LEARNING EXPERIENCE NOVEMBER 14/15 – The Edge of the Precipice

TARGET – I can explain and assess how events between the Compromise of 1850 and the Election of 1860 led to the secession of southern states.

We witnessed the rise of slavery in antebellum America, saw the power of King Cotton, investigated how enslaved people resisted the institution, and (hopefully) gained inspiration from the abolition movement. What now? The most important decade of America’s story, in which the United States split in half and entered a four year crisis that changed the country forever. How did it happen? How did the US jump off the “edge of the precipice”?

Begin your investigation by reading “The Edge of the Precipice” and checking out the sources below, focusing on three issues – The Compromise of 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act, and the Kansas Nebraska Act. Jot down any reactions, notes, ideas, questions, images, sketches … whatever you want to do to be prepared for two days of discussing the causes of the Civil War!

The Compromise of 1850 and Fugitive Slave Act


The History Channel’s Compromise of 1850  /  Our Documents – Compromise of 1850 (1850) / The Compromise of 1850 from The Omaha Project / The Fugitive Slave Act from the History Channel

The Kansas Nebraska Act –



The History Channel’s Kansas and Nebraska Act / a flash video from teachingamericanhistory.com / KS NE Act from the History Place / Our Documents – KansasNebraska Act (1854) from Our Docs /

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