Chapter 19 13 Themes
Drifting Toward Disunion
Big ideas matter. Here are the most important themes for this chapter.
The over-arching theme of chapter 19 is that compromise had prevailed earlier over the slavery issue, but this time, it failed.
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin drove a wedge between the Northerner and Southerner. The South cried foul saying it gave a view of slavery that was too harsh and unrealistic, but it cemented each section’s feelings on the issue.
- Kansas became the battleground over slavery. Since slavery there was to be decided by popular vote, each side passionately fought for their position. Bloodshed resulted.
- The Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision was huge. It said that Congress or a legislature cannot outlaw slavery in the territories. Effectively then, all new lands were possible slave lands.
- A financial panic in 1857 added to the chaos and uncertainty.
- Abe Lincoln arrived on the scene. Although he lost to Stephen Douglas for Illinois Senate, he made a name for himself there.
- In 1860, Abe Lincoln won a very sectional race for president over 3 other candidates. The South had promised to leave the union if Abe won. He won, and the South indeed seceded.