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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 of the textbook.
  • 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”?

Reminders

  • Paragraphs in an  essay are not numbered. Any questions that are associated with an  assigned reading are there to serve as a guide for your discussion.
  • Your discussion should incorporate all of the information from the documents and or textbook, and outside sources as one essay.
  • Students are required to research and incorporate into their discussions additional sources that relate to the content. Recommendations can be found in at the end of the textbook chapter in Additional Reading.
  • All statements must be supported and all sources must be identified and cited, and included in your reference list. This also applies to the textbook. Failure to do so constitutes Plagiarism,  and the college has strict policies and penalties for failure to  comply. Under the Resources, you will find links to sites that review  how to format a paper or essay. I recommend that students use APA or Chicago Style to format their essay. Students should ask their instructor which format style they prefer you to use.
  • Proofread your work.  Make sure that you have looked for all of the spelling and grammatical  errors and corrected them, and that you have organized your work into  coherent paragraphs.
  • Prepare the assignment as a Word Document, double-spaced and using a standard font of 12 points.
  • Submit via the Dropbox as an ATTACHMENT. Any work that is submitted directly into the box will be graded as a 0.
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