Civil War Timeline Page 2

1812 to 1849

  • Nat Turner leads a slave revolt in Southampton County, Virginia. At least 58 white people are killed. Whites then kill about 100 slaves in the area during the search for Turner and his friends. Nat Turner is captured several months later and he along with 12 others are executed. Turner’s actions anger Southerners and some of them believe abolitionists supported the Turner slave revolt.


  • Slaves revolt on the Spanish ship “La Amistad” and attempt to turn the ship around to sail back to Africa. However, the ship ends up in the U.S. After a highly publicized Supreme Court case where the slaves’ lawyer was former U.S. President, John Quincy Adams. The slaves win their case and they are freed in March 1841 with most of them returning to Africa. The 1999 movie, Amistad, directed by Steven Spielberg is based on this historical event.


  • Frederick Douglass publishes his first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself. The book details his life as a slave and is read by thousands of Northerners.


  • Democrat Lewis Cass of Michigan proposes letting the people of each territory/state vote on whether to permit slavery in their territory or state. This theory of popular sovereignty would be further endorsed and supported by Democratic Senator (and political opponent of Abraham Lincoln) Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois in the mid-1850s.


  • Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery. She makes about 20 trips back into the South and returns back to the North along the Underground Railroad [Click Here] with slaves seeking freedom.