionist, retaliated against pro-slavery forces by orchestrating the Pottawatomie Creek massacre in Kansas, intensifying the conflict between the North and South over slavery.

The Dred Scott Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court's 1857 Dred Scott decision denied enslaved man Dred Scott and other Black individuals citizenship and legal protection, deepening the division between North and South and hindering political compromise on slavery.

The Election of 1860

Lincoln's anti-slavery stance, debates with Douglas, strategic convention placement, and divided opposition propelled him to secure the Republican nomination and win the presidency with only 40% of the popular vote.

'Uncle Tom's Cabin' Is Published

Uncle Tom's Cabin, published in 1852, was a bestselling novel that sparked public debate and exacerbated the North-South divide on the issue of slavery.

John Brown's Raid on Harper's Ferry

John Brown's failed raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859, aiming to spark a mass uprising of enslaved people, deepened the divide between North and South and foreshadowed the coming Civil War.

The Formation of the Confederacy

Lincoln's election sparked secession, forming the Confederacy, and triggered the Civil War, ending slavery and transforming the nation.

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