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The Mexican-American War-was an armed conflict between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848 in the wake of the 1845 U.S. annexation of Texas. Mexico claimed ownership of Texas as a breakaway province and refused to recognize the secession and subsequent military victory by Texas in 1836.
The Dred Scott Decision-was a decision by the United States Supreme Court that ruled that people of African descent imported into the United States and held as slaves, or their descendants—whether or not they were slaves—were not legal persons and could never be citizens of the United States. It also held that the United States Congress had no authority to prohibit slavery in federal territories. The Court also ruled that because slaves were not citizens, they could not sue in court. Lastly, the Court ruled that slaves—as chattel or private property—could not be taken away from their owners without due process.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act-of 1854 created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, opened new lands, repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and allowed settlers in those territories to determine if they would allow slavery within their boundaries. The initial purpose of the Kansas-Nebraska Act was to create opportunities for a Mideastern Transcontinental Railroad.
The Missouri Compromise-was an agreement passed in 1820 between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States Congress, involving primarily the regulation of slavery in the western territories. It prohibited slavery in the former Louisiana Territory north of the parallel 36°30' north except within the boundaries of the proposed state of Missouri. Prior to the agreement, the House of Representatives had refused to accept this compromise and a conference committee was appointed. The United States Senate refused to concur in the amendment, and the whole measure was lost.
Uncle Tom's Cabin-or, Life Among the Lowly is an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Published in 1852, the novel had a profound effect on attitudes toward African Americans and slavery in the United States, so much in the latter case that the novel intensified the sectional conflict leading to the American Civil War.
The Compromise of 1850-was a series of bills aimed at resolving the territorial and slavery controversies arisen from the Mexican-American War (1846–1848). There were five laws which balanced the interests of the slave states of the South and the free states to the north. California was admitted as a free state; Texas received financial compensation for relinquishing claim to lands west of the Rio Grande in what is now New Mexico; the Territory of New Mexico (including present-day Arizona and a portion of southern Nevada) was organized without any specific prohibition of slavery; the slave trade (but not slavery itself) was ended in the District of Columbia; and the stringent Fugitive Slave Law was passed, requiring all U.S. citizens to assist in the return of runaway slaves regardless of the legality of slavery in the specific states.