Secession and Civil War

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How did events in the 1850s increase tensions between North and South in the United States?  

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During the 1850s, tensions between the North and South increased as the nation decided to how to incorporate the vast territories that had been acquired during the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. The question of whether each territory was to be slave or non-slave worsened sectional tensions. In the end, a tenuous compromise was worked out, and California was admitted to the union as a free state, while the New Mexico and Utah Territories were allowed, through the process of popular sovereignty, to decide whether the states should be free or slave states. The slave trade was banned in the District of Columbia, and a more vigorous Fugitive Slave Law was enacted. This law in particular angered the abolitionist northerners who had witnessed escaped slaves being taken back to the south in chains. 

Later, in 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act caused an inflammation of sectional tensions,...

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