Assignment Sheet and Rubric for “Civil War” Essay in U. S. History Two Questions

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Assignment Sheet and Rubric for “Civil War” Essay in U.S. History

Two Questions:

  • What were the five main causes of the U.S. Civil War, and why these main causes?

  • Was the Civil War Inevitable, and if so or if not, then why?

(1) The purpose of this assignment is to fully answer the two questions for this essay, having a ½ page typed answer for the first question, “What were the five main causes of the U.S. Civil War, and why these main causes? And one-page typed response to the second question, “Was the Civil War inevitable, and if so or if not, then why?”
Must include:

- Length Requirements: Minimum – One and ½ pages typed, with Maximum – Two pages typed

- Works Cited page & in-text citations

* MLA citation of information from the Internet and from books - This is a great web site!!!
(I am taking the following information from this web site.)

In MLA style, when referring to the works of others in your text, this is done by using what's known as parenthetical citation. Immediately following a quotation from a source or a paraphrase of a source's ideas, you place the authors name followed by a space and the relevant page number(s), like this:

Human beings have been described as "symbol-using animals" (Burke 3).

When a source has no known author, use a shortened title of the work instead of an author name. Place the title in quotation marks if it's a short work, or italicize or underline it if it's a longer work. Your in-text citation will correspond with an entry in your Works Cited page, which, for the Burke citation above, will look something like this:

From a typical book source:

Burke, Kenneth. Language as Symbolic Action: Essays on Life, Literature, and Method. Berkeley: U of California P, 1966.

From a web site:

Name of Site. Date of Posting/Revision. Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sometimes found in copyright statements). Date you accessed the site .

Typed Paper

* Meets Content Criteria

(4 Points)

Purpose: The purpose of this assignment is to fully answer the two questions for this essay, having a ½ page typed answer for the first question, “What were the five main causes of the U.S. Civil War, and why these main causes? And one-page typed response to the second question, “Was the Civil War inevitable, and if so or if not, then why?”
For Second Question, include answers to following questions:

  • Could a solution similar to Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 (Great Britain) have worked in the United States, and then why?

  • Many other countries in the world had freed their slaves, why was this not done in the United States?

  • Could the efforts of the American Colonization Society have worked in the United States, and then why?

  • Could states’ efforts to end slavery have been successful with more financial compensation to slave owners, and then why?

  • Was compensated slavery a viable option to end slavery in the United States, and then why?

  • What were efforts that other U.S. states utilized to end slavery?

  • How did the Dred Scott Case (1857) impact Congress’s ability to act upon the slavery question?

* Mechanics (2 Points)

Full Credit: There are no errors in punctuation or verb/noun agreement, as it looks as if much effort was put into this paper.

Half Credit: There are many errors in punctuation or verb/noun agreement, as it looks as if this paper was created rather quickly without much effort.

* Organization (2 Points)

(Paragraph / Sentence Order)

Full Credit: The paper is well organized into paragraphs, as well as including the following:
- Works Cited Page & In-text Citations

- 12 point font, Times New Roman

- One-inch margins

Half Credit: The paper is not organized into paragraphs. There seems to be little organization in this paper, and paper lacks one of the following:
- Works Cited Page & In-text Citations

- 12 point font, Times New Roman

- One-inch margins

* Citations (2 Points)

Full Credit: The paper includes in-text citations and the material is cited in the references.

Half Credit: The paper does not include in-text citations and the material is not cited in the references.

  1. In your opinion, was the Civil War inevitable? Were the North and the South doomed from the beginning to battle each other eventually over the slavery issue?

The Civil War was essentially inevitable. Ever since Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin in the 1790s, the South had been on a completely different economic and social path from the North. In the 1850s, social and political developments, including the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the Fugitive Slave Act, Bleeding Kansas, the Dred Scott decision, and John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, drove the regions further apart. Although the North and the South tried to reconcile their differences with major political compromises in 1820 and in 1850, both attempts failed.

