The 1850s were punctuated by successive confrontations
that deepened sectional hostility until it broke out in the Civil War.
Harriet Beecher Stowes Uncle
Toms Cabin fanned northern antislavery feeling. In Kansas, proslavery
and antislavery forces fought a bloody little preview of the Civil War. Buchanans
support of the proslavery Lecompton Constitution alienated moderate northern
Democrats like Douglas. Congressman Brookss beating of Senator Sumner
aroused passions in both sections.
The 1856 election signaled the rise of the sectionally
based Republican party. The Dred Scott case delighted the South, while northern
Republicans pledged defiance. The Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 deepened
the national controversy over slavery. John Browns raid on Harpers
Ferry made him a heroic martyr in the North but caused outraged southerners
to fear a slave uprising.
The Democratic party split along sectional lines,
allowing Lincoln to win the four-way 1860 election. Seven southern states
quickly seceded and organized the Confederate States of America.
As southerners optimistically cast off their
ties to the hated North, lame-duck President Buchanan proved unable to act.
The last-minute Crittenden Compromise effort failed because of Lincolns