The Democratic Party was shattered by the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
The Republican Party was formed in the Mid-West and it had moral protests against the gains of slavery. It included Whigs, Democrats, Free-Soilers, Know-Nothings, and other foes of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The Southerners hated the Republican Party.
Drifting Toward Disunion
The Kansas Territory erupted in violence in 1855 between proslavery and antislavery arguments. In 1857, the Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision invalidated the Missouri Compromise of 1820.
Stowe and Helper: Literary Incendiaries
Harriet Beecher Stowe, who was white, published Uncle Tom's Cabin in 1852 as an attempt to show the North the horrors of slavery. The novel was published abroad, including France and Britain. It helped to start the Civil War and to end it.
Hinton R. Helper, a non-aristocrat from North Carolina, wrote The Impending Crisis of the South in 1857. Hated by both slavery and blacks, it attempted to use statistics to prove indirectly that the non-slaveholding whites were the ones who suffered the most from slavery.
The North-South Contest for Kansas
Most of the people who came into Kansas were just westward-moving pioneers. A minority of the people moving to Kansas was financed by groups of northern abolitionists who wanted to see Kansas a free state. The New England Emigrant Aid Company was one of these groups.
In 1855, the day that the first territorial legislatures were to be elected, many pro-slavery people came in from slave- state Missouri to vote, enacting pro-slavery officials. The slavery supporters set up their own government at Shawnee Mission. The free-soilers then set up their own government in Topeka, giving the Kansas territory two governments. (Kansas and Nebraska territories were to have popular sovereignty in choosing slavery according to the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Nebraska was so far north that its future as a free state was never in question.)
In 1856, the Civil War in Kansas started when a group of pro-slavery riders burned down a part of the free-soil town of Lawrence.
Kansas in Convulsion
John Brown- fanatical abolitionist who, in May of 1856 in response to the pro-slavery events in Lawrence, hacked to death 5 presumed pro-slavery men at Pottawatomie Creek.
Civil War flared up in Kansas in 1856, and continued until in merged with the nation's Civil War of 1861-1865.
In 1857, Kansas had enough people to apply for statehood. Its citizens were going to vote again on whether or not to have slavery in the state of Kansas. In order to keep the free-soilers from creating a free state, the pro-slavery politicians created the Lecompton Constitution. The document stated that the people were not allowed to vote for or against the constitution as a whole, rather, they could vote on whether the constitution would be "with slavery" or "without slavery." If slavery was voted against, then one of the provisions in the constitution would protect those who already owned slaves in Kansas. Many free-soilers boycotted voting, so the pro-slaveryites voted, approving the constitution to include slavery.
James Buchanan, a democrat, succeeded Pierce as the President of the United States. He had a strong southern influence and approved of the Lecompton Constitution. Senator Stephen Douglas was strongly opposed to the document and he campaigned against it. Eventually, a compromise was reached that enabled the people of Kansas to vote on the Lecompton Constitution, itself. It was revoked by the free-soil voters, but Kansas remained a territory until 1861, when the southern states seceded from the Union.
President Buchanan divided the powerful Democratic Party by enraging the Douglas Democrats of the North. He divided the only remaining national party and with it, the Union.
"Bully" Brooks and His Bludgeon
In 1856, abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts gave a provoking speech condemning pro-slavery men. During this speech, Sumner also personally insulted Senator Andrew Butler of South Carolina. Two days later on May 22, 1856, Butler's nephew, Preston Brooks, beat Sumner with a cane to unconsciousness.
The speech made by Sumner was applauded in the North, angering the South.
The clash between Sumner and Butler showed how violent and impassioned the Northerners and Southerners were for their cause.
"Old Buck" Versus "The Pathfinder"
Meeting in Cincinnati, the Democrats chose James Buchanan as their presidential candidate to run in the election of 1856 because he wasn't influenced by the Kansas-Nebraska Act as Pierce and Douglas had been. The Democratic platform campaigned for popular sovereignty.
Meeting in Philadelphia, the Republicans chose Captain John C. Fremont because he was also not influenced by the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The Republican platform campaigned against the extension of slavery.
The American Party, also called the Know-Nothing Party, was formed by Protestants who were alarmed by the increase of immigrants from Ireland and Germany. They chose former president Millard Fillmore as their candidate for the election of 1856.
The Electoral Fruits of 1856
James Buchanan won the election of 1856.
It was quite possibly a good thing that the Republican Party did not win the election, because some southerners said the election of a Republican president would mean war, forcing them to secede.
This election was a small victory for the Republican Party because the party was just 2 years old, yet putting up a fight for the Democrats.
