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name for wealthy planters who made their money from cotton in the mid-1800s; the slave owners of the south; manage to mute resentment of their power by providing assistance and equipment to poor farmers; took a paternal role over slaves, family, and community


dependence on a single agricultural commodity; this is how the south was with cotton; "cotton is king"


The poorest whites in the south; usually tenant farmers, but at least they're higher than slaves


Southerners who don't own slaves, make up 2/3 of the population; mostly democrats and small farmers


a policy of treating subject people as if they were children, providing for their needs but not giving them rights; masters view themselves as the head of their "family" of slaves; believe they take better care of their slaves than northern industries do of their workers

Black belt

A zone known as the Black Belt held productive soil for cotton to flourish. As cotton was becoming popular in the area, slavery also expanded; this was made possible by the invention of the cotton gin and the number of slaves being sold down the river

peculiar institution

A euphemism for slavery and the economic ramifications of it in the American South. The term aimed to explain away the seeming contradiction of legalized slavery in a country whose Declaration of Independence states that "all men are created equal". It was one of the key causes of the Civil War.

Gabriel's Rebellion

1800 rebellion planned by a Virginian slave and blacksmith who communicated through his work; planned to march 1,000 on the city; a storm disables the plan and the rebels are crushed after someone leaks the plan to the governor

Denmark Vesey

A free black from Charleston who gained his own freedom; as a preacher, he organizes his followers into a revolt in 1822 ; plan to load slaves onto a ship that is heading for Haiti- plan is betrayed by a house slave and the militia increases their guard and arrests the leaders

American Colonization Society

founded in 1816 with a movement to send ALL blacks back to Africa, even those born in America; want to create a white republic; incredible racism associated with antislavery


a West African nation founded in 1822 by the American Colonization Society to serve as a homeland for the blacks

William L. Garrison

radical abolitionist and author of the Liberator; called for immediate abolition of slavery with no compensation to the owners; used moral suasion in his works; uncompromising and harsh in principle

American Anti-slavery society

founded in 1833; they condemn colonization, push the liberty rhetoric, call for immediate abolition without compensation, and use moral suasion; want to talk to people rather than force them- comes from second great awakening ideal of change from within to save ones heart; eventually splits over whether to use political force or moral suasion

The Liberator

published by Garrison in 1831, calls for immediate abolition

David Walker

Black who calls for violent and sudden emancipation; praises slaves who kill masters; his publications are banned in the south

Frederick Douglass

greatest black abolitionist; escaped slave who lectured widely despite threats; looks to politics to end slavery

Nat Turner's Rebellion

An extremely religious Virginia slave, Nat Turner, gets a calling to to take action for freedom of all slaves; 1831 killing rampage , gathers slaves and moves across plantations; 60 whites killed, making it the most successful rebellion in terms of deaths; causes virginians to consider abolition of slavery but instead make slave codes more strict

Gag Rule

All petitions to congress regarding slavery and the slave trade in D.C. are automatically tabled (ignored); violation of the first amendment right to petition; also petition against the admission of TX as a state; many women get involved with signing petitions

Elijah P. Lovejoy

abolitionist who ran a printing press in Illinois; in 1837, his press was attacked and he was killed; many abolitionists were not well received in the north because of the chance of splitting the union

Liberty Party

New party formed when they broke from the AASS; argues for political action rather than moral suasion; highly critical of the slave power; ran candidates for president; favor abolitionism, natural rights,and higher law

Free Soil Party

Party that calls for free soil, free speech, free labor, and free men; resisted extension of slavery into the territories; composed of a hogde podge- conscience whigs, barnburner democrats, and liberty party; however most are anti-black, and are only against slavery because they want an all white republic; favor wilmot proviso and no expansion of slavery

Herrenvolk democracy

The equality of whites is guaranteed by racial slavery; "at least I'm not a slave"


northern congressmen who are molded into southerners

Lyman Beecher

Presbyterian clergyman, temperance movement leader and a leader of the Second Great Awakening of the United States.

Arthur and Lewis Tappan

Brothers born in Northampton, Massachusetts who united with Theodore D. Weld to form the American Anti-Slavery Society. Brothers also gave financial support to Oberlin College in Ohio.

