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Ch 2: Rising Tension Over Slavery

About This Chapter

Watch history video lessons and learn about the Mexican-American War, the Dred Scott decision, the raid at Harper's Ferry and more. These lessons feature dynamic animations and graphics that bring to life the tensions that arose over slavery.

Rising Tension Over Slavery - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Instructors in this chapter can help you examine the political precedent set by the Missouri Compromise alongside the role newly acquired territories played in the debate over slavery. Follow Congress' divisive legislative decisions and find out how this dispute escalated into a clash between abolitionist and pro-slavery settlers in Kansas, foreshadowing the bloodshed to come. This chapter can help you understand the following:

  • Causes of the Mexican-American war
  • Consequences of legislative stances on slavery
  • Prominent figures in the abolitionist movement
  • Outcomes of the Dred Scott case
  • Public responses to the debate over slavery

Video Objective
Henry Clay and the Missouri Compromise of 1820 Depicts the increasing sectional tensions, as epitomized by the Missouri Compromise. Explores the role of America's second generation of politicians, beginning with Henry Clay.
The Mexican-American War, Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo & the Wilmot Proviso Describes the skirmish on disputed territory that lead to war with Mexico. Details the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo and the controversial Wilmot Proviso.
President Fillmore and the Compromise of 1850 Explains President Fillmore's support for a Congressional compromise that added new states from the Mexican cession. Discusses his attempts to resolve long-standing controversies over slavery.
Abolitionist Movement: Important Figures in the Fight to End Slavery Outlines important figures in the movement to end slavery, including Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman.
Bloody Kansas: Causes, Effects and Summary of Events Explores the unintended consequences of popular sovereignty: terror in Kansas and a cane fight on the Senate floor.
Dred Scott v. Sanford: Case Summary & Decision Details the landmark Supreme Court case that stripped citizenship from black Americans and overturned the Missouri Compromise of 1820.
John Brown's Raid at Harpers Ferry: Fighting Slavery Describes John Brown's raid on the arsenal at Harper's Ferry and the publication of The Impending Crisis of the South by Hinton Rowan Helper.
Primary Source: The Missouri CompromiseEvaluate how this document reflected the split ideologies in early 19th century U.S.
Primary Source: 'The Hypocrisy of America Slavery' by Frederick DouglassExamine how Douglass's journey became a major asset towards abolitionists's cause

9 Lessons in Chapter 2: Rising Tension Over Slavery
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Henry Clay and the Missouri Compromise of 1820

1. Henry Clay and the Missouri Compromise of 1820

The Missouri Compromise of 1820 was a United States legislation that admitted Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state. The significance of the compromise was that it sought to maintain balance between slave and free states in the Union. Learn about the role Henry Clay played in the enactment of the Missouri Compromise, the effects of the legislation, and Thomas Jefferson's arguments in the debate.

Primary Source: The Missouri Compromise

2. Primary Source: The Missouri Compromise

During the early 1800s, the United States was split between two fierce, opposing political ideologies: pro-slavery and anti-slavery. Slavery helped to power the agrarian economy of the Southern states, while Northern states abolished the practice of slavery.

The Mexican-American War, Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo & the Wilmot Proviso

3. The Mexican-American War, Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo & the Wilmot Proviso

The Mexican-American War was controversial and complex. Explore the roots of the war and learn about the Polk's War, the political war, the media war, the war on the battlefields, and the Treaty of Guadalupe.

President Fillmore and the Compromise of 1850

4. President Fillmore and the Compromise of 1850

Millard Fillmore took office following President Taylor's death in 1848, during a time of conflict in Congress regarding slavery in territories newly acquired via the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, a.k.a. 'Mexican cession.' Discover Fillmore's support of the Compromise of 1850, which included: California becoming a free state; slavery decisions in Utah and New Mexico; Texas being paid to move its border; abolishment of the Washington, D.C. slave trade, and the new Fugitive Slave Act.

Abolitionist Movement: Important Figures in the Fight to End Slavery

5. 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.

Bloody Kansas: Causes, Effects and Summary of Events

6. 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: Case Summary & Decision

7. Dred Scott v. Sanford: Case Summary & Decision

Dred Scott v. Sanford dragged a string of court cases on the subject of slave ownership all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Understand the details of the case through a summary and its decision, and explore the impact it had on society.

John Brown's Raid at Harpers Ferry: Fighting Slavery

8. 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.

Primary Source: 'The Hypocrisy of American Slavery' by Frederick Douglass

9. Primary Source: 'The Hypocrisy of American Slavery' by Frederick Douglass

Arguably the most famous abolitionist in American history, Frederick Douglass himself was a black slave who escaped from bondage in Maryland. His speeches and books helped advocate the antislavery cause.

Chapter Practice 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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