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Immediate Causes of the Civil War – 1850′s

[Background Episode] The treaty that ended the Mexican War in 1848 opened up lands for westward expansion of the United States population. This also meant the potential expansion of slavery to these new territories.

The slavery question, particularly in Nebraska and Kansas, led to violent conflict and continued to drive the nation apart and toward civil war.

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55 Responses to Immediate Causes of the Civil War – 1850′s

  1. Chris G. says:

    In my opinion, the Fugitive Slave Act started the most violence over slavery. This act stated that anyone who has seen or is sheltering a runaway slave, regarless of whether or not the state allows slavery. Abolitionists opposed this law, while southerners supported it.

  2. Shivani U. says:

    The Fugitive Slave Act was the most important law that caused the most violence over slavery in the 1850′s. This law prevented any runaway slaves from settling in a free state. Anyone who saw or sheltered a runaway slave regardless if they have been captured had to return the slave to it’s rightful owner. This caused lot of conflicts between Abolitionists and Southerners which resulted in violence. Abolitionist opposed the Fugitive Slave Act, where as Southerners went for it.

  3. Ali C. says:

    I think that the Kansas-Nebraska Act was still the biggest fuel/cause for all of the violence over slavery. Since these two territories were granted the right of popular sovereignty, it was up to them to decide whether or not they were going to have slavery in their territory. It enraged the North because they believed that slavery did not belong in the North at all and this law completely shattered the Missouri Compromise, shattering everything that they had worked so hard for in order to keep slavery away.

  4. Ali C. says:

    I somewhat agree with Chris because the Fugitive Slave Act really added to the fuel of the fire for the violence about slavery. It angered the abolitionists so much and caused a lot of violence because of the whole sheltering deal, and the Southerners were all for it, unlike the abolitionists obviously.

  5. Laura W. says:

    I think that the Fugitive Slave Act was the most important law that led to the increasing violence over slavery during the 1850’s. This law required all citizens to assist in the return of slaves to rightful owners if they escaped and denied jury trials to slaves, so it didn’t let any slave settle in a free state. The North and South had lots of conflicts with this law. Many of the Northerners (Abolitionists) felt different about the Fugitive Slave Act then the Southerners.

  6. Nick F. says:

    I believe that the Fugitive Slave Act was the biggest factor in starting violence over slavery. The Fugitive Slave Act really showed how little southerners thought of their slaves. They were treated strictly as property, almost as if they were pets. If they ran away like a dog could, they would have markings indicating who they should be returned to.

  7. Patrick J says:

    I think that the fugitive slave act caused the most violence. This law created an uproar among people of the North and is what made the abolitionist movement become very strong. The abolitionist movement was extremely important in starting the civil war because of the issue of slavery vs. freedom.

  8. Grace D. says:

    In my opinion the Kansas-Nebraska Act was the law that casue the most violence over the issue of slavery because it allowed for the states to decide whether or not they would be a free or slave state, or popular sovereignty. The fact that the poeple of these states were allowed to choose what they would be caused anger througout the North because the ideas of the Missouri Compromise did not apply under this condition. After this compromise had been passed, northerners did not think it was fair to pass the Kansas-Nebraska Act because prior to that, slavery was not allowed in the North.

  9. Grace D. says:

    I agree with Laura because with the Fugitive Slave Act, people who were against slavery had the burden of going against the law if they sawa slave, but would be going against their own beliefs if they turned them in. Many found this unfair because of that reason and it caused many problems throughout the country.

  10. Bryan S. says:

    The fugitive slave act was the most important and caused the most violence. The anti-slavery supporters in the North were enraged by this act. This act made all people who saw slaves in the North to return them to their owners. The Northern states were greatly angered by the Fugitive Slave Act and this act led to a lot of violence.

  11. Collin S. says:

    The fugitive slave act brought up major controversy. It required runaway slaves in the north to be returned to their owner in the south. Many northern abolitionists were opposed to returning slaves while southern slave owners wanted their slaves returned. The fugitive slave act also caused many freed slaves to be returned into slavery.