The cotton gin transformed the slave South completely in the early 1800s, when plantation owners abandoned almost all other crops in favor of the newly profitable cotton. To raise more cotton, planters also purchased more slaves from Africa and the West Indies before the slave trade was banned in 1808. Thousands of blacks were brought into the United States during these years to tend to cotton fields. The size of plantations increased from relatively small plots to huge farms with as many as several hundred slaves each. Because the entire Southern economy became dependent on cotton, it also became dependent on slavery. Although Northern factories certainly benefited indirectly from slavery, Northern social customs were not tied to slavery as Southern customs were.

Events in the 1850s proved that the North-South slavery divide was irreconcilable. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which awakened Northerners to the plight of Southern slaves, became an overnight bestseller in the North but was banned in the South. The book was particularly powerful in the wake of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, which forbade both Northerners and Southerners to assist runaway slaves—a law that troubled even those who had shown little sympathy for the abolitionist cause. The “Bleeding Kansas” violence of 1856between proslavery groups and Free-Soilers shocked people in the North and in the South and demonstrated just how strongly the opposing camps felt about their beliefs. In 1857, the Dred Scott decision outraged Northerners because it declared the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional and effectively opened the North to slavery. Finally, John Brown’s 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry, Virginia, and subsequent execution proved to be the last straw for many on both sides. Northerners mourned the “martyr” Brown, while Southerners celebrated his death as a great victory. These events of the 1850s convinced Americans in both the North and South that there could be no compromise on the slavery issue.

Both sides had tried to resolve the issue on numerous occasions, but to no avail. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 had established the 36˚ 30' parallel as the border between the slave states and the free states. This compromise satisfied both sides for a while but eventually became too restrictive for the South. The Compromise of 1850 likewise sought to end the slavery debate after the Mexican War and the Wilmot Proviso raised the question of slavery in the West—but in the end these peaceful resolutions were also unsatisfactory. As a result, in light of the deep political, economic, and social divides, as well as the failure of compromise attempts, armed conflict was thus inevitable.

Daniel Hannan

Daniel Hannan is the author of 'How we Invented Freedom' (published in the US and Canada as 'Inventing Freedom: how the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World').

Could the American Civil War have been avoided?

By Daniel Hannan US politics Last updated: February 9th, 2014

Was it needless death after all?

More than one monstrous war is marked in anniversary this year. A hundred-and-fifty years ago, Union forces were pressing their advantage in Tennessee and opening a new front in Louisiana. The Confederacy's last real chance of victory had been lost at Gettysburg the previous summer, but few were ready to admit it. The war had already claimed more than 600,000 lives – equivalent, in proportionate terms, to six million Americans today, or 1.2 million Britons – yet the South would fight on for another 14 months, showing a heroism in defeat that would, in later years, come to sanctify an unworthy cause.

I am on a mission to promote the Anglosphere, and it took me, for about 12 hours over the weekend, to the Confederate capital: Richmond, Virginia. Stomping the chilly streets, I was struck by how excruciating the decision over secession must have been for Virginians. A short stroll from Jefferson Davies's White House is the state capitol, designed by Thomas Jefferson. Not far in the other direction is the church where Patrick Henry gave his "Liberty or Death" speech. How mortifying for the heirs of Washington and Jefferson, Madison and Monroe, to have to repudiate the country whose leadership they once assumed as their right.

We tend to think of the South hurtling into war with the rebel yell on its lips, as in Gone with the Wind. Perhaps that's how it happened in some places; but Virginia held back, conflicted, until ordered to join the federal attack on the secessionists. The state's ambivalence was personified by Robert E. Lee, who turned down command of the Union armies before resignedly offering his services to the Confederates. Lee called secession "a calamity" and slavery "a moral evil" but, when the moment came, he could not bring himself to draw sword against Virginia.

Might slavery have been abolished without bloodshed? It's hard to say. The ban on the import of new slaves would eventually have finished the institution, but at a price of decades of suffering for those already in bondage. Peaceful manumission, as had happened much earlier in Britain, was the obvious alternative, but the slave-owners were in no mood to sell. Then again, had they been able to foresee the future, they would surely have grabbed at compensated abolition.

