Religion and American Slavery

Lesson III. Religious Influences on Tensions Leading to the Civil War

Step 3. Timeline of Sectional Crisis

18th - 19th Century
April 12, 1861
January 1, 1863

Pennsylvania is the first state to pass a gradual emancipation act

Several more states do so as well before all slaves are eventually freed in 1865.

Congress begins drafting the U.S. Constitution

While the Constitution never mentions slavery by name, slavery is included in the Constitution with the Fugitive Slave Clause, the Atlantic Slave Trade, and the Three-fifths Clause

Westward Expansion

Westward expansion and the growth of the cotton industry threatens the balance of the Union by adding more “slave states”.

Indian Removal Act

Congress passes the Indian Removal Act and it is signed into law by President Andrew Jackson. The act forces the resettlement of southeastern Indians – particularly the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole nations – to west of the Mississippi River. Native Americans had already lost a million square miles east of the Mississippi river to white settlement, warfare, and diplomacy by this time

Mexican American War

The Mexican American War takes place. As a result, the U.S. forcibly takes Texas and admits it as a slave state.

Compromise of 1850

In the Compromise of 1850, California is admitted as a free state, but slavery in future territories is to be decided locally.

Kansas Civil War

As a result of the Compromise of 1850, Kansas experiences a mini civil war known as “Bleeding Kansas” between the anti-slavery Jayhawkers and the pro-slavery faction.

Dred Scott Case

In the Dred Scott v. Sandford case, the Supreme Court rules that African Americans, free or enslaved, could not be U.S. citizens and that Congress could not ban slavery in any future territory

Lincoln Elected

1860 President Abraham Lincoln is elected which worries the slave states


Eleven states secede and form their own government of the Confederate States of America: Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

The Civil War starts

Emancipation Proclamation

President Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation which declares all slaves to be free.

The End of the Confederacy

The Confederacy is defeated and the 13th Amendment is passed into the U.S. Constitution to abolish slavery

Lesson III. Step 3 of 7


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