  12. Collin S. says:

    I agree with you B. Sow. The fugitive slave act obviously caused the most controversy. You failed to mention that the act also led to many free slaves being returned into the slave trade which angered the slaves as well as abolitionists.

  13. Ashley C says:

    I think the Kansas-Nebraska Act was the most important law of the 1850′s and increased violence over slavery. It was hoped that the act would reduce tensions and perhaps create a solution to the issue of slavery. But when it was passed in 1854 it had an oppsite effect, it led to an increase violence over slavery. The Kansas-Nebraska Act was an important step on the road to a civil war. I agree with Grace D in that The Kansas-Nebraska Act allowed for the states to decide whether or not they would be a free or slave state, or popular sovereignty.

  14. Jessica B. says:

    I agree with Shivani U. that the most important law that caused violence was the Fugitive Slave Act in the 1850′s. It kept slaves from settling in northern states after runing away to become free. The northerners were forced to return any run away slave they found back to the south because slaves were property and it would be stealing if you had someone elses property.

  15. Skyler Stone says:

    The most important law in my opinion was the Fugitive Slave act, which made people return run away slaves. Even if the black man was free, then he could be brought down and sold again. This caused many arguments in the household etc.

  16. Skyler Stone says:

    The biggest law in my opinion was the Fugitive Slave act, which made people return run away slaves. Even if the black man was free, then he could be brought down and sold again. This caused many arguments in the household etc.

  17. Ashley C says:

    I think the Kansas-Nebraska Act caused the most violence reguarding slavery because it created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska. It also mandated that Kansas and Nebraska hold votes to decide whether slavery would exist in the new territory, known as popular sovereignty. I agree with Ali C in that the Kansas-Nebraska Act enraged the North because they believed that slavery did not belong in the North at all and this law completely shattered the Missouri Compromise

  18. Skyler Stone says:

    I agree with Shivani also, since this caused violence between the abolitionists and the southerners. Also it could have caused violence in the household.

  19. Tucker Rubin says:

    I believe the kansas- nebraska act caused the most tension and violence leading up to the civil war. This act caused a national debate on how to decide whether it would a free or slave state. It led to a state-wide civil war and showed that many people were willing to do anything to protect their beliefs of pro/ anti-slavery. Since the states were subjects of popular sovereignty many abolitionists and people for slaves rushed into the territories and tried to win dominance over the other. If they had not been allowed popular sovereignty, a lot of violence and death could have been avoided.

  20. Tucker Rubin says:

    Patrick,
    I agree that the fugitive slave law helped make abolition a more powerful movement, and without abolition the civil war may have never happened. Also, many other events such as “bleeding kansas” would not have happened because there wouldnt have been people to go against slavery. I think the fugitive slave law really opened the eyes of the north to how poorly slaves were treated, and really showed a clear difference between the north and south.

  21. Shivani U. says:

    Bryan S.
    I agree with your statement and how you said that the Northerners were angry about the fugitive slave act and how this caused conflicts eventually leading to violence.

  22. Max P. says:

    The Kansas-Nebraska act has led to the most violence over slavery. Due to tensions existing between free and slave-states, having the people of a territory decide for themselves was just begging for trouble. Abolitionists and Slave Owners rushed into the territories, and this resulted in a minature civil-war, an omen of events to come.

  23. Megan K says:

    The Fugitive Slave Act was passed by Congress in 1850 and was one of the most controversial acts of its times. The act stated that all runaway slaves must be returned to their rightful owner. I think this caused the most violence over slavery because it affected the north as well as the south because they were responsible for carrying out this new act and made the north angry.

  24. Megan K says:

    Patrick,
    I agree that there may not have been a Civil War if not for the abolition of slaves because this caused many disputes and different view points between the north and south.

  25. Nicole F. says:

    I feel that the fugitive slave act plus the Kansas Nebraska act together greatly intensified the issue over slavery. One of these things would have possible been okay, but both made abolitionists extremely angry. The Civil war definately would not have happened so soon if it weren’t for both of these, but it still would have happened eventually due to other issues and controversies.

