• Unit Title

     Unit 1 Foundations-Beginnings to Reconstruction
    Supplemental Material
    Causes of the Civil War


    Brief Description

    Bleeding Kansas

    When it was announced that popular sovereignty would decide the issue of slavery in the Kansas Territory, people on both sides of the issue flooded the territory in order to influence the vote.  When the pro-slavery forces won, the abolitionist forces did not accept the outcome.  Eventually fighting between the two forces broke out.  Many historians call it the war before the war.


    Caning of Sumner

    In 1856 Congressman Preston Brooks savagely attacked Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts.  Sumner had given a blunt and fiery speech against slavery two days before in which he had insulted one of Brook’s kinsmen, Senator Andrew Butler of South Carolina.  This event further intensified sectional conflict and dramatically illustrated the growing violence within the United States.


    The Dred Scott decision in 1857

    Dred Scott was a slave who unsuccessfully sued for his freedom.  He sued because he and his wife had lived in Illinois for a time, where slavery was illegal.  The Supreme Court ruled against him, essentially stating that a slave was property and did not have the right to sue in U.S. courts.  This angered northerners because they saw the decision as a way to expand slavery in the territories and in free states. As a result of this decision, the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional.

    Lincoln-Douglas Debates

    Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas took part in a series of debates when running for the vacant Senate seat in Illinois in 1858.  These debates put Lincoln on the national stage.  Douglas called for popular sovereignty to determine slavery in the west.  Lincoln called for a freeze on slavery to limit the institution to where it already existed.  Although Lincoln lost the election, the debates propelled him into the national spotlight.  


    John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry in 1859

    John Brown was a northern abolitionist who attempted to convince slaves to rise up and fight for their freedom.  His first move was an attempted raid on the U.S. arsenal at Harper’s Ferry.  Brown’s raid failed and he was tried, convicted, and executed for leading the rebellion.  This angered northerners, but more importantly it sent a message to southerners that abolitionists would violate the law in an effort to end slavery.


    Causes of the Civil War


    The Election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860

    When the Democratic vote was split between the Northern Democrats and the Southern Democrats, each with its own presidential candidate, it ensured victory for the Republican candidate, Abraham Lincoln.  This angered southerners because they viewed Lincoln as a sectional candidate who opposed slavery and whose party represented abolitionists.  Southerners saw this election as an attack on their way of life and evidence that they had no political power.   Southern states seceded from the Union following the election, leading to the Civil War.



    Southern states, starting with South Carolina, began to feel that they no longer had a voice in the federal government. This feeling was heightened following the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860.  Southern states believed that the only way to have liberty on their own terms was to leave the Union. They argued that they had joined the Union voluntarily and that because they had been wronged, they could leave the Union voluntarily.  They eventually formed the Confederate States of America.  Many people in the North insisted that the United States must remain intact.


    Fort Sumter

    The U.S. troops at Fort Sumter in South Carolina were desperate for supplies following the secession of South Carolina.  Abraham Lincoln agreed to send food to the troops, but no men or military supplies.  Southerners, eager to reclaim federal buildings and forts in the south, would not accept this.  The Confederate army attacked Fort Sumter to prevent the resupply, and this battle started the Civil War.


    Source:  Causes of the Civil War Timeline. NationMaster.com. Encyclopedia. 3 Feb. 2009 <http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Timeline-of-events-leading-to-the-American-Civil-War>.  

    Gettysburg Address

    "Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."

    --- President Abraham Lincoln, 1863



    Source:  The Gettysburg Address. The Avalon Project. Yale Law School. 3 Feb. 2009 <http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/gettyb.asp>.
    About/Point Chart
    Title : Gettysburg Address, 1863
    Author: Abraham Lincoln, United States President
    The text is ABOUT:
    The Author’s POINTS are:
    Describe the context of the writing, including what was going on in the United States and to whom the speech was delivered.

    Reconstruction Amendments



    XIII - Slavery Abolished, Passed by Congress January 31, 1865. Ratified December 6, 1865.


    1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.


    2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


    The 13th Amendment in my own words:










    XIV - Citizen rights not to be abridged, Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868

    1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of Electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the executive and judicial officers of a State, or the members of the legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

    3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or Elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State Legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

    4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

    5. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

    The 14th Amendment in my own words:









    XV - Race no bar to voting rights, Passed by Congress February 26, 1869. Ratified February 3, 1870.


    1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.


    2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.



    The 15th Amendment in my own words:







    Source:  Constitution of the United States:  Amendments XI – XXVII. The Avalon Project. Yale Law School. 3 Feb. 2009 <http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/amend1.asp>.

    Data Sets
    territorial growth
    Data Sets (2)

    Source: U.S. Territorial Maps. Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection.  University of Texas Libraries. 3 Feb. 2009 <http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/histus.html#growth.html>.

    Data Sets (3)

    Source:  Reynolds’s Political Map of the United States. Library of Congress. 3  Feb. 2009 <http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/african/images/reynomap.jpg>.

    Data Sets (4)

    Comparing the North and South in the Antebellum Period











    ·          The economy was based largely on industry, trade, and small farms.


    ·          The northern economy depended on paid workers.


    ·          Workers had poor working conditions and struggled to make a living.


    ·          Businesses in the north were more likely to transport goods by rail.


    ·          In 1860, there were 110,000 factories in the north.


    ·          In 1860, the northern states produced over $1.6 billion worth of goods.


    ·          Northern businesses were varied and included production of textiles, iron and steel, mining, lumber, cattle, and grain.


    ·          Railroads brought cheap farm products in from the west and the New England farmers could not compete. Many of these people left farms to find new jobs as factory workers.


    ·          By 1840s, there was an oversupply of workers in the Northeast.








    ·          The southern economy based largely on agriculture and cotton was the primary crop.


    ·          Cotton production relied heavily on the labor of slaves.


    ·          People were more likely to transport goods by canal than rail in the south.


    ·          In 1860, there were 20,000 factories in the South.


    ·          In 1860, the South produced $155 million worth of goods.


    ·          Cotton was the leading southern export.


    ·          Major crops produced included cotton, rice, sugar cane, and tobacco.


    ·          The southern states led the nation in livestock production.


    ·          The south developed a plantation system for cotton, rice, and sugar production.


    ·          There was limited industry in the South.


    ·          Southerners were dependent on Europe and the north for products and capital.



    Data Sets (5)

    Population 1790 to 1900


    Total Population

    Percent of Total Population

             Urban                   Rural


    3, 929, 214




    5, 308, 483




    7, 239, 881




    9, 638, 453




    12, 860,702




    17, 063, 353




    23, 191, 876




    31, 443, 321




    38, 558, 371




    50, 289, 209




    62, 979, 766




    76, 212, 168



    Cities with Largest Population
    1.  New York city, NY
    1.  New York city, NY
    2.  Philadelphia city, PA
    2.  Chicago, city, IL
    3.  Boston town, MA
    3.  Philadelphia city, PA
    4.  Charleston city, SC
    4.  St. Louis city, MO
    5.  Baltimore town, MD
    5.  Boston town, MA
    6.  Northern Liberties township, PA
    6.  Baltimore city, MD
    7.  Salem town, MA
    7. Cleveland city, OH
    8.  Newport town, RI
    8.  Buffalo city, NY
    9.  Providence town, RI
    9.  San Francisco, CA
    10. Marblehead town, MA
    10. Cincinnati city, OH


Last Modified on February 14, 2018