Democratic Congressman David Wilmot submitted an amendment to a military appropriations bill prohibiting slavery in any territory acquired from Mexico. The proviso passed the House twice but was defeated in the Senate.
Fifty-three captive West Africans revolted at sea and seized control of the slave ship L’Amistad. The ship was soon captured by the US Navy and towed to New Haven, where there was a legal battle over the Africans’ fate. In 1841, the Supreme Court ruled that the Amistad captives had been illegally enslaved and released them.
The 1860 election revealed how divided the country had become. There were essentially two separate sectional campaigns: one in the North, pitting Abraham Lincoln against Stephen A. Douglas, and one in the South between John C. Breckinridge and John Bell. Only Stephen Douglas mounted a truly national campaign. The Republicans did not campaign in the South and Lincoln’s name did not appear on the ballot in ten states. In the final balloting, Lincoln won only 39.9 percent of the popular vote, but received 180 Electoral College votes, fifty-...
The Missouri Compromise prohibited slavery north of latitude 36°30' north except in Missouri, which was admitted to the Union as a slave state while Maine (up to then part of Massachusetts) was admitted as a free state.