  26. Rhodes H says:

    The fugitive slave act was the most impacting law of the 1950′s. The fugitive slave law was basically a document stating that no free slaves were actually free. This act created an excuse for slave traders to capture Africans without even leaving the country. You could essentially capture any free black man under the pretences that he was a runaway slave and send him back to a slave owner.

  27. Rhodes H says:

    I agree with Tucker regarding the Kansas-Nebresaka act. Although it may not have been the most impactful bill of its time this law was the straw that broke the camels back. Historically the civil war started in 1861 but our nation was fighting itself long before then.

  28. Tucker L. says:

    I believe the major case of all this leading to the civil war was the Kansas- Nebraska act. This was the point where the North and the South had with arguing and were ready to split side and go to war. With this new trans-continental railway, it was to spread American’s throughout the new lands. This railway going through Kansas and Nebraska, which lead the US to take over these two states, but then the discussion free or slave state came into play. Which they had been debating this over all the new states and were sick of his and decided to draw the line and cause a war.

  29. Tucker L. says:

    Colin,
    I agree with the fugitive slave act, but seeing what happened in Kansas I believe this was the number one cause leading to the civil war. The North and South were sick of dealing with each other and drew the line, and ready to go to war and have everything one way not split half and half. Also having to deal with this controversies every time they gained more territory.

  30. Michael W says:

    The passing of the Fugitive Slave Act undoubtedly resulted in the most violence. Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act as part of the Compromise of 1850 and the Fugitive Slave Act required Northerners, under law, to return any runaway slaves to their rightful owners. (predominately living in the South). This obviously spurred violence and dispute because abolitionists viewed this law as unconstitutional while Southerners, who viewed slaves as property, felt as though this law only protected their property from thievery.

  31. Karlee R. says:

    I feel that the Fugitive Slave Act was one of the most violent over slavery. It says that if you find a runaway slave that you must return it to the owner. This law caused several disputes and problems because it began to invole the North. The North was agasint slavery and if they found a slave the last thing they would want to do was return it back to slavery. But, because of the new law the Northerns could be put away for not returning the slaves.

  32. Bryan S. says:

    I agree with Collin S, the fugitive slave act brought up a lot of controversy. If that act had not been passed then many tensions could have been avoided. This act angered the North greatly and could have easily been avoided if the United States did not pass this law. It also made many slaves who were actually free but were mistaken for runaways be returned from this law, this angered many abolitionists.

  33. Bryan S. says:

    I agree with Collin S, the fugitive slave act brought up a lot of controversy. If that act had not been passed then a lot of anger could have been avoided. This act angered the North greatly and could have easily been avoided if the United States did not go through with this law. It also made many slaves who were actually free but were mistaken for runaways be returned from this law, this angered many abolitionists and northerners.

  34. Chris G. says:

    I agree with you Patrick J., for this act really did make the abolitionists powerful. This greatly led to the Civil War in my opinion. Good post, I thought about your opinion greatly.

  35. Hayden P says:

    I believe that popular sovereignty was the most controversial movement. the end of the Mexican War, America was ceded western territories. This posed a problem, as these new territories would be admitted as states, would they be free or slave? To deal with this, Congress passed the Compromise of 1850 which basically made California free and allowed the people to pick in Utah and New Mexico. This ability of a state to decide whether it would allow slavery was called popular sovereignty. In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed allowing the Kansas and Nebraska territories to decide for themselves using popular sovereignty whether they wanted to be free or slave. By 1856, Kansas had become a hotbed of violence as pro- and anti-slavery forces fought over the state’s future. The widely reported violent events were a small taste of the violence to come with the Civil War.

  36. Hayden P says:

    Collin S.
    I agree with you that the fugitive slave act brought up a lot of controversy. If that act had not been passed then a lot of anger could have been avoided. Also, it made many slaves who were actually free mistaken for runaways; they had to be returned according to this law, this angered many northerners and abolitionists

  37. ashley w says:

    I think that the Fugitive Slave Act sparked dramatic amounts of violence during the slave era. This was a law that demanded the return of runaway slaves to their owner or master and if they were not returned, their houser would be charged and 500 dollar find and face prison time. These consequences were not worth it to some people which also sparked disagreements in homes between spouses who disagreed on the matter.

