A.P. U.S. History Notes
Chapter 20: “Drifting Toward Disunion”
~ 1854 – 1861 ~
Stowe and Helper: Literary Incendiaries
Harriet Beecher Stow
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
, a popular book that awakened
the passions of the North toward the evils of slavery.
The book sold millions of copies, and overseas, British people were charmed by it.
The book helped Britain stay out of the Civil War because its people, who had read
the book and had now denounced slavery, wouldn’t allow intervention on behalf of
The Impending Crisis of the South
, was written by
Hinton R. Helper
, a non-
aristocratic white North Carolinian who tried to prove, by an array of stats, that the non-slave-
holding Southern whites were really the ones most hurt by slavery.
Published in the North, this book and
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
were both banned in the
South but widely read in the North.
The North-South Contest for Kansas
Northerners began to pour into Kansas, and Southerners were outraged, since they had supported the
Compromise of 1850
under the impression that Kansas would become slave.
Thus, on election day in 1855, hordes of Southerners from Missouri flooded the polls and elected
Kansas to be a slave state; free soilers unable to stomach this set up their own government in Topeka.
Thus, confused Kansans had to chose between two governments: one illegal (in Topeka) and
the other fraudulent (in Shawnee).
In 1856, a group of proslavery raiders shot up and burned part of Lawrence, thus starting violence.
Kansas in Convulsion
, a crazy man (literally), led a band of followers to Pottawatomie Creek in May of 1856
and hacked to death five presumable proslaveryites.
This brutal violence surprised even the most ardent abolitionists and brought swift retaliation
By 1857, Kansas had enough people to apply for statehood, and those for slavery devised the
, which provided that the people were only allowed to vote for the
constitution “with slavery” or “without slavery.”
If the constitution was passed “without slavery,” then those slaveholders already in the state
would still be protected.
Angry free soilers boycotted the polls and Kansas approved the constitution with slavery.
had succeeded Franklin Pierce, but like the former prez, Buchanan
was more towards the South, and firmly supported the Lecompton Constitution.
, refusing to have this fraudulency, threw away his Southern support when he
fought for a fair election, and the result was the Lecompton Constitution voted on
as a whole