Harriet Tubman

American abolitionist. Born a slave on a Maryland plantation, she escaped to the North in 1849 and became the most renowned conductor on the Underground Railroad, leading more than 300 slaves to freedom.

James H. Hammond


Sojourner Truth

American abolitionist and feminist. Born into slavery, she escaped in 1827 and became a leading preacher against slavery and for the rights of women.

DeBow's Review

A southern journal that lamented the south's dependence on the north, almost as if they were a colony of the north; calls for southern internal improvement, helps convince many southerners to secede

AASS mail controversy

AASS mails abolitionist propaganda to the south; southerners fear it will cause slave rebellion; 1835 Charleston postmaster allows mob tot destroy the mail; Jackson urges locals to suppress publications- causes controversy over freedom of press

Fifty four forty or fight

US wanted to establish control over the territory south of the 54 40 line and threatened war with British if they didn't agree

William Henry Harrison

Whig war hero who became president in 1840 but died just 1 month later, leaving John Tyler as the accidental president

John Tyler

Accidental president in 1840; starts as a whig but is thrown out of the party due to his democratic tendencies; democrat, supports expansion

Texas Annexation

TX proclaimed its independence in 1836 but remained a territory for 10 years because adding it to the US would agitate the question of slavery; President Tyler annexes it after the election of 1844, he feels the election of Polk is a mandate from the people that he should annex the land; he uses the joint resolution to get TX

Manifest Destiny

America's duty or destiny is to conquer the savage lands and peoples of the west and to bring Godly civilization; encourages westward movement and the vision of the west as egalitarian, full of opportunity, and open to all

Webster-Ashburton Treaty

1840s controversy over Maine boundary; BR want to build a road that runs through the territory and this leads to clashes; compromise between US and BR where land is split, BR get less land but they get their proposed route;

James K. Polk

"dark horse" candidate nominated by the Democrats in 1844 with a platform of annexation of TX and Oregon, a lower tariff, restoration of the independent treasury

Mexican War

Mexico responds to the annexation of TX by severing diplomacy and building army; after a skirmish on disputed territory, Polk declares war in 1846- although his reasons were shaky;

Zachary Taylor

sent by Polk as an envoy to Mexico to offer money for the territory- they are rejected; As a war hero, he is nominated by the Whigs for presidency in 1848; he died during presidency, leaving Millard Fillimore as president

Wilmot Proviso

PA Democrat David Wimot proposed an amendment rider in 1846 that would ban slavery in any territory taken from MX; it was rejected and the direct response was the John C. Calhoun resolutions that declared the territories to be joint property of all states, laws against slavery interfere with equality of states rights, and that congress can't discriminate against the states

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

1848- US defeated MX; US got california, new mexico, and the rio grande as the southern border of TX; US paid $18 million for the land even though they won the war;

John C. Fremont

captain and explorer in CA when the Mexican war broke out- he helped overthrow MX rule in CA; Nominated by the Republicans in the election of 1856 on the platform of free soil, free speech, but anti-black

Popular sovereignty

idea that states should decide themselves when they are formed whether or not to have slavery

Aroostook war

Boundary dispute between settlers in Maine and New Brunswick in 1838 to 1839. Issue settled by Webster Ashburton treaty.

Bear Flag Republic

aka the California republic; the result of a revolt by Americans on June 14, 1846, in the town of Sonoma against the authorities of the Mexican province of California; the Republic lasted less than a month. The republic eventually became the present-day state of California.

John L. O'Sullivan

coined the term "manifest destiny" in 1845 to justify the movement of Americans west

Oregon Trail

2,000 mile trail to the Oregon territory; between 1840-60 many americans took this journey to oregon, which made the British fearful of the increasing population

State of Deseret

The State of Deseret was a provisional state of the United States, proposed in 1849 by Latter-day Saint settlers in Salt Lake City. The provisional state existed for slightly over two years and was never recognized by the United States government. The name derives from the word for "honeybee" in the Book of Mormon. It was at bold proposal to the government by Brigham Young to create a state that encompassed all of present day Utah, most of Nevada, parts of New Mexico, California, Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon.