  38. Jacob L says:

    I think that the fugitive slave act was the major cause of the Civil War. Northerners obviously had a problem with slavery and now the southerners were telling them that they had to return the slaves that had escaped they horrible treatment. Slavery was the main cause of the Civil War and this act was a big part of it.

  39. Jake S says:

    I think the Fugitive Slave Act started a very violent time and was one of the causes of the civil war. the most violence over slavery ever. This act stated that anyone who has seen or is sheltering a runaway slave, regarless of whether or not the state allows slavery. Abolitionists opposed this law, while southerners supported it.

  40. haley m says:

    I feel the fugitive slave act had to be the most violent acts passed. Slaves were treated as if they were cars or animals that had been misplaced or stolen but in actuality they were running away from their abusive owners in order to start a new life free from abuse and torture. It was a major cause of the civil war because many northerners help the runaways escape which cause the south to get angry because it was like they were stealing their own “property.”

  41. Ian V. says:

    The fugitive was a major reason behind northern versus southern aggression. But was not a major cause of the civil war. Numerous other events such as Bleeding Kansas, the Missouri Compromise, and the secession of southern states from the Union are larger more important events that catapulted the Union and Confederacy into war.

  42. Jake S says:

    Jacob L.
    I agree with you that the fugitive slave act brought up a lot of controversy. If that act had not been passed then a lot of anger could have been avoided. Maybe even the civil war could have been avoided. who knows? Also, it made many slaves who were actually free mistaken for runaways; they had to be returned according to this law, this angered many people

  43. Harini M. says:

    The Fugitive Slave Act did indeed result in agonizing and controversial issues between the North and South. This definitely caused more problems and conflicts with slavery, as both sides were not completely satisfied, especially the North, as their attempts to free slaves were repeatdely failig. Returning the slaves back to their rightful slave owners was an act that the North utterly refused to perform, which resulted in more slavery violence, thus causing the Civil War.

    The Fugitive Slave Act was passed by Congress in 1850 and was one of the most controversial acts of its times. The act stated that all runaway slaves must be returned to their rightful owner. I think this caused the most violence over slavery because it affected the north as well as the south because they were responsible for carrying out this new act and made the north angry.

  44. Blair B says:

    I believe that the Fugitive Slave Act was the biggest cause of the Civil War. This act required runaway slaves in the North to be returned to its owner in the South. This created a lot of violence and problems because it affected both the North and South. The abolitionists in the North believed that it was unconstitutional and the Southerners believed it was the only way to protect their slaves they consider property.

  45. Tony says:

    The Kansas – Nebraska act was one of many reasons that led to the Civil War. Many western states at some point or another had to ‘deal’ with the issue of slavery (Iowa, Illinois, Indiana) faced the same decision, obviously earlier….but for them was a moot point. At the time of the Kansas – Nebraska Act a much more political active Southern Planter – Political Action Group begins realizing its potential demise, including the end of slavery. Thus we see the active lobbying especially in ‘border’ areas / states/ territories on behalf of their ‘peculiar cause -institution’. Missouri, Southern Indiana and Southern Illinois become their major targets of developing sympathetic publics. Strategically the Southern Planter – Politician cadre with its multiple support networks in Atlanta, Richmond, Charleston etc.
    Initally start supporting ‘non-violent’ solutions ie. convincing residents of the above mentioned boarder areas of the ‘danger of freeing slaves’ and its negative potential on ‘jobs’ etc..Later with the advent of the famous Kansas raids we see the use of ‘violence’ as a way to intimidate neutral settlers in Kansas and Nebraska. The Southern Planter – Political action group will use tactical assistance from the likes of VMI and Citadel as a way to intimidate and potentially eliminate anti-slavery support in Kansas. A example of that is the famous raid in Lawrence, Kansas and similar ‘localized’ events in Edwardsville, Illinois and Evansville, Indiana etc..

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