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What Caused Succession?

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Before the Civil War began in 1861, there were major factors that led to the secession of the southern states. These factors affected the people of America tremendously due to slavery and racial segregation. Three significant factors that led the eleven southern states to secede from the Union were abolitionists (Doc. 5), Kansa-Nebraska Act, and the election of 1860 (Doc. 1).

During the period of slave existence, abolitionists began to rebel against the situation (Doc. 5). Abolitionists were people who were against slavery and would take action by doing something in their own way. One of the most known abolitionists was Harriet Beecher Stowe. In 1852, she wrote a book called “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” that spoke about blacks living on plantation. Another famous abolitionist was Harriet Tubman. She was called the “Moses of her people” and led runaway slaves towards the Underground Railroad. In the Compromise of 1850, a Fugitive Slave Law was put into effect. This law made Americans help find runaway slaves. This law eventually had people search for Harriet Tubman because of her significant help with the escaping of slaves. This law was resented by the Northerners and caused conflict between the North and South.

In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act was an act that repealed the Missouri Compromise (Doc. 5). The Missouri Compromise was an agreement that allowed the state of Missouri to enter as a slave state; all territory north of 36-30 latitude was considered a free state. In the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Senator Douglas (Doc. 3) demanded to divide the land west of Missouri into two territories, Kansas and Nebraska. There was a request popular sovereignty; this allowed the people to vote and decide if they wanted a free or slave state. Later on, pro-slavery and anti-slavery supporters traveled to Kansas to determine the results f the first election after it was put into affect. When another election was held, the two groups argued and it led to violence: nicknaming the state “Bleeding Kansas”. This act eventually led to the discovery of the Republican Party, which opposed spread of slavery into the territories (Doc. 6). This result moved closer and closer to the Civil War.

The last factor that led to the secession was the election of 1860 (Doc.1). During this election, four candidates were running for president. First was Breckinridge, a Democrat and supported by southerners. Second, Douglas who was a Democrat supported by the North. Third, J. Bell who was a Constitutional Union Party. Last, Lincoln who was a Republican and won most votes from the North (Doc. 4). When Lincoln was elected President, the union was under Republican goals. These goals were high tariffs, transcontinental railroad and keeping slaves out of western territories. Once Lincoln was elected, the state of South Carolina seceded (broke away). As Lincoln took office, the eleven southern states then seceded because the North is powerful and has more of a population (Doc. 2).

Throughout the mid 1800’s, the essential events that had taken place led to a dramatic change in the Union. The eleven southern states seceded and more significantly, caused the Civil War to begin. Those four years of combat and millions of deaths led to devastation and lasting racial hatred results.

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