The road to the Civil War was a long and shaky path. From 1840 to 1860, a number of treaties and compromises were established in an attempt to avert potentially deadly conflicts and/or southern secession. Regardless, nothing could prevent the outcome that was the Civil War. All that these treaties and compromises did was merely postpone the War.   The first of these compromises was initiated by the Wilmot Proviso. At the time, the democrats were divided by the issue of expansion and slavery. The U.S was rapidly expanding into new lands and David Wilmot feared that slavery in these new lands would be too much competition for white presbyterians looking for work. Wilmot introduced the legislation on August 8, 1846. It passed in the House of Representatives, but was killed off in the southern Dominated Senate. The compromise of 1850 was soon established to please both sides of the argument. After the Mexican-American War, new land was acquired and inorder to settle the dispute of slavery in these lands, the compromise stated that California was a free state and the question of slavery in New Mexico and Utah would be settled through popular sovereignty. It also ended the slave trade in D.C and made it easier for white southerners to retrieve runaway slaves; Also known as the Fugitive Slave Act. The new law provided southern slaveholders with arms needed to capture runaway slaves. The more controversial portion of this law was that it also forcibly compelled citizens to assist in the capture of runaway slaves. This act was heavily criticised in the north and arguably did more harm than good. It was virtually impossible to enforce in some northern states and helped push the “North vs South” mentality. With the development of the Industrial Revolution, railroads began being built within the United States. The majority of which were being built in the North. Railroads dramatically made the transportation of people and goods much quicker and helped boost the North’s economy. During the Civil War, the North gained an advantage due to the fact that they had more railroads to transport food,soldiers, and goods much quicker than the South. As a result of the growing divisions within the United States, the Know-Nothing party was formed. The Know-Nothing party was based on anti-immigration and anti-abolitionist principles. Their goal was to keep the control of the government in the hands of natural born citizens. They eventually disbanded when their presidential candidate, Millard Fillmore, only won one state. Regardless, the Know-Nothing party served as a clear example of just how much the issue of Slavery was tearing at the United States. One of the ways the North combated the South’s unwillingness to end slavery was through the introduction of the Underground Railroad. The underground railroad was a series of networks that helped 1000’s of slaves escape the clutches of slavery. Runaway slaves stayed in private homes, churches, school houses, and due to the Fugitive Slave Act, many left for Canada. The Underground Railroad was an example of how the compromises and treaties were not working. Instead it proved to be another factor contributing to the Civil War.In 1952, Harriet Beecher Stowe published the book, ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’. The book explored the morality in slavery through religious, legal, and social lenses. It unexpectedly sold in remarkably high numbers, (300,000 copies). The novel further aggravated the issue of slavery in the United States, It forced to people to begin talking and naturally, they began taking sides. Upon meeting Harriet, Abraham Lincoln famously said, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!”After a rebellion in Haiti, Spanish officials began suggesting the idea of emancipation in Cuba. White southerners feared the thought of having freed slaves so close to their shores so they took the offensive, and began “negotiating” with Spain, under the instructions of SoS William Marcy. Their terms were that Spain must sell them the island for $120 million or else it it will be taken by force. The Franklin Pierce administration never authorized the negotiations so the sale never happened. Instead, this shows just how desperate and how far the South would go in order to keep their slaves.The Kansas-Nebraska came after the Missouri Compromise was repealed. It stated that newly formed states would decide the issue of slavery through means of popular sovereignty. The act was a massive failure. Rival governments were established in Kansas, and the area was divided between Pro-slavery Missourians and Abolitionist. The groups became very hostile and Kansas was nicknamed “Bleeding Kansas”. For example, John Brown, an abolitionist believed that the only way to deal with pro-slavery supporters was though death. In the middle of the night, Brown and his 7 supporters entered a pro-slavery town calle Pottawatomie Creek. One by one, Brown beheaded helpless victims and killed the sons of a rival of his. The South was understandably outraged and violence within Kansas soon began. It served as a foreshadowing to the Civil WarIn the midst of “Bleeding Kansas”, Sen. Charles Sumner gave a passionate speech on the Senate floor criticising the “murderous robbers from Missouri” and while doing so he also criticized Sen. Andrew Butler. Rep. Preston Brook took great offense to it and beat Sen. Sumner with a cane. The senate attempted to ban Rep. Brooks from the floor but not enough votes were acquired, he eventually resigned and was seen as a hero in the South. The North on the other hands, took this as a sign of Southern aggression and the event when all said and done, just further aggravated North and Southern relations. After the fall of the Whig party, anti-Slavery members began meeting in the upper mid-western states to discuss the formation of a new party. The member agreed to form the Republican party which would focus primarily on the disbandment of slavery within the United States. The election of 1856 soon took place and one of the major topics was the issue of slavery. Democratic candidate James Buchanan won with 174 electoral votes while the newly formed Republican party candidate, John C. Freemont won 45% of the Northern votes. This scared white southerners who feared that the Republican party could one day take hold of the national government .  Another contributor to the hostile North and South relations was the Dredd Scott decision. The Dredd Scott decision was a ruling in the supreme court which declared that even though Dredd Scott, a slave, resided in a free state/territory, he was not entitled to his freedom. John Brown returned in the picture once again when he marched into Harper Ferry and attempted to instigate a slave rebellion. Brown was eventually caught and hanged. His legacy would be one of the main reasons that the South chose to secede. The election of 1860 proved to be an important election for the impending Civil War. Abraham Lincoln won the race for the Republican Party and as a direct result, deep southern states began seceding from the United States. Kentucky Senator John J. Crittendon attempted to divert the crisis by proposing 6 amendments to appease the south. The compromise would permanently secure slavery in the South, compensated owners of runaway slaves, restored the Missouri Compromise, which repealed the Kansas-Missouri Act. The compromise was supported by many prominent Southern leaders, but was ultimately killed off by Abe Lincoln and other Northern Leaders. With that said, South Carolina called a convention of secession from the United States, and within 3 months of Lincoln’s inauguration, 7 states had seceded from the United States. The Civil War had officially begun. From 1840-1860, the United States of America was in a very delicate time. Marred by the issue of slavery, the nation was divided between two people; North and South, Abolitionist and Pro-Slavery. Attempts to ease tensions through compromises and treaties were enacted but more often than not they did more harm than good. Nothing could stop the inevitable Civil War.

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