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Ch 6: Build Up to the American Civil War

About This Chapter

Find information about the different factors that led up to the American Civil War. Use the following video lessons and quizzes to learn about the conflict between anti-slavery and pro-slavery forces, as well as how the issue led to the establishment of the Confederate States of America.

U.S. History and Government: Build-Up to the American Civil War

By the 1860s, slavery was the driving force behind the economy in the South, and many Southerners were willing to go to extreme measures, even leave the Union and fight a war, in order to preserve it. The lessons in this chapter look at the economic, social and political factors that led to the American Civil War.

You'll study the institution of slavery, and learn about the slave trade. That lesson also explains how slavery was key to the cotton industry. The response of Southern politicians to attempts to restrict or abolish slavery are explored as well. Another lesson explains the abolitionist movement - what it entailed and who its leaders were. You'll get important information on this years-long drive to end slavery.

Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin had a major effect in making many Americans aware of the evils of slavery in the 1850s, contributing to the strength of the abolitionist movement. You'll learn about John Brown and his bloody raid on Harper's Ferry, Virginia, an attempt to start a slave uprising. Another lesson deals with 'Bloody Kansas' and the fighting that went on there between pro- and anti-slavery forces.

The role of government in slavery is also explored. The Supreme Court's decision in the Dred Scott case, denying Scott his freedom, is examined, as is President James Buchanan's role in protecting slavery. You'll look at the 1858 debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas and examine their significance. Lincoln's election, and the secession of Southern states that followed it, is explored, and you'll learn about the establishment of the Confederate States of America.

8 Lessons in Chapter 6: Build Up to the American Civil War
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Slavery in America: Cotton, Slave Trade and the Southern Response

1. Slavery in America: Cotton, Slave Trade and the Southern Response

Although slavery contradicted the American ideals of freedom, it was widespread across the country in the 17th and 18th centuries and foundational to the growth of the American economy. Learn about the history of slavery in America, how slavery spread, the slave trade, and slave revolts.

Abolitionist Movement: Important Figures in the Fight to End Slavery

2. Abolitionist Movement: Important Figures in the Fight to End Slavery

Americans like David Walker, William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglas, and Harriet Beecher Stowe drove the battle to end slavery. Learn about the decades of work that the abolitionist movement took as well as some of the strong figures who were integral in this movement and, ultimately, the abolishment of slavery.

Uncle Tom's Cabin and Tension Over Slavery in the 1850s

3. Uncle Tom's Cabin and Tension Over Slavery in the 1850s

In the 1850s, Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, 'Uncle Tom's Cabin,' detailed the injustices of slavery. Learn how this book, along with the Missouri Compromise and the Fugitive Slave Act, helped spur the United States into Civil War and the end of slavery on U.S. soil.

Bloody Kansas: Causes, Effects and Summary of Events

4. Bloody Kansas: Causes, Effects and Summary of Events

The term 'Bleeding Kansas' refers to the violence surrounding the issue of slavery in the Kansas territory. Learn about the tension between slave states and free states, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, who Charles Sumner was, and the cause and effects of Bloody Kansas.

Dred Scott v. Sanford and President Buchanan

5. Dred Scott v. Sanford and President Buchanan

In the court case Dred Scott v. Sanford, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that blacks (free or slaves) were not citizens and had no constitutional rights. Learn about the Dred Scott decision, President James Buchanan, and how these events led a divided America to the brink of the Civil War.

John Brown's Raid at Harpers Ferry: Fighting Slavery

6. John Brown's Raid at Harpers Ferry: Fighting Slavery

John Brown was an abolitionist who led an attack on Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Explore how the division between the North and the South and the election of Abraham Lincoln caused rumors of war, and discover John Brown's role in the fight against slavery.

The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858: Summary & Significance

7. The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858: Summary & Significance

In 1858, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas competed for a U.S. Senate seat and met for a series of seven debates. Learn who Lincoln and Douglas were, and explore the issues they discussed in their debates. Understand why these debates were significant and review Lincoln's House Divided Speech.

Lincoln's Election, Southern Secession & the New Confederacy

8. Lincoln's Election, Southern Secession & the New Confederacy

Four political parties contended for the presidency during the 1860 Presidential election. Abraham Lincoln won the election with 40% of the popular vote and became the 16th President of America. Learn about the 1860 Presidential election and the events that led to the formation of the Confederate States of America.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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More Exams
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