01.08 Discussion-Based Assessment

Terms in this set (11)

"Compromise of 1850"

What: a series of congressional measures that allowed California to become a state, settled border disputes between Texas and New Mexico, and created the Fugitive Slave Act
Significance: The Compromise resolved the conflict between the Northern and Southern states regarding the legality of slavery in the territories, but increased tensions between abolitionists and slaveholders by allowing slaves in free states to be captured and returned to their owners through the Fugitive Slave Act.

"Dred Scott Decision"

When: 1854
What: A case in which Dred Scott, a slave, sued for his freedom based on the fact that he had lived in a free territory. The Supreme Court ruled that slaves were not citizens and could not sue, and that taking a slave from their owner was a violation of property rights.
Significance: The Court's ruling in the Dred Scott case established a precedent that prohibited the Federal government from regulating slavery, and effectively declared slavery to be protected by the Constitution.

"Kansas-Nebraska Act"

When: 1854
What: established Kansas and Nebraska as territories and stated that the slavery issue there would be decided by popular vote
Significance: Both Abolitionists and pro-slavery settlers went to Kansas in an attempt to sway the vote, resulting in violent conflict. The violence as a result of the Kansas-Nebraska Act shed light on the rising level of hostility between the North and the South.

"Emancipation Proclamation"

When: 1863
What: Lincoln's declaration that freed the slaves in the Confederate states
Significance: The Emancipation Proclamation shifted the focus of the war from reunification to the abolition of slavery. The proclamation encouraged African Americans that had not already fled the South for the North to run away from their owners. Many of these African Americans joined Union forces and helped them in their victory.

"Gettysburg Address"

When: 1863
Where: dedication of a military cemetery at Gettysburg
What: Lincoln's speech that recalled the principles of the country's founders
Significance: The Gettysburg Address, famous to this day, linked the Civil War to the principles of the Revolutionary War. It showed the conflict as a struggle for freedom and equality for all, rather than as just a reunification or an end to slavery.
Andrew Johnson

Who: Abraham Lincoln's vice president and, after Lincoln's assassination, president of the United States. Johnson was considered by many in the North to be too lenient toward white southerners. Johnson was the first president to be impeached, but he was found not guilty of the impeachment charges and remained in office.
Significance: Johnson and Congress fought over who would control Reconstruction. Many in the North wanted him to punish the South for the Civil War, but he refused.

Reconstruction Amendments

13th Amendment
When: 1865
What: outlawed slavery

14th Amendment
When: 1868
What: made African Americans citizens

15th Amendment
When: 1870
What: gave African American men the right to vote

Significance: The Reconstruction Amendments established equal rights for African-Americans in the Constitution.

Radical Republicans

Who: The Radical Republicans
What: The Radical Republicans were members of the Republican party who supported equal rights for African-Americans. They favored harsher terms for Reconstruction, including prohibiting ex-Confederates from holding political office. They opposed Johnson's more lenient policies, and eventually voted to impeach him.
Significance: The Radical Republicans gained control of Congress and began a harsher Reconstruction plan than Lincoln, Johnson, and more moderate Republicans wanted.

Freedmen's Bureau

What: The Freedman's Bureau was a federal agency created to provide assistance to freed slaves, such as housing, education, health care, and employment. It established a system of public schools for freed slaves throughout the South. It also settled civil disputes between African-American laborers and white employers.
Significance: The Freedman's Bureau established the first state-run public schools in the South.

Ku Klux Klan

Reconstruction by white Southerners who opposed emancipation. They used threats and violence against African Americans and white Republicans to try to end Reconstruction and restore white supremacy.
Significance: The activities of the Ku Klux Klan drove Congress to pass the Force Acts, which made the use of threats, violence, or bribery to influence voters on the basis of race a federal offense.


Who: Sharecroppers are farmers who are given the use of land in exchange for a portion of their harvest as rent. Following the Civil War, most freed slaves lacked the money to purchase farmland, and so became sharecroppers as a means of surviving.
Significance: Because most Southern landowners were white, sharecropping tended to keep former slaves below their former owners in social status.
What Were the Economic Causes of the Civil War?

