About This Chapter
Sectional Crisis & the Start of the Civil War (1850-1861) - Chapter Summary
The lessons in this chapter look at the decades-long tension over slavery and states' rights that finally exploded in the U.S. Civil War. Our instructors talk about how the publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin influenced public opinion. You'll learn about the events of Bloody Kansas, and study the impact of the Supreme Court's Dred Scott decision.
The significance of the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 is examined, as is Lincoln's election as president. You'll also see how the fighting started at Fort Sumter. When you've finished these lessons, you'll have better knowledge of topics including:
- Leaders of the abolitionist movement
- Causes and impact of Bloody Kansas
- President James Buchanan's policies
- John Brown and the Harpers Ferry raid
- Southern secession
These lessons are available anytime on a computer, tablet or smartphone. They're accompanied by a written transcript that lets you read along with the instructor. A clickable timeline links back to key parts of the lesson, making it simple to revisit areas that are giving you trouble.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. The Battle of Fort Sumter & the Start of the Civil War
South Carolina's attack on a U.S. military outpost triggered the American Civil War. Learn more about the Battle of Fort Sumter and the consequences of the fort's surrender to the Confederacy.
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Other chapters within the AEPA History (NT302): Practice & Study Guide course
- Historical Concepts & Research
- Understanding Historical Resources
- Events & Contributions of Early Civilizations
- Ancient Near East Civilizations
- The Bronze Age in the Near East
- Ancient Africa & the Americas
- Dynasties & Confucianism in Ancient China
- Culture & Beliefs of Ancient India
- Contributions & History of Ancient Greece
- Hellenism & Athens
- The Roman Republic Rises
- History of the Fall of Rome
- History of Early Christianity
- The Byzantine Empire & Culture
- The Origins of Islam
- Contributions of Medieval European Politics
- The Crusades & Church Reform in Medieval Europe
- The Hundred Years' War
- Asia in the Middle & Late Middle Ages
- Africa & the Americas in the Middle & Late Middle Ages
- History of the Renaissance
- The Protestant Reformation in Europe & Worldwide
- The Age of European Exploration & Discovery
- History of the Elizabethan Era
- Colonialism in Europe, Africa & the New World
- Major Figures & Events of the Scientific Revolution
- The Enlightenment
- Asia & Africa in the 15th-18th Centuries
- Political & Technological World Developments (1750-1914)
- European & Japanese Imperialism
- Battles & Consequences of World War I
- Causes & Events of World War II
- Civilizations of the Americas Before & After Colonization
- Colonial Settlements & Battles in North America (1497-1732)
- Events Leading to the American Revolution (1700-1774)
- Events & Leaders of the American Revolution
- The Birth of the United States (1776-1800)
- The Virginia Dynasty
- Jacksonian Democracy
- Everyday Life in Antebellum America
- Manifest Destiny & American Expansion
- Battles & Effects of the American Civil War (1861-1865)
- American Reconstruction & the Gilded Age (1865-1877)
- American Industrialization & Urbanization (1870-1900)
- Figures & Events of the Progressive Era (1900-1917)
- American Imperialism & World War I
- American Life & Culture During the Roaring 20s (1920-1929)
- The Great Depression in the U.S. (1929-1940)
- American Involvement in World War ll (1941-1945)
- World Events & Politics After World War II (1946-1959)
- Events & Presidents During the Cold War (1950-1973)
- American Civil Disobedience, Protests & Activism (1954-1973)
- America in the 1970s
- America in the 1980s
- Politics & Major Figures of Contemporary America (1992-2013)
- AEPA History Flashcards