The Greek tragedians understood that poignant sorrow requires a measure of missed opportunity. The American Civil War saw many good men, acting from sincere motives, leading their compatriots to a slaughter whose extent no one had imagined possible.

"Was it needless death after all?" asked W.B. Yeats in a different context. Probably. That's what makes the whole thing so exquisitely sad.

UPDATE: James Bennett has some interesting thoughts, which are worth sharing:
Fascinating post as usual.  This is a great question – of course the war could have been avoided, or at least postponed, but like most wars, at what cost?  Lincoln tried very hard to get slaveowners to accept compensated emancipation, but they refused, even in Delaware where there were very few slaves.  Of course the Southerners should have negotiated a peace right after Gettysburg and Vicksburg, but they would not give up their dream of independence.  Sunk cost is hard enough to write off in money, but even harder top write off lost lives.   

A reasonable peace in July 1863 would have included compensated emancipation for any slave in bondage as the date of secession, Federal assumption of at least a fraction of the value of Confederate bonds, and a period in which Confederate money could be exchanged for Federal notes at a reasonable market rate, as well as a Federal pension to disabled Confederate veterans.  All this would have been less expensive than fighting to the end of the war.  It would have insured that the South could have entered the postwar era with the capital to establish an industrial economy to replace the plantation economy.  In return the South would have had to accept the separate statehood of West Virginia and probably the other Unionist mountain areas like East Tennessee, and probably also allowing the black majority areas to form separate states of their own.  All this with the wisdom of hindsight!

Abolition Timeline
- 1542 – Spain abolishes slavery in its colonies

- 1706 – A British court decision establishes that “as soon as a Negro comes into England, he becomes free.”

- 1723 – 1730 – China’s Emperor Yongzheng frees most slaves in China’s empire, however, some wealthy families continued to use slave labor into the 20th Century.

- 1774 – Portugal prohibits the transport of slaves to its country and frees all children of slaves born in Portugal

- 1777 – Constitution of Vermont partially frees slaves

- 1780 – Pennsylvania passes “An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery” freeing future children of slaves, as those born prior to the Act remain enslaved for life; last slaves freed 1847. The Act becomes a model for other Northern states.

- 1783 – Massachusetts court decision frees all slaves in state; slaves achieve freedom immediately.

- 1783 – New Hampshire begins gradual emancipation of slaves.

- 1784 – Connecticut and Rhode Island begin gradual emancipation of slaves.

- 1787 – Sierre Leon is founded by Great Britain as colony for emancipated slaves.

- 1802 – Ohio writes a state constitution banning slavery.

- 1804 – New Jersey begins gradual abolition of slavery, freeing future children of slaves, as those born prior to act remain enslaved for life.

- 1804 – Haiti declares independence from France and abolishes slavery.

- 1816 – Venezuela abolishes slavery and frees all slaves, an act by Simon Bolivar.

- 1820 – Indiana State Supreme Court decisions rules all slaves free.

- 1822 – Greece abolishes slavery.

- 1823 – Chile abolishes slavery.

- 1824 – Mexico’s new constitution frees existing slaves.

- 1827 – New York state abolishes slavery, as children born between 1799 and 1827 are indentured until age 25 (females) and age 28 (males).

- 1829 – Last slaves freed in Mexico.

- 1830 – Uruguay abolishes slavery.

- 1831 – Bolivia abolishes slavery.

- 1834 – Great Britain abolishes slavery in all its colonies with a few exceptions that are delayed.

- 1835 – Serbia abolishes slavery.

- 1848 – Denmark and France free all slaves through compensated emancipation, paying slave owners.

- 1851 – New Granada (modern Colombia) abolishes slavery.

- 1852 – Kingdom of Hawaii abolishes slavery.

- 1853 – Argentina abolishes slavery.

- 1854 – Peru and Venezuela abolish slavery.

- 1863 – Emancipation Proclamation”: President Abraham Lincoln declares slaver in Confederate-controlled areas to be freed. Most slaves in “Border States” are freed by state legislation.

