STOWE & HELPER: LITERARY INCENDIARIES Sectional tensions were further strained in 1852 when Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote and published her heartrending novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Stowe was the daughter of an abolitionist minister, who was dismayed and angered by the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law. She was determined to awaken the North to the wickedness of slavery by laying bare its terrible inhumanity, especially the cruel splitting of families.
The success of Uncle Tom’s Cabin at home andabroad was phenomenal. Ultimately, millions ofcopies were published. To millions of people athome and abroad, it made slavery appearalmost as evil as it really was.When Mrs. Stowe was introduced to PresidentLincoln in 1862, he remarked, “So you’re thelittle woman who wrote the book that madethis great war.”Why were southerners infuriated with thebook? What impact did the book have inthe North? And what impact did the bookhave in Europe?
The other literary incendiary, Hinton Helper, wrote The Impending Crisis in the South in 1857. Helper, a non-aristocrat from North Carolina, hated both slavery and blacks passionately. He demonstrated statistically that, indirectly, the non-slaveholding whites were the ones who suffered most from slavery. His book was banned in the South, but it was widely read in the North.Hinton Helper
Instead of simply defending the “peculiarinstitution,” southerners began to arguethat slavery benefited slave owners andslaves alike.Why would an attack on conditions inEngland be an effective way to respond tocriticism of slavery in America?
THE NORTH-SOUTH CONTEST for KANSASThe civil war in Kansas waged between free-soilers and slaveryites was but the prelude toa bloodier tragedy. And Kansas provided a horrible example of the workings of popularsovereignty.Explain the sequence of events that led to the establishment of two competinggovernments in Kansas. Legally speaking, were either of these competinggovernments legitimate – why?
KANSAS in CONVULSION John Brown, brooding over the recent attack on Lawrence, led a band of his followers to Pottawatomie Creek in 1856. Five alleged pro-slavers were hacked to death. Pro-slavery forces sought vicious retaliation. Civil war in Kansas continued intermittently until it merged with the Civil War in 1861. By 1857 Kansas had enough people (chiefly free-soilers) to apply for statehood on a popular sovereignty basis. Explain how the pro-slavery forces schemed to protect slavery in Kansas through the Lecompton Constitution. Did this scheme work for the pro-slavers? What was President Buchanan’s position on the controversy surrounding the Lecompton Constitution?
At the height of the LecomptonConstitution crisis, the “father of popularsovereignty,” Stephen Douglas foughtcourageously for fair play and democraticprinciples.The outcome was a compromise that, ineffect, submitted the entire LecomptonConstitution to a popular vote, where thefree-soilers thronged to the polls anddefeated it. Kansas would remain aterritory until 1861.This entire episode hopelessly divided theDemocratic party – the last remainingnational party. Douglas
“BULLY” BROOKS and HIS BLUDGEONSectional violence was not limited to Kansas. In 1856, Sen. Charles Sumner of Mass. gave apassionate speech that infuriated southerners in general and Rep. Preston Brooks of SouthCarolina in particular. Describe the course of events following Sumner’s speech. Who wasat fault in this tragic episode? In the larger national picture, what was the significance ofthis clash?
“OLD BUCK” VERSUS “THE PATHFINDER” James Buchanan John Fremont Millard FillmoreIn the election of 1856, the Democrats nominated James Buchanan, a Pennsylvanianlawyer who had been out of the country and was considered “safe” on Kansas. Republicanschose John Fremont, the explorer. Another third-party emerged, the Know-Nothingparty. It was an ultra-nationalistic, anti-immigrant, and anti-Catholic party. Theirnominee was Millard Fillmore.
The campaign was marked by mud-slinging and name calling, rather than substantiveissues. Buchanan won handily but the Republicans made a strong showing. Why was itprobably good for the country that Fremont did not win?In hindsight, this election may have been a missed opportunity to address the sectionalissues that were splitting the country. Instead of taking the initiative, the candidatesignored the issues and concentrated on name-calling and slurs.
THE DRED SCOTT BOMBSHELL Dred Scott was a slave whose owner had taken him from Missouri to free Illinois and into the Minnesota Territory, which was free under the Missouri Compromise. Scott sued for his freedom with the help of anti-slave groups, basing his argument on his long residence on free soil.
Scott sued for his freedom with the help ofanti-slave groups, basing his argument on hislong residence on free soil.
On March 6, 1857, a decision wasrendered by the Supreme Court inDred Scott v. Sanford.Chief Justice Roger Taney ruled thatslaves or free blacks were not norcould ever be free citizens, so Scottcould not sue in the first place.Congress, the Court ruled, could notprohibit slavery since this was aviolation of the “due process” clause,therefore the Missouri Compromisehad been null and void since the day itwas enacted.
