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.

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