What Caused the Civil War dbq



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____________________, ____________________

______________ U.S. History—Period ______

Date in Full: _________________ _____, 20_____

What Caused the Civil War DBQ


Close Reading Work—The Background Essay


Essay continued on the next page….





  1. Underline possible reasons for the Civil War given in the background essay.

  2. Circle details for those reasons.

  3. What is the analytical question for the DBQ? _______________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________

  4. What two terms must be defined in the question? Define or expalin each _____________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________

  5. Restate the analytical question in your own words. _____________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________

  6. Label the buckets below with three causes suggested in the background essay.


Document A


Document A



  1. In what section of the US were most rail lines concentrated? ___________________

  2. What does this say about that section as compared to the others? __________________________ ____________________________________________________________________

  3. In what section of the US were most slaves and cotton plantations? __________________

  4. What does this say about sectional differences? ________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________

  5. Which two causes do the maps imply as possible sparks of the Civil War?

  1. _____________________________________________________________________

  2. _____________________________________________________________________

Document B




  1. How does the population, free and enslaved, compare in the North to the South? _______________ ___________________________________________________________________

  2. What do the pie charts indicate about the differences in the economies between the North and the South? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  3. Give specific details about economic differences from question #13 based on the charts. _______________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  4. Which cause(s) would be supported by Document B? _____________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________

Document C




  1. What do Helper (Doc C) and Hammond (Doc D) have in common? ____________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

  2. How are Helper and Hammond different from each other? ________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

  3. What is the value of the documents in writing an essay on the causes of the Civil War? _______________ ______________________________________________________________________

  4. What is the Point-of-View of Helper (Doc C) and his concern for the South? ______________________ ______________________________________________________________________

  5. What is the purpose of Hammond’s (Doc D) writing? ____________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________


Document E




  1. What is the claim of Senator Calhoun in Document E? ______________________________ ________________________________________________________________

  2. How does President Lincoln counter Calhoun’s claim in Document F? ____________________ ________________________________________________________________

  3. Why might Calhoun take this stance in light of Documents C and D? ____________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  4. Why would Lincoln give this counter-claim in Document F when he did? __________________________ ________________________________________________________________________


Document G




  1. What cause(s) do Documents G and H speak to in regard to the Civil War? ______________________ _____________________________________________________________________

  2. Considering the sources of Documents G and H, what value does each have in analyzing the source in answering the question, i.e., how valid are the two sources? _____________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________

  3. How do the “notes” help you to evaluate the validity of Documents G and H? ____________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

  4. Douglass (Doc G) points to the irony of the Fourth of July. Summarize the contradictions he gives. _______ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

  5. In synthesizing these documents in an essay, how might you see Fitzhugh as an answer to Douglass? ______ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________


Document I




  1. What kind of source is this (Doc I)? Does the type of source make it more or less or equal to a primary source? ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

  2. What is the main idea of this passage (Doc I) from the textbook, The Americans? __________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

  3. Which cause of the Civil War does Document I address? __________________________________

  4. What other documents might you use for synthesis of Document I in an essay? ___________________ _____________________________________________________________________


Document J




  1. Which cause(s) can be detailed or backed by Document J? _______________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________

  2. Go back to the Background Essay and define Popular Sovereignty here: _______________________ ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________

  3. At the time, Stephen Douglas’ popular sovereignty seemed like a good compromise. Why might we now consider it short-sighted? ___________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________


Document K




  1. Who are the two men depicted in this cartoon? ____________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________

  2. What are the issues (causes of the Civil War) of Document K? ____________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________

  3. What is the POV of Document K and how can you tell? ________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________


Document L




  1. What is the main idea in Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney’s majority opinion (Doc L) in the Dred Scott (1857) case? _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

  2. How does Abraham Lincoln use Taney’s decision (Doc L) in his “House Divided” speech (Doc M) of 1858? ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

  3. What cause do both Documents L and M address? Which other documents might you use synthesize Documents L and M? ________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

Document N




  1. There were 303 Electoral College votes cast. Look at the percentage of popular votes. Did Lincoln win or was the election thrown to the House as Representatives according to the rules of the Constitution? Explain. ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________

  2. Where (region) did each of the four candidates have the most support according to Document N?

  1. Lincoln: _______________________

  2. Breckenridge: _______________________

  3. Douglas: _______________________

  4. Bell: _______________________

  1. What cause can be backed by Document N? __________________________________________



  1. Write the analytical question: _________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________

  2. Write a working title: _______________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________

  3. Narrow the causes down to three buckets and label each with one of the causes above it

  4. Drop each of the 13 documents by LETTER into at least one of the three buckets by writing the letters in the bucket

  5. Give outside information from the background essay and text to support each bucket in the boxes below the bucket (not in documents)

  6. Complete the “chicken foot” as your thesis and road map

  7. Complete the Thesis to Essay worksheet

  8. Type your five-paragraph essay using the graphic organizers and worksheet

____________________ ___________________ ____________________















































From Thesis to Essay Worksheet


  1. Working Title: ____________________________________________________

  2. Paragraph 1: The Introduction

  1. The Grabber: ___________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

  2. Background information: _________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

  3. Thesis with road map: ____________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

  1. First Body Paragraph (from the first toe and “empty” the bucket to match)

  1. Baby thesis (cause 1): ____________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

  2. Documents cited with details: ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

  3. Outside information from the drips: _________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________

  4. Transition to Paragraph 3 __________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

  1. Second Body Paragraph (from the 2nd toe and “empty” the bucket to match)

  1. Baby thesis (cause 2): ____________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

  2. Documents with details: (from the first toe and “empty” the bucket to match) ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________

  3. Outside information: ______________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

  4. Transition to Paragraph 4 _________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

  1. Third Body Paragraph (3rd toe and corresponding bucket)

  1. Baby thesis (cause 3): ___________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

  2. Documents cited with details: _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

  3. Outside information: ______________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

  4. Transition to Conclusion __________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

  1. Conclusion

  1. Restatement of thesis _____________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

  2. “Although statement” ____________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________

  3. Significance/Perspective of topic ___________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________




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