John C. Calhoun

.       Pro-slavery South Carolina Senator

.       Warned government leaders of the danger of abolitionists

.       Said blacks were inherently barbaric and slavery civilized them

.       In 1837 speech, warned of disunion over issue of slavery


Jefferson Davis

.       First and only President of Confederacy

.       Mississippi Senator at time of secession crisis

.       Originally argued against secession but went along with his state's vote for it


Stephen A. Douglas

.       Powerful Illinois Senator throughout the 1850s

.       Sponsored 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act, which led to creation of Republican Party

.       Best known for engaging Lincoln in series of debates in 1858 Illinois Senate race

.       Douglas defeated Lincoln in 1858 senate election, before Lincoln easily defeated Douglas in 1860 presidential race


Thomas Jefferson

.       Third U.S. president; principal author of Declaration of Independence

.       Virginia slaveholder but envisioned gradual end to slavery

.       Authored 1787 Northwest Ordinance, which barred slavery north of Ohio River

.       His Ordinance drove first wedge between "free" North and slaveholding South


Abraham Lincoln

.       Anti-slavery Republican, elected U.S. President, 1860

.       Lost to Democrat Stephen Douglas in 1858 Illinois Senate race, but that campaign earned him Republican nomination for president, 1860

.       Moderate stance on emancipation; not abolitionist, but against slavery's expansion

.       His election triggered secession crisis, which led to Civil War


Dred Scott

.       Virginia slave who migrated with his owner to Missouri in 1820s

.       Sold to military man posted in Illinois, a free state; tried but failed to buy his family's freedom, so sued for freedom instead

.       U.S. Supreme Court rejected his appeals, but he eventually was freed by his owners


Roger B. Taney

.       Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, beginning in 1835

.       Delivered majority opinion in Dred Scott case, 1857

.       Struck down part of Missouri Compromise that barred slavery in northern territory, arguing that Constitution protected slavery

.       Argued blacks had "no rights that a white man is bound to respect," so Scott had no right to sue


Nat Turner

.       Virginia slave preacher in early 1800s

.       In 1831, led major slave rebellion that left over 50 whites dead before Turner and other leaders caught and executed

.       His revolt convinced southern leaders that laws protecting slavery (and punishing rebels) had to be strengthened


Eli Whitney

.       Invented the cotton gin in the late eighteenth century

.       Yale graduate and blacksmith who took management job on Georgia plantation

.       His machine revolutionized cotton production by speeding cotton seed removal

.       Made cotton profitable, inadvertently leading to huge growth in slavery




1787 Northwest Ordinance

.       Federal measure drafted by Thomas Jefferson, a Virginia slaveholder

.       Allowed for creation of several new states north of Ohio River

.       Each new state could be equal member in Union as long as it prohibited slavery

.       Drove first major wedge between "free" North and slaveholding South


1820 Missouri Compromise

.       Drafted to limit spread of slavery while allowing Missouri to practice slavery

.       Admitted Missouri to the Union as slave state, Maine as free state

.       Banned slavery in all other territory above 3630'

.       Only seemed to solve disputes between slave and free factions


1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act

.       Sponsored by Stephen A. Douglas, Democratic senator from Illinois

.       Allowed settlers in new territories to vote on status of slavery in Northwest

.       Repealed 1820 Missouri Compromise and prohibition of slavery in Northwest

.       Controversy surrounding act led to creation of antislavery Republican Party


1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford

.       Supreme Court case regarding legality of slavery in free states

.       Dred Scott, a slave, sued for his freedom by arguing that his owner took him into the free state of Illinois and thus made him free

.       Chief Justice Roger B. Taney delivered majority opinion against Dred Scott

.       Struck down part of Missouri Compromise that barred slavery in Northwest, ruled blacks had no rights


1858 Lincoln-Douglas Debates

.       Series of public debates held during 1858 Illinois Senate race

.       Republican Abraham Lincoln versus incumbent Democrat Stephen A. Douglas

.       Major topic of debate was expansion of slavery

.       Douglas won the election, but Lincoln's strong performance in debates earned him Republican nomination for president in 1860


1860 Presidential Election

.       Abraham Lincoln wins 4-way race to become first Republican president

.       Democratic Party split into factions before election

.       Lincoln won despite receiving zero electoral votes in 10 southern states

.       South Carolina seceded from Union in response to Lincoln's victory


1861 Fort Sumter Attack

.       First shots fired in American Civil War, 12 April 1861, at Union-controlled Fort Sumter in South Carolina

.       Jefferson Davis, president of Confederacy, ordered strikes against Union forces

.       Attack spurred U.S. President Abraham Lincoln to call for war against Confederacy





Republican Party

.       Founded in 1854 during controversy surrounding Kansas-Nebraska Act

.       Motivated by one goal: to prevent the spread of slavery

.       After 1858 Illinois Senate race, Abraham Lincoln became its most promising politician


Liberty Party

.       Abolitionist political party created in 1830s

.       First political party to object to existence of slavery in U.S.

.       Never very popular


Democratic Party

.       Dominant political party of antebellum period; strongly influenced by southern slaveholders

.       Rift grew between northern and southern Democrats in years leading up to the war

.       Some northern Democrats joined the newly created Republican Party in the 1850s

.       Further split in months before 1860 presidential election, when many southern delegations withdrew from Democratic Convention


Whig Party

.       One of two major parties from 1830s to 1850s, represented alliance of pro-development southerners and rich northern merchants and industrialists

.       Pursued modern society built on federal aid for industry, tariffs, national bank

.       Abraham Lincoln's first political party

.       Controversy over 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act led to its demise






.       Unlike antislavery advocates, attacked slavery mainly on moral grounds and demanded immediate end to slavery

.       Politically powerful, despite comprising only a small portion of total northern population

.       Southern slaveholders and political leaders feared they would incite war

.       Lincoln was not an abolitionist



.       Antislavery advocates were not necessarily abolitionists

.       Opposed mainly to expansion of slavery into American territories rather than seeking its abolition in the South

.       Posed threat, like abolitionists, to slaveholding South

.       Argued that free labor and not slave labor was key to the nation's future


.       A congressional agreement to censor all discussion of emancipation in Congress, mid-1830s

.       Demanded by southern leaders

.       Most northern Whigs voted against it, most northern Democrats for it

.       Abolitionists responded by flooding Congress with emancipation petitions


"Peculiar Institution"

.       Historical term for slavery in the United States

.       Called "peculiar" because it was essential to the nation's economy while also so divisive as to result in political upheaval and war



Secession Crisis

.       Sequence of events that led to the creation of Confederate States of America

.       Reaction to election of Republican Abraham Lincoln as president, 1860

.       South Carolina was the first to secede, 20 December 1860

.       SC's action triggered quick secession of 6 more states: MS, FL, AL, GA, LA, TX

.       Lincoln tried but failed to use negotiation to resolve the crisis






.       Threatened sectional balance of power when it sought to enter the Union as a slave state in 1820

.       Resulting Missouri Compromise banned extension of slavery to other territories farther north



.       Controversy over whether Kansas should enter Union as free or slave state led to near civil-war conditions there from 1854-1859