Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ladies and Gentleman, Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln has been mentioned a few times, but this was where Lincoln really broke out. Lincoln was a man of humble beginnings. Born in Kentucky in a log cabin, he and his family moved to Illinois. This is why Illinois is the Land of Lincoln.

Growing up, Lincoln saw slavery and disliked it, he later became a legislator in the Illinois General Assembly. He spent some time in Vandalia, IL (we have historic sites to prove it). He married Mary Todd who was also crazy, but probably not John Brown Crazy.

He was then a Congressman then he went into political retirement.

His retirement was short lived, the Kansas Nebraska situation really bothered him. Stephen Douglas bothered him. He would face Douglas for a race for a Senate seat.

Lincoln and Douglas would take part in a series of debates that drew massive crowds.

They debated in 7 towns throughout Illinois, they stood on tree stumps!

Even though Lincoln did not like slavery, he was still a man of his times. In no way am I character assassinating Lincoln, but I think its important to not paint a pretty picture with no bad in it.

In a debate in Charleston, Illinois (Visit the Lincoln Douglas Debate Museum in Charleston, IL!!!), Lincoln said "I will say then, that I am not, nor have ever been in favor of bringing about in anyway social and political equality of the white and black races".

This will be interesting to remember, remember it, seriously.

When all the debates were over, Lincoln did not win the Senate seat. Some people would see this as a major loss, but it did make Lincoln pretty famous. It also made southerners not like Douglas all that much.

If you think Lincoln did a good job of getting his name out there then, just wait till he grows a beard.

A bearded Lincoln faced off against Douglas, John C. Breckenridge, and John Bell for president in the election of 1860.

This election was very sectional, Lincoln won the north, while Bell and Breckenridge split the south. Lincoln became the 16th president of the United States with less than 40% of the popular vote.

The North Celebrated

The South was concerned....

One week after Lincoln was elected, trouble started to brew...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Harper's Ferry

As one could imagine, this ruling by Chief Justice Taney angered many and made many happy. One of those people who got angry was our old friend, John Brown..and he was just as crazy as before.

He had an idea to establish a nation of freed slaves in the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

Brown Approached many Abolitionists for support. They were kinda creeped out.

But Brown was able to find one, Theodore Parker, who would finance a raid on an U.S. Arsenal at Harper's Ferry. There were lots of guns there. With the guns, he would arm slaves and then they would revolt.

Frederick Douglas tried to tell Brown that this plan probably wouldn't work, but remember, Brown is crazy.

One night in October, Brown and 21 followers captured the arsenal. Then they spread word to slaves to revolt.

None of the slaves were willing to run away and join the revolt.

In the morning, the local towns people surrounded Harper's Ferry with guns and trapped Brown and his people inside. Some were killed, including his sons. The rest were captured.

Brown and six others were caught and sentenced to hang, Brown never let up on his cause.

In the North, people questioned his sanity, but he was still seen as a hero.

On the Day that John Brown died, church bells rang throughout the north.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Dred Scott Case

Things got fired up again because of a situation involving a man named Dred Scott.

Schott was a slave in Missouri, but often went with his master to Illinois where slavery was illegal.

He sued for his freedom. He figured by living in Illinois where slavery was illegal, he had become free.

Chief Justice Roger Taney came to the decision of this matter. Remember the 5th Amendment? You don't? Shame on you.

Well as a refresher, the 5th Amendment among other things, won't let the government take away life, liberty, or property without due process. Taney argued that this amendment protected the slave owners property rights.

Taney also said since Scott was black, he couldn't sue, he was not a citizen. He also said that the Missouri Compromise violated these same property rights and it is unconstitutional. This made things a lot lot worse.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Beating of a Senator and the Election of a President

The Kansas issued spilled over into Washington D.C. as well. Senator Charles Sumner gave a two day speech about Lawrence and the outrage he felt. In it, he attacked South Carolina's Andrew Butler who was not present at the time.

Two days later, Butler's nephew, Preston Brooks, attacked Sumner on the Senate floor. He beat him over 30 times with a gold tipped cane.

This left Sumner unable to return to the Senate for three years. It left Brooks a hero of the South, many Southerners sent him canes to show support for the beating.

Clearly, this pro slave, anti slave thing was extremely intense.

The Election of 1856 was approaching and guess what the main issue was?!?! If you guessed Kansas, you would be correct. It was Democrat James Buchanan v. Free Soiler John Fremont. Once again, fear was a good motivator, Buchanan said that if a Republican was elected the country would fall apart. People took this warning and Buchanan became the 15th president of the United States.

Buchanan supported Popular Sovereignty, but he wasn't a fan of all the violence.

People were hopeful that things in Kansas would finally settle doown, but really, why would they?