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Wisconsin between 1861-1865


Wisconsin landscape
Wisconsin landscape

Before the outbreak of the Civil War (1861-1865), Wisconsin opposed the extension of slavery into the Western territories. Sympathy for fugitive slaves was widespread, and in 1854 the Wisconsin Supreme Court refused to honor the Fugitive Slave Act, which Congress passed as part of the Compromise Measures of 1850, an effort to settle the disputes over slavery that were dividing the nation. There was also widespread opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would allow the extension of slavery into the Western territories. Wisconsin opponents of the bill met in Ripon in 1854 to discuss what measures to take and founded the state’s Republican Party, one of the first in the nation. The next year the Republicans won many state offices, including the governorship.

Some European immigrants in Wisconsin, especially the Germans, opposed the Civil War and the draft, since some of them had left Europe to avoid fighting for their own countries. In 1862 antidraft riots broke out in several Wisconsin counties. However, most Wisconsin communities easily raised their quotas of troops, and conscription was not widely used. Wisconsin suffered many casualties, and veterans became a political force for the remainder of the century. "Wisconsin" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.

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