- 1865 – 13th Amendment: abolishes all remaining slavery in United States, affecting about 40,000 people.

Nations and empires that ended slavery through some form of compensated emancipation

  • Argentina

  • Bolivia

  • Brazil

  • British Empire

  • Chile

  • Colombia

  • Danish colonies

  • Netherlands

  • Ecuador

  • French colonial empire

  • Mexico and Central America

  • Paraguay

  • Peru

  • Spanish Empire

  • Sweden

  • Uruguay

  • Venezuela

  • United States (Washington, DC only)

Slavery Abolition Act 1833 (Great Britain)

The common law of England did not recognize anyone as a slave (although in Scotland slavery still existed until the late eighteenth century, when it was abolished by legislation).  Slavery, however, existed in a number of British colonies, principally in the West Indies. 

The Slavery Abolition Bill 1833 was passed by the House of Commons and by the House of Lords.

His Majesty King William IV,
who gave his Royal Assent to the Bill.


It received the Royal Assent (which means it became law) on 29 August 1833 and came into force on 1 August 1834.  On that date slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire.


Financial Compensation and Details of Law:
The Act automatically applied as new possessions (principally in Africa) subsequently became part of the British Empire, which included much of Africa, India, Australia, and islands all around the world.
In practical terms, only the slaves below the age of six were freed in the colonies, as former slaves over the age of six were redesignated as “apprentices” which ended in 1840.
The Act provided compensation for slave-owners who would be losing their property at “the Sum of Twenty Million

Pounds Sterling” (£69.93 billion in 2013 pounds). Private citizens of Great Britain, very wealthy families, paid large sums of money to compensate slave owners in the British Colonies: including the families of Henry Phillpotts (then the Bishop of Exeter) who paid £12,700 for 665 slaves in the West Indies and Henry Lascelles (2nd Earl of Harewood) who paid £26,309 for 2,554 slaves on 6 plantations. The then total of £20 million pounds was 40% of the government’s total yearly budget.

Peaceful protests in the British Colonies in the 1830s led to an end to the apprenticeship program by 1838, so effectively full emancipation occurred peacefully on Aug. 1, 1838.


Purposes of the Act

The purposes of the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 were described in the preamble to the Bill as:

  1. “the abolition of slavery throughout the British colonies”;

  2. “for promoting the industry of the manumitted slaves”; and

  3. “for compensating the persons hitherto entitled to the services of such slaves”.

The second purpose was achieved by providing for a period of apprenticeship.


The third purpose was achieved by appropriating £20 million — a huge sum in those days — to compensate slave owners.


The American Colonization Society

The American Colonization Society was established in 1816 by Robert Finley as an attempt to satisfy two groups in America. Ironically, these groups were on opposite ends of the spectrum involving the slavery issue in the early 1800's. One group consisted of philanthropists, clergy, and abolitionists who wanted to free African slaves and their descendants and provide them with the opportunity to return to Africa. The other group was the slave owners who feared free people of color and wanted to expel them from America.

Both of these groups felt that free blacks would be unable to assimilate into the white society of this country. John Randolph, one famous slave owner called free blacks "promoters of mischief." At this time, about 2 million Negroes live in America of which 200,000 were free persons of color. Henry Clay, a southern congressman and sympathizer of the plight of free blacks, believed that because of "unconquerable prejudice resulting from their color, they never could amalgamate with the free whites of this country."

On December 21, 1816, a group of exclusively white upper-class males including James Monroe, Bushrod Washington, Andrew Jackson, Francis Scott Key, and Daniel Webster met at the Davis hotel in Washington D.C. with Henry Clay presiding over the meeting. They met one week later and adopted a constitution. During the next three years, the society raised money by selling membership using the certificate shown here. The Society's members relentlessly pressured Congress and the President for support. In 1819, they received $100,000 from Congress and in January 1820 the first ship, the Elizabeth, set sail from New York, headed for West Africa with three white ACS agents and 88 emigrants.
The ship arrived first at Freetown, Sierra Leone then sailed south to what is now the Northern coast of Liberia and made an effort to establish a settlement. All three whites and 22 of the emigrants died within three weeks from yellow fever. The remainders returned to Sierra Leone and waited from another ship. The Nautilus sail twice in 1821 and established a settlement at Mesurado Bay on an island they named Perseverance. It was difficult for the early settlers, made of mostly free-born blacks, who were not born into slavery, but were denied the full rights of American citizenship. The native Africans resisted the expansion of the settlers resulting in many armed conflicts. Nevertheless, in the next decade 2,638 African-Americans migrated to the area. Also, the colony entered into an agreement with the United States government to accept freed slaves captured from slave ships.

