Essay Review Essay Essay Questions – choose one of the following. Due next class



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Essay Review
Essay
Essay Questions – CHOOSE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING. Due next class.
Answer each of the following questions with an essay. Be sure to include specific examples that support your thesis and conclusions. UNDERLINE your THESIS. Make sure you follow the essay rubric you received earlier this year. Please make sure you write your ORIGINAL response in PEN. This is an individual assignment. Plagiarism will result in a zero.
1. How did western expansion become linked with the sectional conflict between the North and the South? Why, after two decades of hesitation, did politicians support territorial expansion in the 1840s?
2. How did the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the Dred Scott decision address the issue of slavery?
3. The Civil War restored the Union and ended slavery, but how did it change economic, political, and social factors in the United States between 1860 and 1865?
4. Why did the debate over Reconstruction devolve into an institutional struggle between the presidency and the Congress?
5. What do you regard as the principal achievements of Radical Reconstruction in the South? Include comparing the achievements to the failures.
Essay Review

Answer Section
ESSAY
1. ANS:

Answer would ideally include:
Background on Links Between Westward Expansion and Sectional Conflict: Since the early republic, the issues of westward expansion and slavery had been linked. In the 1780s, the problem was resolved by the Northwest Ordinance, which prohibited slavery in the Northwest territories. Northern states’ decision to adopt emancipation and southern states’ decision to maintain slavery in the nineteenth century intensified the potential for conflict because the two regions’ interests began to diverge considerably. The growth and profitability of cotton cultivation in the South raised the stakes even higher because southerners’ interest in maintaining and expanding slavery grew stronger. By the early nineteenth century, both regions aimed to claim new western lands for their own purposes. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 served to resolve the question between 1820 and the 1840s. The Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 were subsequent failed attempts to resolve the western expansion and slavery issue.
New Support for Expansion in the 1840s: Understanding that it had the potential to revive sectional disputes, politicians hesitated for two decades to acquire new western territory. In the 1840s, the ideology of Manifest Destiny inspired northerners, who envisioned a free-labor empire, and southerners, who envisioned a cotton empire, to advocate the annexation of present-day Texas, Utah, New Mexico, and Oregon. The Texas Independence movement, popular enthusiasm, fears of European claims in the Pacific Northwest, and the discovery of gold in California combined to motivate politicians to create a continental nation with west-coast ports to trade with Asia. James K. Polk risked sectional harmony for Manifest Destiny and unleashed the political controversies that would ultimately lead to the Civil War.

PTS: 1 REF: Manifest Destiny: South and North | War, Expansion, and Slavery, 1846–1850


2. ANS:

Answer would ideally include:
Compromise of 1850: In 1850, the United States was still wrestling with the question of how to organize the land it acquired in the Mexican War. Due to the gold rush, the settlement of California had proceeded quickly, and it was seeking admission as a free state. Its bid for admission produced passionate debates in Congress over the question of slavery’s expansion in the West. Proslavery advocates insisted on a plan that would allocate some of the territory to slave owners, and antislavery advocates refused to accept any plan that allowed slavery. Whig and Democratic politicians worked together and shepherded the five laws that made up the Compromise of 1850 through Congress. They mollified the South with the Fugitive Slave Act, which gave federal support to slave catchers; satisfied the North by admitting California as a free state; and abolished the slave trade (but not slavery) in Washington, D.C. The compromise organized the rest of the Mexican cession into New Mexico and Utah, both of which would decide an approach to slavery through popular sovereignty. This compromise preserved national unity in the short term, but it left the larger questions unsolved. The Fugitive Slave Act, in particular, raised the hackles of antislavery advocates in the North. Ultimately the Fugitive Slave Act would spark further sectional controversy and violence.
Kansas-Nebraska Act: According to the Missouri Compromise, the territory that would become Kansas and Nebraska was north of the 36°30?2' line and would be free. Until 1854, that territory was reserved for the Native Americans, but Stephen Douglas wanted to open it to settlement as part of his plan to direct the transcontinental railroad through the area. He proposed the Kansas- Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise and permitted these territories to determine their own approaches to slavery using popular sovereignty, to convince southerners to go along with his plan. Rather than calming sectional tensions, the act added fuel to them. Disputes over the population and constitution in Kansas eventually erupted into violence. The Whig Party fell apart, leaving a vacuum the Republican Party would soon fill.
• Dred Scott v. Sandford: The Dred Scott case raised the issue of Congress’s constitutional authority over slavery. The slave Dred Scott sued his owner in federal court, arguing that their temporary residence in a free state had made him legally free. The Court ruled that Scott was still a slave, declaring that blacks were not citizens and had no right to sue in court. It also found that Congress had no authority to interfere with Americans’ property, including slaves, and that any prohibition on slavery was unconstitutional. This decision widened the gap between free-soilers and proslavery forces ever further by making it appear to northerners that the federal government had become complicit in the Slave Power conspiracy.

PTS: 1


REF: War, Expansion, and Slavery, 1846–1850 | The End of the Second Party System, 1850–1858
3. ANS:

Answer would ideally include:
Economic Policy: The Republican-controlled Congress revolutionized the nation’s financial systems by enacting a neomercantilist program of government-assisted economic development and creating an integrated nationalized banking system.
Westward Expansion: Congress also banned slavery in the western territories and worked to promote its settlement by passing the Homestead Act and providing subsidies for transcontinental railroad service.
Race/Class/Gender: The war had a substantial impact on Americans’ conceptions about race. Racism increased in the North as young white men resisted fighting in the Union army and resented the hiring of African Americans to break labor strikes. The war altered class distinctions by requiring men of all classes to serve together in both armies. Both sides eventually enlisted African Americans, but they served in segregated units in the North and barely had time to enlist in the South before the war was over. It also heightened class distinctions because men with financial resources could buy their way out of military service. Women’s roles shifted as women filled farm, nursing, and civil service jobs previously held by men.

PTS: 1 REF: Entire chapter


4. ANS:

Answer would ideally include:

Constitutional Crisis: As a constitutional issue, it was unclear whether the president or Congress held primary authority over restoring the nation.


The Struggle Between the President and Congress: Lincoln’s assassination placed Andrew Johnson, a racist southerner, into office. He did not agree with his party in terms of its Reconstruction outlook and policies. Johnson prevented the Republican Party, which held a three-to-one majority over the Democrats in Congress, from passing legislation into law. He used his veto power several times in an attempt to kill Reconstruction.

PTS: 1 REF: The Struggle for National Reconstruction


5. ANS:

Answer would ideally include:
Achievements: Reconstruction’s achievements included passage of the Fourteenth Amendment and citizenship for blacks; the dispersal of aid through the Freedmen’s Bureau; the creation of schools to educate former slaves; the passage of the Reconstruction Act, which nullified southern racist legislatures; federal occupation and protection of freedmen and freedwomen; the creation of Republican governments favoring free-labor values in the South; and the increase of black politicians to organize the black community.
Evaluation: The achievements were considerable, especially given the major challenges of racism, white southern resistance, lack of funding, and the administrative mismanagement that characterized the functioning of the Freedmen’s Bureau. Unfortunately they were not lasting and, after 1877, went essentially unenforced. Freedmen and freedwomen resisted gang labor and worked on their own terms. They gained the right to marry, and established their rights to read and write, worship as they pleased, and travel. The black community thrived through black churches, schools, and mutual aid societies. Nevertheless, political rights vanished, and it would take ninety years and another civil rights movement before these achievements could be realized in a lasting way.

PTS: 1 REF: Entire chapter


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