Impending Crisis

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Impending Crisis. 1854-1861. A. Literary Influence. Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) Written in reaction to passage of Fugitive Slave Law Witnessed slavery once, depiction almost as evil as reality Translated into 20+ languages and millions of copies sold worldwide
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Impending Crisis 1854-1861 A. Literary Influence
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852)
  • Written in reaction to passage of Fugitive Slave Law
  • Witnessed slavery once, depiction almost as evil as reality
  • Translated into 20+ languages and millions of copies sold worldwide
  • Easily could be most politically influential piece of literature ever written.
  • South condemned it as evil and untrue.
  • Many northerners pledged NOT to enforce Fugitive Slave Law as a result of having read it.
  • GB and French people sided with northern cause – may have prevented gov’t intervention on behalf of South
  • Hinton Helper
  • Impending Crisis of the South (1857)
  • Helper a white man from NC who hated both slavery and blacks.
  • Argued that slavery hurt poor southern white worst of all.
  • Poor southern whites didn’t/couldn’t read book, but aristocratic south freaked – book banned.
  • B. Bleeding Kansas
  • Popular sovereignty for KN brought settlers with ulterior motives.
  • Anti-slavery organizations (New England Emigrant Aid Company) sent 2000 ppl(carrying rifles known as “Beecher’s Bibles”) to stall the southern vote for a pro-slave Kansas.
  • South, in response sent armed pro-slavery settlers.
  • Very few slaves in either Kansas or Nebraska in 1860.
  • 1855 – territorial legislative election
  • Southern “border ruffians” poured in to KS to “vote early and often” – won election and set up gov’t in Shawnee Mission
  • Free soilers set up a different legislature in Topeka
  • 1856 – pro-slaveryites shot up and burned part of Lawrence.
  • John Brown
  • Ardent anti-slaveryite who moved to KS and sought to avenge burning of Lawrence, KS.
  • Hacked to death (w/ broadswords) 5 pro-slaveryites in 1856 at Pottawatomie Creek.
  • Became civil war before THE Civil War.
  • Lecompton Constitution
  • 1857 – KS ready to apply for statehood
  • Popular sovereignty allowed for a vote
  • Lecompton Constitution
  • Tricky move by pro slavery forces to have a vote for constitution “with slavery” or “without slavery”
  • Regardless of outcome, provision in Lecompton Constitution still allowed for current slave owners in KS to keep slaves.
  • Anti-slavery forces refused to vote and Lecompton passed.
  • Stephan Douglas rallied for fair play and free elections and a new up or down vote on Constitution was allowed.
  • Anti-slaveryites voted in droves against Lecompton and KS failed to become a state (until 1861)
  • C. Brooks v. Sumner on Senate Floor
  • Charles Sumner
  • One of few abolitionist politicians
  • Smart, unliked and furious over debacle in KS
  • Called the “Crime Against Kansas”
  • Called pro-slavery men there “hirelings picked from the drunken spew and vomit of an uneasy civilization”
  • Insulted SC and its popular senator Andrew Butler
  • SC Congressmen Preston Brooks
  • felt need to uphold honor of state and its esteemed senator
  • Approached Sumner on floor and beat him repeatedly with cane until it broke.
  • Aftermath
  • Brooks resigned his seat but was re-elected anyway
  • Southerners sent him canes in support
  • Sumner left Senate for 3 ½ yrs to receive treatment in Europe
  • Massachusetts kept re-electing him anyway and his seat remained empty until his return.
  • D. Election of 1856
  • Democrats
  • shied away from weak Pierce and divisive Douglas - both tainted by Kansas.
  • Chose fancy and “Kansas-less” lawyer James Buchanan
  • Platform was popular sovereignty
  • Republicans
  • By-passed “Higher Law” Seward and went for “Kansas-less” surveyor and western explorer John C. Fremont.
  • Platform against extension of slavery into territories.
  • Know-Nothing Party
  • Results
  • Buchanan (174) Fremont (114) and Fillmore (8)
  • Civil War kicked another 4 years down the road
  • 2 yr old Republican Party has strong showing and becomes 2nd major party overnight.
  • Anti-foreigner 3rd party
  • Against influx of Germans and Irish
  • Chose ex-Prez Millard Fillmore to run.
  • John C. Fremont James Buchanan E. Dred Scott v. Sanford
  • Dred Scott lived with his master in IL and WI Territory for 5 years – sued for his freedom.
  • Roger B. Taney – Chief Justice led majority southern SC
  • Dred Scott not a citizen and cannot sue in federal courts
  • Ruled that slaves were property and could not be taken away without due process of law (5th Amendment) and could be taken into ANY territory and legally held as slaves.
  • Made the Missouri Compromise invalid – Congress had no power to ban slavery north of 36’30”
  • Even made popular sovereignty null and void.
  • Southerners delighted, northerners horrified and popular sovereigntyites (Douglas) aghast.
  • Many northerners pledged to defy it – again seen as an act of bad faith by the South.
