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

The United Sates was conceived on the idea of freedom and the rights of all people, but early on, an institution took hold that was the exact opposite of that idea. In this lesson, find out the roots of slavery in the States, how it took hold, how slaves lived, and how they resisted the bonds of slavery.

Abolitionist Movement: Important Figures in the Fight to End Slavery

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

The abolitionist movement spanned decades. Although slavery did not end peacefully, great Americans like William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Beecher Stowe were some of the driving forces behind the anti-slavery movement.

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

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

Uncle Tom's Cabin captured the plight of slaves in the 1850s like no other book. The novel, coupled with the Missouri Compromise and the Fugitive Slave Act, served to further strain the country, which was at a breaking point over the issue of slavery. This lesson details these events.

Bloody Kansas: Causes, Effects and Summary of Events

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

The events in the Kansas territory were a microcosm of the violent forces shaping the United States in the decade of the 1850s, forces that would ultimately lead to a disintegration of the Union itself. This lesson details what has come to be known as Bleeding Kansas and its impact on the issue of slavery.

Dred Scott v. Sanford and President Buchanan

5. Dred Scott v. Sanford and President Buchanan

The Dred Scott decision was one of the most important turning points in the debate over slavery in the United States. It came during the presidency of James Buchanan, a man well qualified but ill suited for the job of keeping the nation together. This lesson discusses both as we attempt to understand the dynamics that led to the American Civil War.

John Brown's Raid at Harpers Ferry: Fighting Slavery

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

John Brown was a man of strong convictions - so strong that he was willing to fight, to kill, and to die for them. These abolitionist beliefs led him from Kansas to Virginia, where he would pay the ultimate price. This lesson tells that story.

The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858: Summary & Significance

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

In an effort to secure their own appointments to the U.S. Senate, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas squared off in a series of seven debates in 1858. Find out why Douglas might have won in the short term but Lincoln won in the long term.

Lincoln's Election, Southern Secession & the New Confederacy

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

Learn about how Abraham Lincoln's election in the contentious 1860 presidential race set off a domino effect leading to the secession of South Carolina and six other states and the formation of the Confederate States of America.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Support