They claimed obedience to “higher law” over obedience to the Constitution’s guarantee that a fugitive from one state would be considered a fugitive in all states.The fugitive slave act along with the publishing of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s was published in serial form in an anti-slavery newspaper in 1851 and in book format in 1852.
Slavery was interwoven into the Southern economy even though only a relatively small portion of the population actually owned slaves.
Slaves could be rented or traded or sold to pay debts.
When the Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 presidential election, Southern fears that the Republicans would abolish slavery reached a new peak.
Lincoln was an avowed opponent of the expansion of slavery but said he would not interfere with it where it existed.
One abolitionist in particular became famous—or infamous, depending on the point of view—for battles that caused the deaths of pro-slavery settlers in Kansas. Ultimately, he left Kansas to carry his fight closer to the bosom of slavery. Brown was swiftly tried for treason against Virginia and hanged.
On the night of October 16, 1859, Brown and a band of followers seized the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia), in what is believed to have been an attempt to arm a slave insurrection. Southern reaction initially was that his acts were those of a mad fanatic, of little consequence.
A steady flow of immigrants, especially from Ireland and Germany during the potato famine of the 1840s and 1850s, insured the North a ready pool of laborers, many of whom could be hired at low wages, diminishing the need to cling to the institution of slavery. States’ Rights refers To the struggle between the federal government and individual states over political power.
Dred Scott was a slave who sought citizenship through the American legal system, and whose case eventually ended up in the Supreme Court. Besides denying citizenship for African-Americans, it also overturned the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which had restricted slavery in certain U. In the Civil War era, this struggle focused heavily on the institution of slavery and whether the federal government had the right to regulate or even abolish slavery within an individual state.
Pro- and anti-slavery groups rushed to populate the new territories.
In Kansas, particularly, violent clashes between proponents of the two ideologies occurred.