What were some important events between 1851 and 1861 that brought the country to Civil War in April 1861?
The Brooks-Sumner Incident on the floor of the US Senate in 1856 was another important event in this time frame. Senator Preston Brooks of South Carolina savagely attacked Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts in the middle of a floor speech by Sumner. Sumner was beaten into critical condition with a cane.
Congressmen started arming themselves when they came into work and southern supporters sent Brooks barrels of new canes. It was representative of the deep divide in the country at the time, and indicated that the Civil War was, at some point soon after, inevitable.
IMPORTANT EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR
1852--Uncle Tom's Cabin published by Harriett Beecher Stowe.
1854--Ostend Manifesto fails to annex Cuba as a slave state.
1854--The Republican Party is formed.
1854--Kansas-Nebraska Act passed.
1857--Dred Scott Decision
.1857--Lecompton Constitution (Kansas).
1858--Lincoln-Douglas Debates begin.
1858--Lincoln makes his "house divided" anti-slavery speech.
1859--John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry, Virginia.
1860--The Constitutional Union Party forms, adding a fourth major
1860--The Democratic Party splits along sectional lines, offering two
Presidential candidates; Stephen Douglas is supported by the
North, John Breckenridge by the South.
1860--Abraham Lincoln is elected President.
1860--South Carolina begins secession process.
1861--Battle of Fort Sumter. Union troops attack.
There were quite a few important events during this time that led to the Civil War. Here are a few that I see as the most important.
- The Kansas-Nebraska Act. This was important because it put the issue of slavery up for grabs in places (parts of the Louisiana Purchase) where it had been a settled issue.
- "Bleeding Kansas" which came out of the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
- The Dred Scott decision.
- John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry and his subsequent execution.
Then these last two are the most immediately important causes of the war:
- The election of Abraham Lincoln as president in 1860.
- The decision to try to resupply Fort Sumter.