The Anaconda Plan
At the outset of the war, Union General Winfield Scott developed a three-part strategy called the Anaconda Plan, after a snake that suffocates its prey by squeezing it. One part of the plan was to capture the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. Another part of the plan focused on controlling the Mississippi River, cutting the Confederacy in two. However, what hurt the Southern economy most was the blockade of Southern ports. This prevented the export of cotton and other cash crops, which made it difficult to get money for supplies. The Confederate government had no power to tax. As a result, their army was chronically short of food, weapons, and other crucial supplies.

A major economic issue dividing the North and South in the 1800s was tariffs. To protect developing industries in the North, the government created tariffs. These taxes were added to the price of imported goods, making them much more costly than goods made in the North. Tariffs forced Southerners to buy Northern goods. They became economically dependent on the North. Southerners saw Northern manufacturers profiting from them. It was the resentment over tariff issue that brought forth the Nullification Theory.

States' Rights vs. Federal Government
The struggle to balance states' rights and the rights of the federal government had emerged early in American history. Those fearing the Constitution gave too much power to the federal government supported the nullification theory. This theory argued that the Constitution was an agreement among the states. Each state had the right to reject, or nullify, any law it did not see as constitutional. Supporters believed that a state had the right to secede from the Union if the federal government tried to force it to accept a law it saw as unconstitutional.

What Were the Political Causes of the Civil War?

The Kansas-Nebraska Act
Back in the United States, California was not the only place where the question of slavery affected settlement. The Kansas-Nebraska Act, enacted in 1854, officially repealed the Missouri Compromise and gave residents the right to decide whether to allow slavery in their territories. The notion that popular sovereignty should settle the slavery issue in Kansas and Nebraska led to conflict and bloodshed there. Anti-slavery and pro-slavery settlers raced to the area to influence the slave or free vote. Violence between settlers with opposing ideas led the Kansas territory to be called "Bleeding Kansas."

The Dred Scott Decision
At the same time opposition to slavery was growing, the Dred Scott case arose to add to the tension. Scott, born a slave, had been brought from the slave state of Missouri to the free state of Illinois. He argued that because he had lived in Illinois, he should have his freedom. He sued for his release in 1854 in federal court. When the court ruled against him, his appeal went to the Supreme Court. There, Chief Justice Roger Taney determined that Scott's case had no merit because he was not a citizen and therefore could not sue. Taney further stated that slaves were the property of individuals. Property was protected in the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, which states that it is illegal for any person to "be deprived of ... property, without due process of law."

Founding of the Republican Party
To many in the anti-slavery movement, it was clear that a new political party was needed to speak for them. In 1854 the Republican Party was founded. The Republicans opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act and sought to keep slavery out of new territories. Tension was high between the Republicans and Democrats. In 1856, they literally came to blows as Senate Democrat Preston Brooks attacked Republican Senator Charles Sumner with a cane over an anti-slavery speech Sumner gave in Congress.

Lincoln-Douglas Debates
One of the most well-known contests between a Democrat and a Republican during this period was the 1858 race for an Illinois Senate seat. The election pitted Republican Abraham Lincoln against Democrat Stephen Douglas. The two participated in a series of meetings across the state. These came to be known as the Lincoln-Douglas Debates. The spread of slavery was a popular topic for the candidates. In the Freeport, Illinois, debate on August 27, 1858, Douglas introduced what came to be known as the Freeport Doctrine. In his speech, Douglas explained that even though the Supreme Court had said that slavery could not legally be kept out of any territory, the people of the territory would have the final decision. He insisted that local and state governments would, by the laws they created, decide if an area would allow slavery or not. Illinois citizens re-elected Douglas. However, it was Lincoln who would have the final victory. He defeated Douglas two years later in the race for the presidency.

John Brown
The political climate heated even more because of John Brown. Brown, who had been involved in the killing of five pro-slavery settlers during "Bleeding Kansas," now tried to initiate a slave uprising by seizing the federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia, in 1859. He wanted to use the weapons to arm the slaves. Brown was easily captured. After he was hanged for treason, Southerners celebrated. They were terrified by the idea that slave revolts might become popular. But Northerners saw Brown as a martyr for the cause of freedom. Many people in the North and South began to see armed conflict as inevitable.

What Social Causes Contributed to the War?