The Dred Scott Bombshell
Dread Scott, a slave who had lived with his master (residence in Missouri) for 5 years in Illinois and Wisconsin Territory, sued for his freedom on the basis of his long residence on free soil. The Supreme Court ruled that because a slave was private property, he could be taken into any territory and legally held there in slavery. The Fifth Amendment forbade Congress from depriving people of their property without the due process of law. The Court went further and stated that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional and that Congress had no power to ban slavery from the territories, no matter what the territorial legislatures themselves wanted.
This victory delighted Southerners, while it infuriated Northerners and supporters of popular sovereignty.
The Financial Crash of 1857
The panic of 1857 broke out due to California gold inflating the currency and over-speculation in land and railroads. The North was the hardest hit, while the South, with its cotton, continued to flourish.
Northerners came up with the idea of the government giving 160-acre plots of farming land to pioneers for free. Two groups opposed the idea: Eastern industrialists feared that the free land would drain its supply of workers and the South feared that the West would fill up with free-soilers who would form anti-slavery states, unbalancing the Senate even more. Congress passed a homestead act in 1860, making public lands available at $0.25/acre, but it was vetoed by President Buchanan.
The Tariff of 1857 lowered duties to about 20%. The North blamed it for causing the panic, because they felt they needed higher duties for more protection. This gave the Republicans two economic issues for the election of 1860: protection for the unprotected and farms for the farmless.
An Illinois Rail-Splitter Emerges
In Illinois's senatorial election of 1858, the Republicans chose Abraham Lincoln to run against Democrat Stephen Douglas. Lincoln served in the Illinois legislature as a Whig politician and he served one term in Congress.
The Great Debate: Lincoln versus Douglas
Lincoln challenged Douglas to a series of seven debates that were arranged from August to October 1858.
The most famous debate came at Freeport, Illinois. Lincoln asked Douglas, "What if the people of a territory should vote down slavery?" The Supreme Court in the Dred Scott decision had decreed that the people could not. Douglas's reply to him became known as the "Freeport Doctrine." Douglas argued that no matter how the Supreme Court ruled, slavery would stay down if the people voted it down. Laws to protect slavery would have to be voted on by the territorial legislatures.
Douglas won the senatorial election, but Lincoln won the popular vote.
John Brown: Murderer or Martyr?
Abolitionist John Brown's scheme was to invade the South secretly with a handful of followers, call upon the slaves to rise, give the slaves weapons, and establish a black free state as a sanctuary.
In October 1859, he seized the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Because many of his supporters failed to show up, he was caught and sent to death by hanging. When Brown died, he lived on as a martyr to the abolitionist cause.
The Disruption of the Democrats
For the election of 1860, the Democrats met in Charleston, South Carolina to choose their candidate. The northern wing of the party wanted to nominate Stephen Douglas, but the southern "fire-eaters" saw him as a traitor for his unpopular opposition to the Lecompton Constitution and unpopular Freeport Doctrine reply. After the delegates from most of the cotton states walked out, the Democrats met again in Baltimore to elect a candidate. This time, Douglas was elected, despite the fact that the southerners again walked out.
The southern Democrats met in Baltimore to choose their own Democratic presidential candidate. They chose vice-president John C. Breckenridge. The platform favored the extension of slavery into the territories and the annexation of slave-populated Cuba.
The Constitutional Union Party was formed by former Whigs and Know-Nothings. They nominated John Bell as their presidential candidate.
A Rail-Splitter Splits the Union
The Republican Party met in Chicago and nominated Abraham Lincoln as their presidential candidate.
The Republican platform had an appeal to nearly every part of the nation. For the free-soilers, non-extension of slavery; for the northern manufacturers, a protective tariff; for the immigrants, no abridgment of rights; for the Northwest, a Pacific railroad; for the West, internal improvements at federal expense; and for the farmers, free homesteads (plots of land) from the public domain.
The Southerners said that if Abraham Lincoln was elected as President, the Union would split.
The Electoral Upheaval of 1860
Abraham Lincoln won the election of 1860, but he did not win with the popular vote. 60% of the nation voted for another candidate. 10 southern states didn't even allow Lincoln to appear on the ballot.
South Carolina was happy at the outcome of the election because it now had a reason to secede.
Even though the Republicans won the presidential election, they did not control the House of Representatives, the Senate, or the Supreme Court.
The Secessionist Exodus
In December 1860, South Carolina's legislature met in Charleston and voted unanimously to secede. 6 other states joined South Carolina: Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas.
The 7 seceders met at Montgomery, Alabama in February 1861 and created a government known as the Confederate States of America. The states chose Jefferson Davis, a recent member of the U.S. Senate from Mississippi, as President.
