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KC‑5.2.II.D (KC)
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Unit 5: Learning Objective H

Video transcript

so can we've been talking about the run-up to the civil war we talked about the compromise of 1850 which angered a lot of anti slave and abolitionist folks in the north as we get get to the election of 1860 you have Abraham Lincoln getting elected a lot of folks view that as a bit of the final catalyst for the the Civil War what's happening is that accurate so Lincoln is elected as a Republican Party president this is the first Republican Party president ever and the real basis of the Republican Party is an anti-slavery platform they really don't want slavery to extend into the western territories that have been acquired through the Mexican War and so they have been making both sort of an economic and to some extent moral argument against slavery so when Lincoln becomes president the states of the South particularly the deep south or this cotton belt area whose entire economic system relies on slavery they think that they are under attack that Lincoln is going to be coming for slavery as soon as he gets a chance as president and we're talking about these states down here this is Texas Louisiana Mississippi Alabama Georgia South Carolina and Florida right so these are the real cotton states where slavery is highly entrenched there more than 50% of the population is enslaved working on cotton plantations is making the elite people elite whites in the South very wealthy cotton is just the the backbone of their economy and so whether Lincoln gets elected this is this is November of 1860 that's right and so what do they do about it they're they're afraid they're afraid that Lincoln is going to do something about slavery so over the course of this winter period this is in a period before we move the inauguration up to January so it used to be that presidents would be elected in November and not take office until March yeah we have here are this Lincoln gets elected in November but then he doesn't get inaugurated until March over here so there's this long lame-duck period where everyone knows that a new political party is going to be in power a new president is in power but he's not in office yet and so yeah cannon sitting around he's still the president but but yeah his days are numbered and his power is pretty limited so over the course of what they call this secession winter the seven states of the deep south get together and they secede from the union one after another and this includes South Carolina Mississippi Florida Alabama Georgia Louisiana and Texas they secede from the union and they form what they call the Confederate States of America which is basically almost exactly the same as the United States of America their Constitution is based very closely on the US Constitution but it guarantees the existence of slavery it explicitly says that slavery is allowed and protected forever and they elect Jefferson Davis as their president and so when they seceded it was for them it was clearly about slavery right everything is about slavery they are concerned that Lincoln is going to interfere with slavery they are afraid that because slavery is being outlawed many other places in the world particularly in the Western Hemisphere that one way or another slavery's days are numbered and if they're going to protect their livelihood as slave owners and as cotton planters they're going to have to form their own nation to make sure that it's protected and James Buchanan is officially president when all of this has happened you have seven states of the United States I guess they're not so united anymore leaving I mean is he just powerless to do anything well he tries a few things um you know he was a very ineffective president to begin with it's hard to be an effective president when Congress is so divided over issues one thing that Congress actually does before Lincoln is in office and before these states officially secede is they try what's called the Crittenden plan proposed by John Crittenden Crittenden of Kentucky saying we will officially protect slavery in the Constitution we will say that you can't outlaw slavery in the south and will even extend this Missouri Compromise line which was sort of the official line between North and South between free states and slave states all the way to the Pacific so just just you know southern states will make sure that we won't get rid of slavery so this Crittenden Compromise this was kind of a last-ditch effort everyone started to see the writing on the wall that these these seven states especially were very loose in the socket right and this was a last-ditch effort to to keep them in the Union perhaps yeah and it's really I don't want to say it's too little too late but for the south you know they have seen the writing on the wall they've seen this is going to be their only opportunity to secede and we can get elected in his whole party is based on being anti-slavery right so they want to get out while the getting is good so that they can make sure that slavery remains in their states all right so date during this lame duck period the seven states these Deep South States they secede then Lincoln gets inaugurated he is now president and we're not really the Civil War yet no in fact Lincoln's inaugural address is very conciliatory um he you know we think of Lincoln as being a really great orator and he certainly was but his first inaugural address if you read it is very much a a plea to the south saying hey I really I'm not planning on outlawing slavery right so the anti-slavery platform that Lincoln ascribes - is specifically about not extending slavery to the West so he's saying I am not in favor of getting rid of slavery where it is so there's no reason for you all to secede come back everything will be situation normal and they don't know as I said you know they've already seen that this is their opportunity to make sure that slavery continues by creating their own nation so in the South there are a bunch of Arsenal's and forts that belong to the United States and most of these are taken over by the Confederacy when it becomes its own nation and this is a picture of one right here this is this is Sumpter right so Fort Sumter is right there right in Charleston Harbor and this is a union fort or a United States fort that's holding out basically they're running out of supplies they have tried to have supplies brought in to them before which have been repelled and holding out there in the well in Confederate territory right but they are still controlled by excuse the United States soldiers right so they do not want to surrender this fort and Lincoln lets the Confederates the rebels know that he wants to resupply this fort and the Confederates instead fire on Fort Sumter they start lobbing artillery at it and over the course of a day they force the Union forces in Fort Sumter to surrender and this was I guess this was the real matchstick for the war but this was the first tension no obviously you know this had been going on for some time um even into Buchanan's it has lamed up here there's probably a little bit of tension yeah I mean if you want to be expansive you could say that this tension is almost built into the Constitution when they don't especially even a post secession of these first seven states they're already some tensions especially they're taking over these forts you know former United States soldiers are now thinking about cutting off supplies to other former United States you know or the current United States soldiers and then Fort Sumter sounds like this was definitely the straw that breaks the camel's yeah this is this is the tinderbox and I think it's maybe intended to be a tinderbox on both sides because Lincoln wants to be sure that if there's going to be a war then orthe isn't going to fire the first shot they want to make sure that this is the South's decision it can be blamed on then them if it needs to be and this is a pattern you see throughout history is that no one at least wants to officially be the person to fire the first shot thanks it often look for a good reason to fire the first shot because they want to get into war but the men want everyone wants to have the moral high ground right and in the South they are looking to make sure that this is kind of a morale building moment when they fire on Fort Sumter you know they're firing on federal fort right it in any circumstances that's going to bring on war and they're hoping that if they can kind of get this fire started then these four other slaveholding states are actually eight other slaveholding states in the south are going to join the effort and that's pretty much exactly what happens so after they fire on Fort Sumter the fort is surrendered to the Confederacy Lincoln says ok you want to start a war we got a war he calls for 75,000 troops volunteers to put down the insurrection and he calls them for a 90 day service period which tells you how long they thought this was going to last and after Lincoln has asked for this army for more slaveholding states in the south secede and that's Virginia the most important of these is going to be the real battleground of the Civil War that's that was today because the West Virginia and Virginia but that was Virginia back right and Virginia Arkansas Tennessee and North Carolina also join the Confederate States of America and the war is on fascinating
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