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NCHS-5-1

The causes of the Civil War


A.  The student understands how the North and South differed and how politics and ideologies led to the Civil War


Resources:

Colonial City: Revolutionary Battleground
Resource Type: E-Seminar

Relevant transcripts:
A Free and Independent City
Bitter Rivals
Slavery: A Business Necessity

Abolitionism and Antislavery
Resource Type: E-Seminar

Relevant pages:
Conclusion

The Secession Crisis
Resource Type: Document-Based Question
This selection of primary sources allows students to interpret the Civil War as an ideological battle, pitting abolitionists against slavery's apologists, and Northerners against Southerners. Students will understand why most of the Southern states chose secession over union.

Slavery a Positive Good
Resource Type: Primary Source
John C. Calhoun was vice president of the United States (1825-32) and U.S. senator from South Carolina for most of the period from 1832 to 1850.

The Civil War and the Expansion of Slavery
Resource Type: Document-Based Question
This DBQ focuses on the decade of crisis, the 1850s, during which the question of the expansion of slavery tore the country apart. The documents selected include the classic evidence that can be used to prove that the expansion of slavery was the most important cause of the Civil War, 1861–65.

Calhoun on the Compromise of 1850
Resource Type: Primary Source
John C. Calhoun became the South's most powerful advocate as senator from South Carolina for most of the period from 1832 to 1850.

Bleeding Kansas
Resource Type: Primary Source
In the summer of 1856, advocates of Free States flocked to Kansas in anticipation of the popular sovereignty vote.

A House Divided
Resource Type: Primary Source
Abraham Lincoln accepts the Republican Party's nomination for U.S. senator from Illinois. Lincoln ran against Stephen A. Douglas, the proponent of popular sovereignty.

National Democratic Party Platform of 1860
Resource Type: Primary Source
In 1860, the Democratic Party split along sectional lines, leaving the Southern Democrats as the dominant party of the South. In the 1860 presidential election, the Southern Democrats won every state of the Deep South, the first states to secede.

Crittenden's Proposed Amendment
Resource Type: Primary Source
Abraham Lincoln has been elected President and the threat of secession hangs over the Union. What is Crittenden's plan?

Response to the Crittenden Amendment
Resource Type: Primary Source
This editorial responds to Crittenden's proposal to amend the Constitution.

Mississippi's Declaration of Secession
Resource Type: Primary Source
The first state to secede was South Carolina, doing so on December 20, 1860. Before the end of February, all the states of the Deep South (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas) had seceded.

Why Did the South (Excluding the Border States) Secede?
Resource Type: Point-Counterpoint
The cause of the Civil War is hotly debated and contested by historians. Some disagree with Eric Foner's thesis and assign to slavery a lesser role in causing the Civil War. Two interpretations that predate Foner are worth mentioning: the economic one, put forth by Charles and Mary Beard; and the political one, proposed by Avery Craven and James G. Randall, which maintains that the war was caused by a "blundering generation" of 1850s leaders, who missed the opportunity to compromise.

Decisions of Slaves to Leave the Plantation: Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Resource Type: Classroom Simulation
In this simulation students will examine the very complex decision that slaves faced regarding whether to leave the plantations in the early years of the Civil War and whether to join the Union forces. Students will understand how a single decision gravely affected the lives of slaves, their families, the outcome of the war, and even the period of Reconstruction.

The Secession Crisis
Resource Type: Document-Based Question
This selection of primary sources allows students to interpret the Civil War as an ideological battle, pitting abolitionists against slavery's apologists, and Northerners against Southerners. Students will understand why most of the Southern states chose secession over union.

Illustrations of the Pro-Slavery Argument
Resource Type: Primary Source
These illustrations support the institution of slavery. Why?

The Civil War and the Expansion of Slavery
Resource Type: Document-Based Question
This DBQ focuses on the decade of crisis, the 1850s, during which the question of the expansion of slavery tore the country apart. The documents selected include the classic evidence that can be used to prove that the expansion of slavery was the most important cause of the Civil War, 1861–65.

Calhoun on the Compromise of 1850
Resource Type: Primary Source
John C. Calhoun became the South's most powerful advocate as senator from South Carolina for most of the period from 1832 to 1850.

Expansion of Slavery into the Territories
Resource Type: Point-Counterpoint
Eric Foner argues that the debate over whether the territories (particularly land acquired from the Louisiana Purchase (1803) and through the Mexican-American War (1846–48)) would be carved into slave or free states was the key political issue of the 1850s and the major source of conflict between northern and southern states. A teacher compares the interpretation of William Gienapp with Foner's view.


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