The battle over the free versus slave states brought the nation to the brink of dissolution in 1820.
Congress strikes a deal on
the future of slavery. All new states above the
39th parallel will be free states. Below that
line, new states will be slave states. By 1854, however, the
scales were tipping in favor of the abolitionists and the southern
states wanted a new deal. click here for more
This map shows how the country was already lining up for
the Civil War with the Missouri Compromise, which designated
non-slave owning states and territories in the dark region, and
slave-owning territories in the light (south).