Uncle Tom's Cabin
A powerful, personal novel that altered the course of American politics.
Impending Crisis of the South
A book by a southern writer that argued that slavery especially oppressed poor whites.
Rifles paid for by New England abolitionists and brought to Kansas by anti-slavery pioneers.
Term that described the prairie territory where a small-scale civil war erupted in 1856.
Tricky proslavery document designed to bring Kansas into the Union but blocked by Stephen A. Douglas.
Anti-immigrant party headed by former President Fillmore that competed with Republicans and Democrats in the election of 1856.
Dred Scott Case
Controversial Supreme Court ruling that blacks had no civil or human rights and that Congress could not prohibit slavery in the territories.
Panic of 1857
Sharp economic decline that increased northern demands for a high tariff and convinced southerners that the North was economically vulnerable.
Thoughtful political discussions during an Illinois Senate campaign that sharply defined national issues concerning slavery.
Constitutional Union Party
Newly formed middle-of-the-road party of elderly politicians that sought compromise in 1860, but carried only three border states.
First state to secede from the Union in December 1860.
Confederate States of America
A new nation that proclaimed its independence in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1861.
A last-ditch plan to save the Union by providing guarantees for slavery in the territories.
Election of 1860
Four-way race for the presidency that resulted in the election of a sectional minority president.
Period between Lincoln's election and his inauguration, during which the ineffectual President Buchanan remained in office.