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The Coming of the Civil War
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Simmering differences ignite an all-out crisis in the 1850s. A succession of incidents, from
Key Events

From the Mexican War to the Civil War.


Free states and slave states, before the Civil War.


The full transcript and video.


Links to sites with primary and secondary source materials related to the topics of this program.

Slavery in America was anything but a stagnant institution. It spread in certain areas while disappearing or constricting in others. No issue was more volatile than the literal place of slavery in the nation. On the eve of the Civil War, there were 19 free states and 15 slave states. By June 1861, eleven of those slave states would come together to constitute the Confederacy.

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