Vivid illustrations accompanied the numerous editions of Uncle Tom’s Cabin depicting the brutal realities of slavery and the unmerited suffering of the slave. These images sharpened the tragedy of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s story. Here, Tom dies following a savage beating. ® New-York Historical Society, New York, USA/Bridgeman Art Library International.
Parisian partisans burn royal carriages, February 1848.The excesses of the insurgents and the brutal retaliation of the authorities disheartened many Americans. The Art Archive/Musée Carnavalet Paris/Gianni Dagli Orti
“One of the People’s Saints for the Calendar of Liberty” 1852.The failure of the European revolutions of 1848 deeply disappointed and concerned many Americans. Here, Hungarian patriot Lajos Kossuth attempts in vain to aid a fallen Liberty, vanquished by a three-headed monster representing the Vatican, Austria and its ally, Russia.
MAP 14–1 The Compromise of 1850 Given the unlikely prospect that any of the western territories would opt for slavery, the compromise sealed the South’s minority status in the Union.
Free blacks in the North, despite their marginal status, embraced the nation’s founding ideals. The Fugitive Slave Act threatened to reverse and even end their journey toward equality. This notice, typical of warnings posted in northern cities, urged Boston’s African American population to take precautions.
MAP 14–2 The Kansas-Nebraska Act, 1854 The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which divided the Nebraska Territory in two and repealed the Missouri Compromise, reopened the incendiary issue of slavery in the territories.
Gangs of New York. Paramilitary political gangs were not an invention of the Reconstruction era South. Throughout (mostly northern) cities, groups of street gangs affiliated with rival political parties and divided by religious differences, clashed. On July 4, 1857, the “Bowery Bhoys” supporters of the Know Nothings, fought a pitched battle with their Irish Catholic adversaries, the “Dead Rabbits”, who favored the city’s Democratic mayor, Fernando Wood. The frequency of political and sectarian violence in the nation’s growing cities troubled many Americans in the 1850s.
Activists display a representation of the Ten Commandments October 2003 during a rally at the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Christian activists gathered on Capitol Hill as the last stop of a five-state rally tour.
One of Thomas Nast’s vitriolic comments on the separation between Church (i.e., the Roman Catholic Church) and State.
Dred Scott and his wife, Harriet, are portrayed here with their children as an average middle-class family, an image that fueled northern opposition to the Supreme Court’s 1857 decision that denied Scott’s freedom and citizenship.
Abraham Lincoln making a point at Coles County (Illinois) Fairgrounds, 1858.His U.S. Senate opponent, Stephen A. Douglas, sitting at Lincoln’s right, waits his turn. The Lincoln-Douglas debates captivated Illinois voters and articulated two separate journeys for the nation, one with and one without slavery.
MAP 14–3 Railroads in the United States, 1860 A vast network of railroads honeycombed the North and West by 1860.While the South made considerable progress in railroad construction during the 1850s, its lines had many different gauges, and it lacked suitable connections to the West.
The John Brown mural in the Kansas State House demonstrates the connection between history and memory as much as artistic license. The artist depicts Brown as a crazed patriarch with a rifle in one hand and a Bible in the other while standing on slain corpses. In the background, Confederate and Union troops battle. In reality, The Kansas Brown was clean-shaven and the Civil War began more than a year after Brown’s death. The artist makes the dubious claim that the civil war in Kansas led directly to the larger conflict. Kansas State Historical Societys, Copy and Reuse Restrictions apply.
MAP 14–4 The Election of 1860 The election returns from 1860 vividly illustrate the geography of sectionalism.
“Dividing the National Map” Reflecting the sectional nature of the campaign, three of the four candidates in the 1860 presidential election tear the fabric of national unity. Lincoln and Douglas yank at the North and West and Breckinridge pulls at the South, while the fourth candidate, John Bell of the Constitutional Union party makes a futile attempt to glue the pieces back together.
MAP 14–5 The Course of Secession Before the firing on Fort Sumter in April 1861, the Confederacy consisted primarily of states in the Lower South. After Sumter, and after President Lincoln called upon them for troops, the Upper South states of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas seceded.