Election of 1852
Democrat: Franklin Pierce, little known political from
o Promised to honor the Compromise of 1850 and the
Fugitive Slave Act
Southerners trusted Pierce on the issue of slavery
Whig: Winfield Scott, a Mexican War hero
o Southerners did not trust because he did not fully
support the Compromise of 1850
Pierce won the election
Douglas and the Railroad
Stephen Douglas had supported the idea of building a
railroad to the Pacific Ocean, since being elected to
Congress in the mid- 1840s.
o Wanted the line to start in Chicago
o Needed to organize what remained of the Louisiana
Purchase into federal territory
The Missouri Compromise required that this land be free
o Southerners did not support Douglas’s plan and
preferred a southern route instead, which would start
in New Orleans.
o Douglas was determined to have the railroad start in
Chicago and had to ask a few key southern senators
to support his plan, they agreed if the new territory
west of Missouri was opened to slavery.
Kansas- Nebraska Act
January 1854: Douglas introduced what would
become known as the Kansas- Nebraska Act
o A plan that would divide the remainder of the
Louisiana Purchase into two territories- Kansas and
Nebraska and allow the people in each territory to
decide on the question of slavery.
The act would eliminate the Missouri Compromise
Anti-slavery northerners are outraged but the
implications, believing that proposal was part of
some terrible plot to turn free territory into a region of
masters and slaves.
o Many anti- Nebraska petitions were sent to Congress
The Act was passed on May 30, 1854
o However, Douglas’s railroad would not be approved by
Congress until 1862.
Both anti-slavery and pro-slavery groups rushed to Kansas
o Elections were held in March 1855, almost 5,000pro-slavery
voters crossed the border from Missouri and voted in Kansas.
The Kansas legislature thus had a large pro-slavery majority, and
passed strict laws that made it a crime to question slaveholders
In protest an anti-slavery group formed their own legislature 25 miles
o In April 1856 a
arrived in Kansas to
Decided that the election
was unfair…. Federal
government didn’t care.
o Violence broke out in May
A proslavery grand jury
charged the leaders of the
government with treason.
800 men rode in to the city
of Lawrence to arrest the
antislavery leaders but they
at already fled, they took their
anger out on Lawrence by
setting fires, looting buildings
and destroying presses used
to print antislavery
May 24, 1856, Brown and
his men killed five pro-
slavery men in Kansas in
what became known as
Kansas would collapse
into civil war and about
200 people were killed.
o Bleeding Kansas
Political Parties Undergo
After the Kansas-Nebraska Act slavery
was back into the national spotlight.
oWhigs, Democrats, Free-Soilers, and
abolitionists joined in 1854 to form the
A political Party united against the spread of
slavery in the west.
John C. Fremont was their Candidate in
oDemocrats knew they
could choose a strong
supporter of the Kansas-
James Buchanan of
Was Polks Secretary of
State, and was in Great
Britain as an
ambassador during the
Kansas Nebraska Act.
Dred Scott Decision
Dred Scott was a slave for Dr.
John Emerson an army
surgeon who lived in St. Louis
o Scott would accompany Dr.
Emerson on tours of duty in
Illinois and Wisconsin
o When they returned to
Missouri, the doctor died.
o Scott become the slave of
o In 1846 Scott sued for his
freedom in the Missouri state
courts, arguing that he had
become free when he lived in
the free territory.
A lower court ruled in his favor,
however the Missouri Supreme
Court over turned it.
11 years later the case reached
the U.S. Supreme Court
The court had three issue to look at
o Was Scott a citizen?
o Did his time on free soil make him
o The court had to determine the
constitutionality of prohibiting slavery in
parts of the Louisiana Purchase.
The court was had a
majority of southern
justices on it.
Chief Justice Roger B.
Taney (A slaveholding
family in Maryland)
oIssue #1: Citizenship
Said that the nation’s founders believed
that African Americans “had no rights
which white man was bound to respect”
Therefore all African American whether free
or slave, were not citizens under the U.S.
oIssue #2: Free Soil
Residence on free soil did not
make him free because he
returned to the slave state of
o Issue #3: Slavery in Louisiana
Declared that the Missouri Compromise
was unconstitutional, using the fifth
amendment no one can “ be deprived of
life, liberty, or property without due
process of the law”
Because slaves were considered
Southerners cheered this decision it “covers
every question regarding slavery and settles
it in favor of the south”
Northerners were stunned, Republicans were
particularly upset because they stated in
1856 that Congress had the right to ban
slavery in Federal territories and now the
highest court is saying they don’t.
Abraham Lincoln vs. Stephen Douglas for the Illinois
o Central issue of the campaign was the spread of
slavery in the West.
o Douglas would win the Senate seat, but Lincoln would
become an important leader in the Republican Party.
Raid on Harpers Ferry
October 16, 1858 John Brown tried to start an
uprising by attacking the federal arsenal in Virginia
and seizes weapons.
o He planned to arm local slaves
o Expected to kill or take hostage white southern who
stood in his way.
o No African Americans came to join him and the
local white southerners attacked him instead.
o The next night federal troops arrived and Colonel
Robert E. Lee ordered a squad of marines to storm
the building and captured Brown.
Brown was convict of treason, murder and conspiracy
and was hanged on December 2. 1859.
Northern and southern Democrats could not agree
on a candidate
o Northern Democrats chose Senator Stephen Douglas
o Southern Democrats chose Vice President John C.
Supported slavery in the territories
Constitutional Union Party
– New political Party :
recognized “ no political
principles other than the
Constitution of the country,
the Union of the states and
the enforcement of the
o Supported John Bell
Slaveholder who opposed
the Kansas- Nebraska Act.
o Supported Abraham
A moderate who was
against the spread of
slavery, but promised
not to abolish slavery
where it already
Lincoln won only 40 % of the popular vote but won
180 of the 183 electoral votes in the Free states.
o The southerners were angered; Lincoln did not
campaign in the south, and did not win one
Signaled that the south was losing its national
Within a week of Lincolns election, South Carolina’s
legislature called for a special convention
o Some wanted to secede
They argued that each of the original states had voluntarily
joined the Union by holding a special convention that had
ratified the Constitution
Why couldn’t they leave by the same process?
Senator John J. Crittendon was working hard on a
plan to save the Union
o He proposed a series of constitutional amendments
that he believed would satisfy the south by protecting
Lincoln disagreed with Crittenden, saying there could
be no compromise about the extension of slavery
On December 20, 1860 South Carolina
elected to dissolve from the union.
Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia,
Louisiana and Texas soon followed
oJefferson Davis of Mississippi was
elected President of the newly formed
Confederate States of America
Its new constitution guaranteed citizens the
right to own slaves.
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