The Causes of the Civil War

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This is a combination of notes and video clips to introduce our Civil War Unit for 8th grade History.

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The Causes of the Civil War

  1. 1. Why Fight the Civil War?
  2. 2. 1. States Rights   a.) The idea that the states’ rights were more important than the Federal Government b.) Relies on the 10th Amendment for legal justification
  3. 3. c.) Early Examples:  1. Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions  Written by Madison and Jefferson  Said states could nullify (refuse to obey) unconstitutional laws  Reaction to Alien and Sedition Acts passed by John Adams.
  4. 4. 2. Hartford Convention    Occurred during War of 1812 New England states met in secret to dispute the war Considered secession (leaving the country) but the war ended
  5. 5. 3. The Nullification Crisis    Southern States disputed Tariff of Abominations Efforts led by VP John C. Calhoun President Andrew Jackson furious – threatened to send in troops to force the South Carolina to obey.
  6. 6. Slavery  a.) Slavery allowed into the United States from the time of the Constitution.
  7. 7.  b.) Slavery is necessary for Southern economic prosperity and must be kept.
  8. 8.  Slavery is immoral and should be abolished.
  9. 9. • c.) Early slavery dates 1619:  1st enslaved Africans arrive in Jamestown, VA 
  10. 10.   1783: MA Supreme Court declares slavery illegal 1784-1804: NH, CT, RI, NY, NJ abolish slavery
  11. 11.  1808: Slave importation abolished
  12. 12.  By 1860, 3 Western countries allow slavery: Brazil, Cuba, and the U.S.A.
  13. 13. 3. Missouri Compromise (1820)    Maine = Free State Missouri = Slave State 36°30’ boundary – no slavery above this line
  14. 14. 4. Compromise of 1850    California = Free State Utah and New Mexico Territory => up to people who live there. Fugitive Slave Law: Free States must help catch and return escaped slaves.
  15. 15. 5. Kansas - Nebraska Act (1854) Establishes Popular Sovereignty in Kansas & Nebraska Territory.
  16. 16. 6. Dred Scott Ruling (1857)    Owner takes Scott to a free state (Wisconsin) Scott sues Supreme Court states that slaves were personal property and that Blacks are “so inferior that they had no rights which a white man was bound to respect”
  17. 17. 7. Abolitionists  a.) Quakers Opposed Slavery for religious reasons.
  18. 18. b.) William Lloyd Garrison    White Abolitionist Published The Liberator Called for immediate freedom.
  19. 19. c.) Sojourner Truth     Real name: Isabella Baumfree Freed slave Spoke publicly against slavery Also fought for women’s rights
  20. 20. d.) Harriet Tubman       Escaped slave Worked on Underground Railroad Saved over 300 slaves from slavery Never lost a passenger During Civil War acted as a spy After war, started retirement home for former slaves
  21. 21. e.) Frederick Douglass    Escaped slave Powerful writer and speaker. Important narrative.
  22. 22. f.) Harriet Beecher Stowe    Daughter of a minister Wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin Lincoln: “Here’s the little woman that wrote the book that started this great war.” Click for video
  23. 23. g.) John Brown  Violent Abolitionist
  24. 24. 1850s Presidents 13: Millard Fillmore     Becomes President when Zachary Taylor dies Whig Moderate on slavery Personally opposed to slavery, but didn’t want war
  25. 25. 14: Franklin Pierce      Democrat Pro-slavery Favored the South Favored the Gadsden Purchase – allowed for a Southern Transcontinental Railroad Supported the fugitive slave act
  26. 26. 15: James Buchanan     Our only Bachelor President. Only prospect for marriage died – perhaps a suicide Andrew Jackson made him ambassador to Russia “because we don’t have one to the North Pole” As the country fell apart in 1860, he did NOTHING Often named as one of the worst Presidents in U.S. history Buchanan to Lincoln: “If you are as happy on entering the White House as I am on leaving, you are a happy man indeed.”
  27. 27. 9. Uncle Tom ’s Cabin Published     1852 Written by Harriet Beecher Stowe Told of evils of slavery. Sold 300,000 copies in 1 year
  28. 28. 10. “Bloody Kansas ”        North and South send people to live there to “win sovereignty.” Each side formed its own government => arguments May, 1856: Proslavery groups go to Lawrence, burn stores/houses. Several people die in the fires. John Brown leads group to proslavery settlement at Pottawatomie Creek. Hacks to death 5 men. Brown escapes and hides (for a while . . .)
  29. 29. 11. Lincoln-Douglas Debates Abraham Lincoln, member of newly formed Republican Party.  Stephen A. Douglas, Democrat, responsible for Kansas-Nebraska Act  Lincoln opposed slavery and wished to limit its spread.  Douglas wanted “popular sovereignty” - Said a territory could excluded slavery.  Douglas won the election but lost popularity with many Southerners.  Lincoln became very well-known and popular nationwide.
  30. 30. 12. Lincoln’s “House Divided” Speech     Lincoln gives speech to accept Republican Party’s nomination for President. Says country must either: Become either all slave or all free, or Cease to be a Union of States.
  31. 31. 13. John Brown attacks Harpers Ferry     Brown, with 18 followers, seized federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Robert E. Lee and troops capture Brown and his followers. Brown tried, convicted, and hanged. Maniac or Martyr?
  32. 32. 14. Lincoln elected President   Lincoln wins Presidency without a majority of popular votes. Southerners see him as a threat to their lifestyle.
  33. 33. 15. Southern States Secede from Union.  Starting with South Carolina, states secede from the Union. Form the Confederacy - a new government of Southern States.
  34. 34.   Jefferson Davis elected President. Lincoln hopes for peace, but forced to arm Federal forts in the South
  35. 35. 16. Fort Sumter Attacked (April 12, 1861)    Fort Sumter Attacked (April 12, 1861) Confederate cannon fire on Fort Sumter, South Carolina. Union forces surrender after 30 hours (and no deaths!)
  36. 36. The Civil War Has Begun! click for video

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