Causes of Civil War Description How it caused the War?

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Causes of the Civil War

Causes of Civil War


How it caused the War?

Bleeding Kansas Kansas-Nebraska Act

Voting will decide if these states are free or slave.

Voting creates conflict. Radicals from both sides stream in to area. Conflict over slavery turns to actual violence.

Fugitive Slave Act

Slaves are returned to the South.

North sees themselves as supporting slavery.

Crittenden’s Compromise

Guaranteed slavery where it existed.

Too little, too late. Abolitionists won’t pass it.

John Brown’s Raid

An attempt to cause a slave revolt by giving federal arms to slaves.

South believes abolitionists are trying to destroy them. North believes the south is a bunch of immoral slave owners.

Manifest Destiny

U.S. from Atlantic to Pacific

By expanding West the fight over slave or free continues and expands.

Popular Sovereignty

Voting will decide slave or free.

Causes conflict in every territory added to the union.

Nat Turner’s Revolt

Slave revolt to kill white people.

South cracks down on abolitionism and makes slave laws more harsh.

Annexation of land/Manifest Destiny—California, Texas statehood, Land from Mexico-Mexican-American War, Oregon territory

US expands westward.

Westward expansion causes the fight over slave vs. free to be repeated over and over again.

Also, land from Mexico and Texas means slavery can now spread West below the Missouri Compromise line.

Wilmot Proviso

Bans slavery in the land acquired from Mexico.

Huge political fight in House and Senate.


Industrial Revolution

Creation of a manufacturing economy in the North.

North doesn’t need slaves. Immigration causes N population to grow and increases N political power. N is richer than S, South feels overshadowed and ignored.

California Gold Rush/Bear Flag Republic

American prospectors “create” a new state.

Threatens slave/free balance in Senate.

Secession-South Carolina

The ability of a state to quit the union.

This causes the crisis that leads to Ft. Sumter and the start of the Civil War.

President Taylor, Polk, Buchanan

Lack of leadership on slavery allows conflicts to continue and grow.

Opposing Economies/Industrial Revolution

Industrial revolution in North, agriculture remains dominant in South.

North industrializes south doesn’t. Immigration to the N which increase N political power. N is richer and economically dominates the country.

Cotton and the Cotton Gin

Rise of a new, profitable product in the South.

Causes slavery to return to profitability and pushes it west.

Transportation Revolution

Growth in railroads, canals, steamships, etc.

Ties the Old Northwest (Midwest) to north as these railroads run east and west. Isolates the South as their railroads mostly carry cotton to southern ports for export.

Abolition Movement/Frederick Douglass

Immediate end to slavery.

In southern eyes, this will undermine/destroy the southern economy and society.

Underground Railroad

Smuggling of escaped slaves to Canada.

South sees this as stealing their property.

Missouri Compromise

Missouri slave, Maine free, no slavery N or Missouri’s southern border.

Destroys Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Slave vs. free is not a settled issue but must be renegotiated every time land is added to the US.


States may nullify (veto) federal laws.

Intellectual basis for secession.

Austin Manifesto

Compromise of 1850


Uncle Tom’s Cabin



Free Soilers

Dred Scott Decision

Republican Party/ Election of Abraham Lincoln

Causes of Civil War


How it caused the War?

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