Was the Civil War Inevitable?

WRITING ASSIGNMENT # 4B: Was the Civil War Inevitable?

The Civil War has been studied more than any other event in American History. One reason for the enduring interest in this war most likely lies in the fact, that the conflict pitted American against American. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that one of the most debated questions in American history has been, “Was the Civil War Inevitable?

INSTRUCTIONS:

Your discussion for this essay will be based on the following readings and map analysis. Use the information that you gather to support your argument/position. The questions in each section will assist you in understanding the content and to prepare for the essay.

  • Review and identify relevant sections of Chapter 15
  • Read John C. Calhoun’s last speech written during the great debate over the Compromise of 1850.
  • Note that at one part of his speech Calhoun claims that the Union is in danger, stating “That the immediate cause is the almost universal discontent which pervades all of the States composing the southern section of the Union…” What evidence have you found in the readings and maps to support or refute his claim?
  • Study the  Kansas Nebraska Act map .
  • Consider these questions when you analyze the document and map:
    • What fears does Calhoun express regarding the future status of the South in the Union?
    • According to Calhoun, what choices do the Southern states have?
    • After studying the map and the events described in “Bleeding Kansas”, what evidence do you find to support or refute Calhoun’s statements?
  • Read Lincoln’s speech titled “A House Divided,”. The introduction which begins with the often quoted proverb from the Bible can be read in Chapter 15 of the textbook. As you read the speech consider the following questions:
    • What argument is Lincoln presenting in his introduction?
    • How does he support his argument in the speech?
    • Compare Lincoln’s arguments in his speech to Calhoun’s arguments. Identify similarities and differences.
  • Review the Chapter 15 section titled Secession, and closely examine the  Secession map which is also available at this link. Consider the following questions when you analyze the map and write your essay:
    • Note the order in which the first states seceded from the Union, and which state led the process. What conclusion(s) can be reached from this information?
    • Note the state of Virginia. What did the western section decide to do?
    • Note the states which did not secede immediately. What factors may have influenced their decision to wait and then secede?
    • Note the slave states that did not secede. What factors may have influenced their decision?
    • Does the pattern of secession support or refute Calhoun’s argument?

PREPARE AND SUBMIT:

Write a well-organized essay, a minimum of 700 words (but not limited to), including supporting details from the documents/textbook/other sources in which you analyze and discuss the material that has been assigned by addressing the following question:

In your opinion, “Was the Civil War inevitable”?

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