  • Dred Scott Roger B. Taney F. Panic of 1857
  • Causes
  • CA hold inflating currency
  • Overspeculation in land because of RR boom.
  • Results
  • North hardest hit
  • Demand for free farmland in west grew
  • Homestead Act passed by Congress but vetoed by Buchanan.
  • Clamor for higher tariffs
  • These two issues will become large part of platform for Republican in 1860.
  • South protected by high cotton prices abroad – further entrenched King Cotton belief.
  • G. Abraham Lincoln
  • Born in 1809 to impoverished Kentucky family
  • Grew up wrestling, weight lifting, splitting rails and reading.
  • Self taught – mostly law.
  • Married above his social class into influential Todd family.
  • One of a handful of well known trial lawyers in IL.
  • Rose like a meteor through republican ranks – earned 110 votes for VP in 1856.
  • Decides to challenge Dem Stephen Douglas for IL senate seat in 1958.
  • H. Lincoln – Douglas Debates
  • Lincoln challenged Douglas to a series of 7 debates throughout IL (Aug–Oct, 1858)
  • Freeport Doctrine
  • Lincoln backed Douglas into a corner by questioning if ppl count vote against slavery if Supreme Court ruled that they could not (Dred Scott Case)
  • Douglas held fast to his popular sovereignty doctrine thus upsetting the southern contingent of Democratic Party.
  • Douglas won Senate seat, but divided national Democratic Party and hurt his chances of winning 1860 Presidential Election.
  • I. John Brown: Murderer or Martyr?
  • Brown hatched a plan to secretly invade South, arm slaves and incite a revolution.
  • Slaves, ignorant of the plan, failed to rise.
  • Brown and 20 men seized arsenal at Harper’s Ferry incidently killing 7 innocent ppl.
  • Was wounded and quickly captured by US Marines led by Robt E. Lee.
  • Convicted of murder and treason
  • Defense tried to plead insanity (much evidence to support this) but Brown saw he was worth more to cause dead than alive – sentenced to hang.
  • Results
  • South convinced North was full of “John Browns” inciting slaves to rise against their masters.
  • Moderate northerners denounced Harpers Ferry raid
  • Aboltionists hailed him a hero and a martyr – Emerson compared him to Jesus.
  • “John Browns Body”
  • J. Election of 1860
  • Democrats
  • Southern Dems do not want “Freeport” Douglas – walk out of convention in Charleston
  • Dems try again in Baltimore – nominate Douglas, although many southern states walked out again
  • Platform of popular sovereignty and non-obstruction of Fugitive Slave Law.
  • Southern Democrats
  • Host convention of their own after walking out
  • Nominate John Breckinridge
  • Platform of extension of slavery into territories and annexation of Cuba.
  • Constitutional Union Party
  • Former Whigs and Know-Nothings
  • Nominate John Bell of TN
  • Pro-Union
  • Republicans
  • Seward the natural leader, but too many enemies
  • Lincoln nominated oon 3rd ballot
  • Platform had broad appeal.
  • For free-soilers - Nonextension of slavery
  • For northern manufacturers - A protective tariff
  • For immigrants – protection of rights
  • For the Northwest – a northern transatlantic RR
  • For the West – Internal improvements
  • For the farmers – free homesteads
  • Results
  • Lincoln won but not with plurality.
  • Not on ballot in 10 southern states
  • Democrats amassed more popular votes than Lincoln – but Lincoln still had more EC votes than all 3 opponents combined.
  • Republicans held Presidency, but not House, Senate or Supreme Court.
  • K. Secession
  • South Carolina threatened to secede if Lincoln elected
  • Rejoiced at his win for it gave them the excuse
  • Dec. 1860 – SC convention voted unanimously to secede.
  • 6 more states secede in following 6 weeks – 4 more later.
  • New government
  • 7 original seceders meet in Montgomery, AL in Feb 1861 and form Confederate States of America.
  • Choose MS Senator Jefferson Davis as President
  • “Lame Duck” period
  • Lincoln elected in Nov but can’t take office until March
  • Buchanan a Unionist, but saw no constitutional authority to make southern states “stay” in Union with force.
  • L. Crittenden Compromise
  • KY Senator James Crittenden successor of Great Compromiser Henry Clay.
  • Makes one last ditch effort at compromise
  • Slavery still prohibited north of 36’30’’ in territories.
  • Slavery federally protected south of line in existing territories or those to be acquired.
  • When ready for statehood, slavery issue still determined by popular sovereignty.
  • Lincoln flatly rejected the compromise
  • M. Farewell to Union
  • Reasons for Secession
  • Worried about political imbalance.
  • Feared new republican Party and their plans for slavery
  • Aggravated by northern agitators like Underground Railroad and John Brown – wanted to be left alone.
  • Thought their departure would be unopposed.
  • Hoped to NOT have to pay back northern creditors
  • Hoped to establish their own banking and trade networks
  • Planned on a lower tariff
  • Feelings of Southern nationalism swept through
  • Principles of self-determination, as laid out in the Declaration of Independence, seemed to apply perfectly to them.
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