Abraham Lincoln ran for president. Many people in the northern states were in favor because he was against slavery, and many in the south were against him because of that reason. Lincoln went on to win the election which ultimatly lead to the Civil War, as the south wanted to break away from the north to keep slavery. http://history1800s.about.com/od/presidentialcampaigns/a/1860election.htm
White abolitionist John Brown wanted to start a armed slave revolt, which would give the slaves guns and weapons to help fight for their freedom. Browns raid was defeated by the United States Marines. Brown asked Harriet Tubman and Fredrick Douglass to help but Tubman was sick and Douglass believed that Browns plan would fail and didn't help because of that reason. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Brown's_raid_on_Harpers_Ferry
The debates between Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln were held during the 1858 campaign for a US Senate seat from Illinois. Lincoln wasn't a well known figure back then, and Douglas was. Douglas went on to win the campaign. http://www.illinoiscivilwar.org/debates.html
In March of 1857, the U.S Supreme Court declared that all blacks, slaves or free, could not become United States citizens. Dred Scott was a black slave who lived in the free State of Illinois who later went on to sue for his freedom and become a citizen. It didn't work because he was a slave. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h2933.html
Two governments fought over slavery, which lead to many arguments and battles within eachother. People were kidnapped, tarred and feather, and killed. Towns were started on fire based on whether or not they agreed or disagreed on slavery. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4p2952.html
Charles Sumner was in a congress meeting, talking about other people behind their back and one man, Preston Brooks didn't like it. A few days later Preston showed up to the gathering with a walking cane in hope of finding Charles and beating him with it, but never found him. The next day he returned and found him and beat him until he was almost dead http://history1800s.about.com/od/abolitionmovement/a/sumnerbeaten.htm
Special people could arrest any African Americans they thought were runaway slaves. Altomatly leaving know African Americans safe. Slave owners could go up to the free states to find their runaway slaves and bring them back.