During the next 20 years the colony continued to grow and establish economic stability. Since the establishment of the colony, the ACS employed white agents to govern the colony. In 1842, Joseph Jenkins Roberts became the first non-white governor of Liberia. In 1847, the legislature of Liberia declared itself an independent state, with J.J. Roberts elected as its first President.

The society in Liberia developed into three segments: The settlers with European-African lineage; freed slaves from slave ships and the West Indies; and indigenous native people. These groups would have a profound effect upon the history of Liberia.

Light at the End of the Road: Thomas Jefferson's Endorsement of Free Haiti in His Final Years

Academic journal article By Scherr, Arthur
Journal of Haitian Studies , Vol. 15, No. 1/2 , Spring 2009

After Thomas Jefferson retired from the presidency, his son-in-law, Virginia's Governor, Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr., perhaps following the revered old man's advice, proposed in 1820 that the Virginia State Legislature emancipate a certain number of slaves annually and transport them to Haiti. Although the Virginia assembly defeated Randolph's measure, Jefferson continued to advocate it in letters to correspondents in the northern states and elsewhere in the final years of his life. He considered it a means to find justice for African Americans, give them a chance to prove themselves in a society where men of their color ruled, and simultaneously preserve the United States as a White Man's Country where democracy, peace and happiness, albeit only for white people, could finally be attained.

In old age especially, Thomas Jefferson became more and more convinced that the solution to the problem of southern slavery was the gradual emancipation of the slaves and their deportation to Haiti. When, amid the national crisis over Missouri's admission to the Union as a slave state in 1820, his son-in-law, governor of Virginia Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr., proposed such a plan, Jefferson supported it from the sidelines, praising his "courage." "Altho' this is not ripe to be immediately acted on," he observed after the state legislature defeated the proposal, "it will, with the Missouri question, force a serious attention to that object by our citizens, which the vicinage of St. Domingo brings within the scope of possibility."2

Randolph's proposal for gradual emancipation, in his message to the Virginia assembly in December 1820, would be voluntary on the part of slaveholders. It was therefore less far-reaching than what Jefferson had in mind. Motivated by misperception of free blacks' indolence, race hatred, and involvement in fencing goods stolen by slaves as much as by hatred for slavery, Randolph charged that their practices were ruining "the Farmers of Virginia. …

Dred Scott Case, 1857
Dred Scott Nor Any African American Are Citizens of any State

Therefore, according to Taney's analysis, nothing in the nation's history or law suggests that Scott's peculiar situation would make him a citizen of the United States, eligible to sue in federal court.

Congress Cannot Restrict Slavery in the Territories

Despite the conclusion that the Court lacked jurisdiction, however, it went on to decide the second question of the decision (in what Republicans would label its "obiter dictum"): the provisions of the Missouri Compromise declaring it to be free territory were beyond Congress's power to enact. The Court rested its decision on the grounds that Congress's power to acquire territories and create governments within those territories was limited solely to the Northwest Territories, not Louisiana territory, which was acquired well after the signing of the Constitution.

Parrying the Constitution's Article IV, Section 3 ("The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States"), Taney argued that the clause immediately following protected permanent states — those that eventually arose from temporary territories — from those very Rules and Regulations: "...and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State."
Cannot Deprive Citizens of “Property Rights” in Fifth Amendment

The Court also held that the Fifth Amendment barred any law that would deprive a slaveholder of his property, such as his slaves, upon the incidence of migration into free territory.

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