Underground Railroad

For many people opposed to slavery, the 1840s and 1850s became a time of desperation. They did not want to wait for the government to take action. Instead, as the abolitionist movement gained strength, whites and free African Americans developed a system to help slaves escape the South. The Underground Railroad was a network of people, called "conductors," and safe houses called "stations." The Underground Railroad helped slaves escape from the South and reach Northern states or Canada.

Harriet Tubman was one of the best known "conductors" from the Underground Railroad. An escaped slave, she made 19 trips back to the South, assisting over 300 slaves in their quest for freedom. She was never captured. The existence of the Underground Railroad infuriated Southerners. It seemed as if Northerners were deliberately breaking the law to steal the property of slave owners.

One key state in the Underground Railroad was Ohio. It was a free state across the Ohio River from Kentucky, a slave state. One abolitionist living in Cincinnati, on the banks of the Ohio, heard many reports of fugitive slaves crossing to freedom. Her name was Harriet Beecher Stowe. In 1852, Stowe's book Uncle Tom's Cabin became one of the fastest selling novels in history. This depiction of the cruelty of slave life moved thousands of Northerners to oppose slavery. Northerners felt moral outrage when they read about the awful treatment of slaves. Southerners on the other hand felt the book was an attack on the Southern way of life. Upon meeting Stowe, Lincoln is reported to have said, "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!"

Another female abolitionist added to the slavery debate. Sojourner Truth traveled around the country preaching, arguing for women's rights, and speaking against slavery. Although her anti-slavery message was too strong for some listeners, her pleas for women's rights earned her applause and admiration.
What Were the Political Consequences of the Civil War?

Lincoln's hope was to inspire African Americans to support the Union. He also hoped to discourage England and France from aiding the Confederacy. Neither foreign nation wanted to be considered "pro-slavery." The Emancipation Proclamation fell short of ending slavery in the United States. It only affected states that belonged to the Confederacy. Slavery in Border States that had not seceded from the Union remained untouched, though by 1863 most Union state legislatures had already outlawed slavery. Thanks to the proclamation, African Americans were allowed into the Union army and navy.

At a ceremony dedicating a cemetery for those who fell in the Battle of Gettysburg, President Lincoln addressed the crowd. Although he only spoke for two minutes, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address made a lasting impression on all Americans. He recalled the principles of the founding fathers and honored the sacrifices of the fallen soldiers.

The most unfortunate political consequence of the Civil War was Abraham Lincoln's death. On April 14, 1865, five days after Lee's surrender, John Wilkes Booth—an actor and Southern sympathizer—shot Lincoln.

What Were the Economic Consequences of the Civil War?

As a result of the Anaconda Plan and four years of war, the Southern economy was in ruins. Much of the war had been fought in the South. Sherman's march through Georgia and South Carolina utterly destroyed the region. Property values plummeted. Individuals and banks who had loaned money to the Confederate government had no hope of repayment.

The South faced yet another economic challenge. During the war, foreign nations that once bought Southern cotton began to produce their own. As a result, post-war cotton prices plunged dramatically. To make up for the difference, many growers produced more cotton. But the increased supply made prices plunge even further. Of course, the labor used for farming—free slave labor—was gone forever.

The North, having won the war, did not face the same difficulties as the South. Many of its industries remained intact, as did its government. Union currency still had value, and most Northerners did not experience the economic ruin that plagued the South. However, the North did not go untouched. Just like in the South, a large percentage of Union soldiers went home with injuries that prevented them from working.

What Were the Social Consequences of the Civil War?

The Civil War allowed African Americans to make progress in society. Following the Emancipation Proclamation, many free African Americans joined the Union army. Several African American regiments, including the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, were formed.

Although they were part of the army, African American soldiers still faced discrimination. Until Congress passed a law in 1864 granting equal pay, African American soldiers received less money and had to pay for their own uniforms. They also faced harsher treatment and possible enslavement if they were captured by Confederate troops. White officers leading "United States Colored Troops Regiments" faced death if captured by the enemy. Still, progress was being made. By the end of the war, sixteen African Americans had been awarded the Medal of Honor.

