Chapter 19 13 Themes

Chapter 19

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. A financial panic in 1857 added to the chaos and uncertainty.
  5. Abe Lincoln arrived on the scene. Although he lost to Stephen Douglas for Illinois Senate, he made a name for himself there.
  6. 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.

Back to the themes index.

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