The Federal government in the 1800s was a battleground between two sections – North and South, slave and free. In this episode, we’ll examine the power struggles over new territories, the Kansas Conflict and the Dred Scott decision. We see the conflict accelerate until Abraham Lincoln is elected president, which drives some of the Southern states to secede and form a new nation under Jefferson Davis.

The Causes of the Civil War by Kenneth Stampp

Causes of the Civil War contains a good summary of the issues involved in the causes of the Civil War. With selections from primary sources as well as historians, it gives all perspectives on the reasons for the secession of the southern states and the war. Purchase on

Crime Against Kansas by Charles Sumner

A crucial speech in the antebellum area was Charles Sumner‘s Crime Against Kansas. Read it for free online at

Declaration of the Causes of Secession

When the states seceded, several of them published Declarations of the Causes of Secession. Patterned on the Declaration of Independence, they declared why they thought the circumstances gave them the right to leave the Union. Read them for free here:

South Carolina