Hotheaded southern agitators who pushed for southern interests and favored secession from the Union


groups who flocked to CA in 1849 to take advantage of the gold rush; very few are successful but many make money selling supplies and whatnot to the miners; large population increase makes CA big enough for statehood;

Underground railroad

network of stations to shuttle escapees north

Prigg vs. Pennsylvania

1842: Court ruled return of fugitive slaves was a federal power, thus making unconstitutional Pennsylvania's law prohibiting the capture and return of fugitive slaves.

Ableman vs. Booth

(1859), case in which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld both the constitutionality of the Fugitive Slave Act and the supremacy of the federal government over state governments

Fugitive Slave law

1. fugitive slaves= under federal jurisdiction, they can't escape the law by going to other states
2. US commissioners could issue arrest warrants for slaves upon word of the slaveholder- the commissioner would be paid for each warrant
3. officials could force locals to provide aid in hunting the fugitive with heavy fines for refusal
4. caught slaves had no right to trial by jury even if they claimed to be freemen
5. negligent marshals could be sued if an escaped slave wasn't found
-this angers the north and greatly increases the number of northerners who care

personal liberty laws

northerners pass these in response to the fugitive slave law; The laws were designed to protect free blacks, freedmen, and fugitive slaves by effectively nullifying the Fugitive Slave Law without actually invoking the doctrine of nullification.

higher law

slavery is wrong because the bible says it is; liberty party favors abolitionism, natural rights,and higher law

Nashville conference

southern delegates met at nashville after the compromise of 1850 to consider their options; consider secession but nothing is done

Compromise of 1850

proposed by Clay and then divided into separate bills by Stephen A. Douglas;
1. CA became a free state
2. With the TX and NM Act, the boundaries were adjusted and popular sovereignty would determine slavery in NM
3. Utah Act- popular sovereignty would determine slavery in Utah
4. Fugitive Slave Law
5. abolition of slave trade in D.C.


A term used to describe several groups that invaded various latin american areas and attempted to add them to slave holding regions of the US

Ostend Manifesto

a document drawn up in 1854 that instructed the buying of Cuba from Spain, then suggested the taking of Cuba by force. It caused outrage among Northerners who felt it was a Southern attempt to extend slavery as states in Cuba would be southern states.

Treaty of Wanghia

The first diplomatic agreement between China and America in history, signed on July 3, 1844. Since America signed as a nation interested in trade instead of colonization, it was rewarded with extraordinary amount of trading power.

Clayton-Bulwer Treaty

1850 - Treaty between U.S. and Great Britain agreeing that neither country would try to obtain exclusive rights to a canal across the Isthmus of Panama. Abrogated by the U.S. in 1881.

Matthew Perry

Commodore of the US Navy who opened up Japan with the Treaty of Kanagawa

Treaty of Kanagawa

an 1854 agreement between the United States and Japan, which opened two Japanese ports to U.S. ships and allowed the United States to set up an embassy in Japan.

Gadsden purchase

US pays an additional $10 million for the purchase of a small strip of MX land; they want it because they believe it is the ideal place to build part of the transcontinental railroad;

Stephen A. Douglas

Illinois senator who took Clay's proposals and packagaed them into seperate bills so that they would have a better chance of passing; a rising star in 1850, he was short lived

Young America Movement

the confident, manifest destiny spirit of the Americans in the 1850's. Expansionists began to think about transmitting the dynamic, democratic spirit of the US to other countries by aiding revolutionaries, opening up new markets, and annexing foreign lands

Harriet Beecher Stowe

wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin in 1851; it was an influencial work on fugitive slaves; sold 300,000 copies in the first year; caused much sectionalism and converted even more northerners to anti-slavery; helps start the war

Hinton R. Helper

author of the Impending Crisis of the South; he used statistics to prove that non-slaveholding whites suffered the most from slavery; his work was banned in the south and spread in the north

George Fitzhugh

Sociology for the South, or the Failure of Free Society,The most influential propagandist in the decade before the Civil War. In his Sociology (1854), he said that the capitalism of the North was a failure. In another writing he argued that slavery was justified when compared to the cannibalistic approach of capitalism. Tried to justify slavery.