During this time of secession, Buchanan was still President for Lincoln was not sworn in until 1861. President Buchanan did not hold the seceders in the Union by force because he was surrounded by southern advisors and he could find no authority in the Constitution to stop them with force. One important reason was that the tiny army of 15,000 men of the Union was needed to control the Indians of the West.
The Collapse of Compromise
The Crittenden amendments to the Constitution were designed to appease the South. They said that slavery in the territories was to be prohibited north of 360 30', but south of that line was to be given federal protection in all territories existing or herby acquired. Basically, states north of the line could come into the Union with or without slavery, depending on what they chose, but below that line, there would always be slavery. President Lincoln rejected the amendments.
Farewell to the Union
The southern states seceded fearing that the Republican Party would threaten their rights to own slaves.
Many southerners felt that their secession would be unopposed by the North. They assumed that the northern manufacturers and bankers, dependent upon southern cotton and markets, wouldn't dare cut off the South.
Girding for War: The North and the South
The Menace of Secession
President Abraham Lincoln declared that secession was impractical because the North and South were not geographically divided. He also stated that with secession, new controversies would arise, including the national debt, federal territories, and the fugitive-slave issue.
South Carolina Assails Fort Sumter
When President Lincoln was elected, there were only two significant forts in the South that flew the Union's flag. Fort Sumter, in the Charleston harbor, needed supplies in order to support its men. Therefore, Lincoln adopted a middle-of-the-road solution. He told the South that the North was sending provisions to the fort, not supplies for reinforcement. Taking the move by Lincoln as an act of aggression, the South Carolinians fired upon Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861.
Virginia, Arkansas, and Tennessee all seceded after the attack on Fort Sumter. The 11 seceded states were known as the "submissionists."
Lincoln now had a reason for an armed response, and he called upon the Union states to supply militiamen.
Brothers' Blood and Border Blood
Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia were the Border States. They were the only slave states that hadn't seceded from the Union. The Border States contained the Ohio River, a vital necessity for both the North and the South.
The official statement that Lincoln made for war was to fight to preserve the Union, not to end slavery.
The Five Civilized Tribes (Native American) (Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles) sided with the Confederacy. These tribes were allowed to send delegates to the Confederacy congress. Most of the Plains Indians sided with the Union.
The Balance of Forces
The South had the advantage of fighting defensively on its own land and it did not have to win in order to preserve the Confederacy-it just had to fight to a draw.
Abraham Lincoln offered Robert E. Lee command of the Northern army, but Lee turned the job down deciding to fight for his home state of Virginia. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson was Lee's chief lieutenant.
There were not a lot of factories in the South, but the South was able to seize federal weapons from the Union.
The North held ¾ of the nation's wealth, and ¾ of the nation's railroad system. It also had nearly twice as large of a population of the South as more and more immigrants arrived in the North from Europe.
Dethroning King Cotton
The South counted on foreign intervention to win the war.
The common people of Britain supported the North, hoping to extinguish slavery. Britain restrained its own and French ironclads from breaking the Union blockade.
The British manufacturers depended upon cotton from the South, but before the war from 1857 to 1860, a surplus of cotton had developed in Britain, allowing it to function without purchasing cotton from the South. In 1861, the cotton supply ran out and many British factory workers were laid off. As Union armies penetrated the South, they sent cotton to Britain. King Wheat and King Corn, which were produced great quantities in the North, proved to be more powerful than King Cotton. Therefore, Britain wasn't able to break the blockade to gain cotton, because if it had, it would have lost the granary from the North.
The Decisiveness of Diplomacy
The Trent affair occurred in late 1861. A Union warship stopped a British mail steamer, the Trent, and removed 2 Confederate diplomats who were heading to Europe. Britain started to send troops to Canada in retaliation, but the situation was ended when President Lincoln freed the Confederate prisoners.
Britain shipyards were unknowingly producing Confederate commerce-raiders. The British ships left their ports unarmed, picked up arms elsewhere, and captured Union ships. One notable ship was the Alabama.
In 1863, two Confederate warships were being constructed in the British shipyard of John Laid and Sons. Their large iron rams would have destroyed the Union blockade. To avoid infuriating the North, the London government bought the ships for the Royal Navy.
The British established the Dominion of Canada in 1867. It was partly designed to strengthen the Canadians against the possible vengeance of the United States.
Emperor Napoleon III of France dispatched a French army to occupy Mexico City in 1863. He installed Maximilian as emperor of Mexico City. The actions of Napoleon were in direct violation of the Monroe Doctrine. Napoleon was counting on the Union not retaliating due to its weakness. When the Civil War ended in 1865, Napoleon was forced to abandon Maximilian and Mexico City.
