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Group A: Sectionalism USHGOV Vocabulary and Terms


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Antebellum Period
An expression derived from Latin that means "before war." Commonly used to refer to the time leading up to the American Civil War.
Loyalty to one's own region or section of the country, rather than the nation as a whole.
Compromise of 1850
A series of bills to help resolve the territorial and slavery controversies arising from the Mexican-American War.
Fugitive Slave Act
Passed (by the United States Congress) on September 18, 1850 as part of the Compromise of 1850. It declared that all runaway slaves be brought back to their masters.
Dred Scott v. Sanford
(1857),A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that ruled that people of African descent imported into the U.S.—whether or not they were slaves—were not legal persons and could never be citizens of the U.S., and that the United States Congress had no authority to prohibit slavery in federal territories.
Kansas-Nebraska Act
(1854) Created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, opened new lands, repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and allowed settlers in those territories to determine if they would allow slavery within their boundaries.
Frederick Douglass
(Feb. 14, 1818 – Feb. 20, 1895) An American abolitionist, women's suffragist, editor, orator, author, statesman and reformer. Also the first African American nominated as a Vice Presidential candidate in the U.S., running on the Equal Rights Party ticket.
Harriet Tubman
(c. 1820 – March 10, 1913) An African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and Union spy during the U.S. Civil War. After escaping from slavery, she made 13 missions to rescue over 70 slaves using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
(June 14, 1811 – July 1, 1896) An abolitionist, whose novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, (1852) about the life for African-American slaves.
William Lloyd Garrison
(Dec. 12, 1805 – May 24, 1879) was a prominent American abolitionist, journalist, and social reformer. He is best known as the editor of the radical abolitionist newspaper, "The Liberator", and as one of the founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society.
Underground Railroad
An informal network of secret routes and safe houses used by 19th century Black slaves in the United States to escape to free states and Canada with the aid of abolitionists who were sympathetic to their cause.
Stephen Douglas
(April 23, 1813 – June 3, 1861) An American politician from the western state of Illinois, and was the Democratic Party nominee for President in 1860. He was nicknamed the "Little Giant" because he was short but was considered by many a "giant" in politics.
Abraham Lincoln
(Feb. 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) The 16th President of the U.S. Successfully led the country through the American Civil War, preserved the Union and ending slavery. The first American president to be assassinated.
Republican Party
One of the two major contemporary political parties in the U.S., along with the Democratic Party. Founded in Ripon, Wisconsin, in 1854 by anti-slavery expansion activists.
Lincoln-Douglas Debates
A series of seven debates between Abraham Lincoln, the Republican candidate, and the incumbent Stephen A. Douglas, a Democrat, for an Illinois seat in the United States Senate.
Harper's Ferry
A historic town in Jefferson County, West Virginia. Historically, Harpers Ferry is best known for John Brown's raid on the Armory in 1859 and its role in the American Civil War. It was useful in the war because of its strategic location on the railroad.
Election of 1860
Between Abraham Lincoln of the Republican party, John C. Breckinridge of the Southern Democratic party, John Bell of the Constitutional Union party, and Stephen A. Douglas of the Northern Democratic party. The election was somewhat based on states' rights and slavery in the territories.

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