Kansas-Nebraska Act

proposed by Stephan A. Douglas in 1854; Nebraska territory to be split into Kansas and Nebraska; both would have popular sovereignty but it was assumed that Nebraska would be free and Kansas would be slave; it contradicts the Missouri compromise which forbid slavery in that territory- the north is angry that the pact is brushed aside so lightly; repeals miss. comp. and indirectly repeals comp. of 1850 because northerners decide to refuse to follow it

Lecompton Constitution

a proslavery scheme in kansas; people have to vote for the constitution either with slavery or without slavery but if they vote against slavery, part of the constitution protects the owners that are already in Kansas; slavery either way; free-soilers boycott the polls and proslavery is passed; Buchanan supports this and causes a split in the democrat party; Douglas submits the constitution to popular vote and the free soilers return to the polls;

Bleeding Kansas

civil war in 1856 Kansas after 2 separate governments are set up- one proslavery and one free soil ; a sequence of violent events involving Free-Staters and pro-slavery "Border Ruffians" elements that took place in Kansas Territory and the western frontier towns of the U.S. state of Missouri between roughly 1854 and 1858 attempting to influence whether Kansas would enter the Union as a free or slave state.


Rise in the 1830s after an influx of Irish immigrants; Protestant americans talked of the catholic menace to republicanism and wanted amended naturalization laws to make it harder for Irish to come to america


Nativist sentiment grows and many Whigs jump to the Know Nothing Party after faltering in the election on 1852; fastest growing party by 1854; they denounced catholicism, favored increasing citizenship requirements, favored preventing city bosses from organizing immigrant votes, and favored temperance;

Dred Scott vs. Sanford

1857 Supreme court case ruled by Roger B. Taney; Scott sues for freedom after living with his master on free soil for 5 years; court decides that Scott has not right to a trial and that slaves are property so they can be taken legally into any territory, free or slave; calls missouri compromise unconstitutional because congress had no power to ban slavery from any territories; republicans and free soilers refuse to honor the decision, fear that slavery will spread anywhere

Roger B. Taney

Chief of Justice who ruled on the Dred Scott case in 1857

Republican Party

Developed out of the splitting of the democrats in the Kansas-nebraska act; moral protest against slavery; purely sectional party

John Brown

dedicated to the abolition cause and angered by the burning of a free soil town in Kansas, he leads a group on a violent retaliation raid of slave holders ; later, he seizes the Harpers Ferry federal arsenal in 1859; he is hung and becomes a martyr for the freedom cause

Abraham Lincoln

rises as a republican and runs for senate seat against Douglas; he loses but then wins the presidential election of 1860; his platform was no extension of slavery, a protective tariff, no abridgment of rights for immigrants, a Pacific railroad, internal improvements, and free homesteads; he pleases all northern groups, but because of his election SC secedes

Preston Brooks

Andrew Butler's kinsman, he beat Sumner with a cane after his insulting speech

Charles Sumner

Antislavery senator who gave his speech "Crime Against Kansas" which insults Andrew Butler and SC

Lincoln-Douglas debates

1858 Senate Debate, Lincoln forced Douglas to debate issue of slavery, Douglas supported pop-sovereignty, Lincoln asserted that slavery should not spread to territories, Lincoln emerged as strong Republican candidate; Lincoln argued that the country couldn't be half free and half slave; he challenged Douglas to apply the Dred Scott decision to popular sovereignty

Freeport doctrine

came out of the Lincoln-Douglas debates; Douglas said that no matter how the supreme court ruled, slavery would stay down if the people voted it down; this was unpopular with southerners and further split the democratic party

Jefferson Davis

elected president of the Confederacy in 1861

Crittenden Compromise

Senator Crittenden proposed amendments to the constitution to appease the south; proposed no slavery above the 36 30 line but south of the line would receive federal protection in all future territories; Lincoln rejects this and the war begins soon after

Confederate States of America

11 states that seceded from the Union, beginning with South Carolina, form the Confederacy in 1861; this occurs during the lame duck phase of Lincoln's election and Buchanan does not stop the secession because there was no constitutional backing, no strong army, no public support, he has pro south advisors, and there was still hope of reconciliation;

Slave Power thesis

South has too much power; they have a disproportionate hold over congress because of the 3/5 clause, most presidents are from the south, congress is full of doughfaces, southerners stop discussion of slavery with the gag rule, presidents from the south use patronage to have proslavery men appointed

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