Significance: The ruling delighted the South, which now saw slavery protected by constitutionalguarantees in all parts of the U.S. The North was stunned, especially abolitionist groups. Northernersviewed the decision as an “opinion,” open to interpretation and challenge. And southerners were angrywith the North’s defiance towards the decision.
THE FINANCIAL CRASH of 1857 A depression jolted the country in 1857. Although not as bad economically as the panic of 1837, psychologically, it was the worst of the 19th century. What caused the crash? Northern industries were particularly hard hit. The South escaped relatively unscathed – proof to them of the superiority of their cotton- based economy over northern industry. The North demanded and won a tariff reduction (Tariff of 1857), which reduced the tariff rates to 20%. The North also pushed for a Homestead Bill so that unemployed factory workers could make a new start out west with free govt. land. 1. The Bill proposed 160 free acres of land for homesteaders. 2. The Bill was vetoed by Buchanan – it eventually passed in 1862.
THE ILLINOIS RAIL-SPLITTER EMERGES In Illinois’ congressional elections of 1858 an interesting debate was taking shape. Stephen Douglas was running for re-election as a Democrat, with his sights set on the presidential nomination in 1860. In opposition to Douglas, the Republicans ran Abraham Lincoln, who was an oratorical match in wit, argument, and ability. Lincoln was not an abolitionist; He was, however, opposed to the extension of slavery into the territories. Provide a personal & political profile of Lincoln.
Lincoln was able to “trap” Douglas onthe issue of slavery. At Freeport,Illinois, Lincoln asked Douglas toreconcile Dred Scott with Douglas’sbelief in popular sovereignty.Douglas maintained his support forpopular sovereignty – he in fact wassaying a state could ignore theSupreme Court ruling and excludeslavery if the majority of peoplewished to do so.This position caused Douglas to losemost of his southern Democraticsupport.Lincoln lost the election but becameone of the leading spokesmen for theRepublican party.
JOHN BROWN: MURDERER or MARTYR? In October, 1859, John Brown re- appeared in a terrible way. What was his crackbrained scheme? What was Brown’s fate after Lt. Col. Robert E. Lee foiled his plan? Being condemned to death, how did Brown help the abolitionist cause? Col. Lee
The effects of Harpers Ferry were calamitous.Describe the sentiments of southerners versus abolitionists.
THE DISRUPTION of the DEMOCRATSAs the election of 1860 neared, the Democrats were already deeply split. The majordivision was between the northern democrats and the southern democrats. TheDemocratic convention refused to accept a pro-slavery platform – the regularDemocrats nominated Stephen Douglas. The southern Democrats walked out and heldtheir own convention. Who was their candidate? And what was their platform?What was the Third Party? Who was their candidate? And what was theircampaign platform?
At the Republican convention in Chicago, William Seward was considered too radical(“higher law”). Abe Lincoln was nominated on the 3rd ballot. Hannibal Hamlin wasselected as his running mate.Identify the major components of the Republican platform.The South threatened to secede if Lincoln was elected.Lincoln was elected as a minority president. It is inaccurate to conclude that Douglaswould have won if the Democrats were not split. Lincoln won the states with the mostelectoral votes.
THE ELECTION UPHEAVAL of 1860Ironically, South Carolinians celebrated Lincoln’s victory – why? And despite thestrong secession sentiments, the verdict of the ballot box indicated a strong currentof opposition and uncertainty regarding secession.Southern “firebrands” did not fully appreciate or understand that despite losing theelection, they still had protection of slavery under the Constitution.
THE SECESSIONIST EXODUS South Carolina voted to secede in December of 1860. Seven other southern states quickly followed. Four more would later follow, bringing the total to 11. A Confederate Congress met in Montgomery, Alabama and chose Jefferson Davis as the President of the Confederate States of America. Explain how the “lame duck” interlude deepened the crisis. Initially, was Lincoln any more assertive?
THE COLLAPSE of COMPROMISEThe biggest question was, how would the North respond to southern secession. And, was alast minute compromise possible? The most promising effort at last minute compromisewas put forth by Senator James Crittenden. Identify and explain the components ofhis compromise. Why did Lincoln flatly reject the compromise? Sen. James CrittendenCivil War Causes: Historians continue to debate the causes of the Civil War: Moral?Economic? Social? Cultural? Political?
FAREWELL to UNIONIdentify and explain the primary reasons southerners used to rationalize secession.Ironically, many Europeans drew parallels between the American Revolution and the CivilWar.
ROAD to CIVIL WAR QUIZZEShttp://www.historyteacher.net/USProjects/USQuizzes/GrowingCrisis1.htmhttp://www.historyteacher.net/USProjects/Quizzes5-6/The1850s-5.htm