President Davis versus President Lincoln
The one defect of the South was that its own states could secede. Some state troops refused to serve outside their borders.
President Jefferson Davis of the Confederacy often had disputes with his own congress. Davis's task as President proved to be beyond his powers. Lincoln and the North enjoyed a long-established government that was financially stable and fully recognized at home and abroad.
Limitations on Wartime Liberties
Due to the fact that Congress was not in session when the war broke out, President Lincoln proclaimed a blockade, increased the size of the Federal army, directed the secretary of the Treasury to advance $2 million without appropriation or security to 3 private citizens for military purposes, and suspended the habeas corpus (stated that a citizen could not be held without the due process of a trial) - all of which were required to be approved by Congress.
Volunteers and Draftees: North and South
Due to lack of volunteers, Congress passed in 1863 a federal draft law. Men who were called in the draft could pay $300 in order to buy a replacement. The Confederacy also passed a draft law.
The Economic Stresses of War
The North increased tariffs and excise taxes to financially support the war. It also created the first income tax.
In early 1861, after enough anti-protection Southern members had seceded, Congress passed the Morrill Tariff Act. It was a high protective tariff that increased duties 5%-10%. The increases were designed to raise additional revenue and provide more protection for the prosperous manufacturers. A protective tariff became identified with the Republican Party.
The Washington Treasury issued green-backed paper money. The greenbacks were backed by the nation's fluctuating gold supply. Hence, the value of the greenback was constantly changing.
In 1863, Congress authorized the National Banking System. It was designed to stimulate the sale of government bonds and to establish a standard bank-note currency. Banks who joined the National Banking System could buy government bonds and issue sound paper money backed by the bonds.
The Confederate government was forced to print blue-backed paper money that was subject to "runaway inflation."
The North's Economic Boom
Newly invented laborsaving machinery enabled the North to expand economically. Mechanical reapers (farm machines used to harvest grain) allowed for men to leave the farms for the war and provided grain that contributed to Northern profits.
The discovery of petroleum in Pennsylvania in 1859 led to a rush of people known as the "Fifty-Niners."
The Civil War opened up many jobs for women that were originally occupied by men.
A Crashed Cotton Kingdom
The North's blockade severely hampered the South's economy. Transportation in the South collapsed during the Civil War. Cotton capitalism had lost out to industrial capitalism.
The Furnace of Civil War
Bull Run Ends the "Ninety-Day War"
President Abraham Lincoln concluded that an attack on a smaller Confederate force at Bull Run would be worth trying. If successful, the victory would show the superiority of Union arms and might eventually lead to the capture of Richmond.
On July 21, 1861, the Union and Confederate forces met. A Union victory was thought to be for sure, as evident when spectators showed up. The Confederates won as "Stonewall" Jackson held his line of Confederate soldiers until reinforcements arrived.
"Tardy George" McClellan and the Peninsular Campaign
In 1861, General George B. McClellan was given command of the Army of the Potomac.
Starting the Peninsula Campaign, McClellan's army launched a waterborne attack in the spring of 1862 and captured Yorktown. He came within sight of Richmond and attacked "Stonewall" Jackson. General Robert E. Lee launched a counterattack against the Union forces-the Seven Days' Battles-from June 26 to July 2, 1862 and drove McClellan's forces back to the sea.
The Northern military plan had 6 components: 1. Slowly suffocate the South by blockading its coasts.
2. Liberate the slaves and undermine the very economic foundation of the South.
3. Cut the Confederacy in half by seizing control of the Mississippi River.
4. Dismember the Confederacy by sending troops through Georgia and the Carolinas.
5. Capture its capital at Richmond.
6. Try everywhere to engage the enemy's main strength and grind it into submission.
The War at Sea
The Northern sea blockades were concentrated at the principal ports.
Blockade was the chief offensive weapon of Britain. Britain did not want to tie its hands in a future war with the U.S. by insisting that Lincoln maintain impossibly high blockading standards.
In order to combat the strong blockades, ships were developed to run through them. Some fast ships had the capability of running through blockades in order to make profits transporting cotton. These ships were able to break the blockades up until the latter part of the war when blockades were strengthened.
In 1862, the Confederates created the Merrimack, renamed the Virginia. It was an old U.S. wooden ship that was plated with metal armor. It was a great threat to the Northern blockades because it had the ability to crush through the wooden ships.
On March 9, 1862, the Union ironclad, the Monitor, and the Confederate Merrimack met and fought to a standstill.
The Pivotal Point: Antietam
After General Lee crushed McClellan's forces in Richmond, Lee moved northward. In the Second Battle of Bull Run (August 29-30, 1862), General Lee defeated General Pope's Union forces.