By the end of the Civil War, the Southern way of life had changed forever. The population was reduced as a result of war casualties. Farms and homes had been destroyed. The most significant change was the emancipation of slaves. African Americans were now free, and the Union was whole again.
At the end of the 19th century, many southern states created racial segregation laws that separated white citizens and African Americans in schools, hospitals, parks, and on railroads. These laws were known as Jim Crow laws, named for a white minstrel who blackened his face to create an offensive stereotype of an African American.

To many people, these segregation laws violated the Fourteenth Amendment, which holds that no state shall "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property." Arguments about the constitutionality of laws ensuring racial segregation finally reached the Supreme Court in 1896. In Plessy v. Ferguson, the court upheld segregation as constitutional. As long as the services provided to white and black citizens were of equal quality, it was legal for the races to be separated. However, equality in theory was very different from equality in practice.

Segregated Southern schools educated white students and African American students. But the white students had new textbooks and clean, well-lighted facilities. African Americans had to make do with torn, out-of-date books. Often several grades of African American students were crowded into a single room.

African Americans found themselves in a bitter struggle. They had to fight for their rights without the help of the federal government. It was the nadir of race relations in the United States. For many African Americans there was little choice. To remain in the South was to face poverty, violence, and discrimination. Leaving the South seemed to be the only option.
The federal government made guarantees of reserved land to Native Americans. However, the pressures of growth brought a string of broken promises for America's first people. As a result, Native Americans were forced further westward, robbed of their possessions and land, and sometimes massacred.

The Native Americans resisted these pressures as much as they could, but the period following the U.S. Civil War was disastrous for them. At the start of the 20th century, their land holdings had been greatly reduced. Their ability to fight had been nearly destroyed. Their lives were now lived out on reservations in territories that settlers had rejected.

When settlers wanted to take over land from the reservations, the treaties were renegotiated and Native Americans were forced to move again.

Contact with settlers often cost Native Americans more than their land. Settlers also spread diseases such as smallpox. An estimated 50,000 Native Americans died from disease after the discovery of gold brought a large number of settlers to the West. Although Native Americans had been pushed westward and supposedly out of the way of American settlement, their struggles were far from over.

In the late 19th century, the population of the Plains buffalo was destroyed by tourists, the railroad, fur traders, and sportsmen. George Custer and other military leaders organized buffalo hunts to help men practice riding and shooting at the same time. Some scholars suggest that military leaders were extremely aware of the harm the destruction of the buffalo caused Native Americans. The leaders encouraged the destruction, both officially and unofficially. For example, U.S Secretary of the Interior Delano, whose department was responsible for relations between the U.S government and Native Americans, once reported to Congress "the buffalo are disappearing rapidly, but not faster than I desire."

The environment on the reservations led to very poor social conditions. Reservations had high rates for suicide, alcoholism, poverty, and illiteracy. Some people questioned whether reservations could work for Native Americans. They began to argue that assimilation was a better option.
People often move because certain conditions are forcing them out of their current location or because there is something attractive about a different place that pulls them to live there. These forces are known as push-pull factors. The Homestead Act helped to pull settlers further west than before. Settlers were buying land that had once been home to natives for very low prices. The excitement of owning large pieces of land for a low price was enough to pull between 400,000 and 500,000 homesteaders west.

As settlers came to own land, those who had lived there before were pushed away from their homelands. To make the forced move more appealing, Native Americans were led to believe that reservations set up for them would provide the means for successful and happy lives. The promise of reservations helped move the Native Americans away from land that settlers wanted to buy.

The act that enabled many settlers to own land also caused Native Americans to be pushed west. By the end of the 19th century, much of the land in public domain had been lost to the Native Americans. This land was taken over by wealthy investors, railroads, and large businesses.

Congress passed the Dawes Act in 1887 to Americanize the Native American people. The act was designed to make independent farmers out of Native Americans by giving them land that was formerly part of their reservations. Each head of household received 160 acres, and each unmarried adult male received 80 acres. Any remaining land would be sold by the federal government. The proceeds were to be used to defray the costs of seed, farm machinery, and other costs incurred by new farmers.

Unfortunately, Native Americans received little or no money from the sale of excess lands. Much of the land allotted to them soon came under the control of outside groups. Often, speculators would buy areas of land for low prices from desperate Native Americans, who needed cash immediately and also spent the profits quickly.

Though well-intended, within twenty years the Dawes Act had stripped the tribes of most of their land and destroyed the reservation system.