Homework Five Model Answers

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Lecture - Questions - Student Answers
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1. Identify two of the most important outcomes of the Mexican War.

First, there was a constant battle for the upper hand between the Democratic Party and the Whig Party in the 1840s and 1850s. If a Democratic president performed his duties poorly in office, then the Whig party would usually win the next election and vice versa. Second, there was so much turmoil and conflict going on that it was difficult for one party to meet the demands of his party and the people. Thirdly, the fact that a Civil War was looming in the nearby future was no help either. The country was unstable and this lead to many one-term presidents. (Gabrielle)

2. During the time period covered by this lecture, a political party became very strong and then disappeared. Identify it, and explain why it disappeared.

During the time period covered by this lecture, a political party became very strong and then disappeared. Identify it, and explain why it disappeared. The Whig Party: It disappeared for a number of reasons, including the election of 1852 and the death of Henry Clay, The compromise of 1850 split the party into pro- slavery and anti- slavery groups, causing the Whig candidates to lose votes depending on where they fell on the issue, causing it to weaken even more. To make the matter worse, many northern Whigs, including Lincoln, joined the Republican party, leading to the death of the Whig party. (Joseph)
The Whig party, it disappeared because the Republican party absorbed it like how it absorbed pro life and tea party. (Sophia)
The political party that became very strong and then disappeared in this time period, were the Whigs, which were formed against Jacksonian politics. The reason that they disappeared was that they collapsed through disagreement on the slavery issue. (Johnny)

3. Lincoln v. Douglas: Why do you think Douglas beat Lincoln in 1858 (say which election), but then Lincoln won the rematch in 1860 (identify the election)?

In the 1858 Illinois senate election Douglas won because he had a greater reputation in Illinois, and his moderate position on slavery was able to captivate the voters from the relatively moderate state of Illinois. Slavery was a large issue everywhere but supporters of both sides and moderates lived in Illinois. Also since the election was in the hands of the legislature of Illinois, Douglas' political ties probably also helped. In the 1860 Presidential Election the tables were turned, the American people were filling out the ballots and Douglas had some unpopular positions. His relatively moderate stance on slavery annoyed voters from both the north and the south. In the North he was considered to be excessively pro-slavery, and in the south he was considered to be excessively anti-slavery. In a similar manner President Obama has never had Republican support, and some of his positions most notably in the Health care bill negotiations have lost his Democrat support. (Paul)

4. Why were there so many one-term presidents in the 1840s and 1850s? Explain.

First, there was a constant battle for the upper hand between the Democratic Party and the Whig Party in the 1840s and 1850s. If a Democratic president performed his duties poorly in office, then the Whig party would usually win the next election and vice versa. Second, there was so much turmoil and conflict going on that it was difficult for one party to meet the demands of his party and the people. Thirdly, the fact that a Civil War was looming in the nearby future was no help either. The country was unstable and this lead to many one-term presidents. (Gabrielle)

5. Lincoln thought Harriet Beecher Stowe caused the Civil War. What do you think?

Harriet Beecher Stowe certainly helped cause the Civil War, but did not single-handedly cause it. The Dred Scott decision and the Kansas/popular sovereignty debacle probably contributed more. In fact, from the very beginning of the nation, even the colonies, the difference between North and South all but predetermined some ultimate conflict, which turned out to be the Civil War. Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin was only fuel on a fire that was already raging. (Addison)
Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book certainly opened the eyes of many people to the suffering inherent in the American social and legal system for the slaves. To the extent that it infuriated abolitionists and egged them on to oppose slavery, the book did contribute to the war; but the northern states would have been adamant in the opposition to slavery even without Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and the war was also fueled by a number of political and economic issues. (Nathan)

6. Explain the cartoon, and what you think the cartoonist's view was. The woman's quote begins, "You have been a bad boy, Steve, ever since you had anything to do with that Nebraska Bill ...."

Senator Stephen Douglas is being punished by Columbia (the United States) for having caused the passage of the Nebraska-Kansas Act of 1954, which established "popular sovereignty" for each territory to decide for itself whether to accept or prohibit slavery. This resulted in many "mini-Civil Wars," with much strife in each territory as it tried to decide whether to accept slavery, and this Nebraska-Kansas Act was the single biggest step toward the Civil War. The cartoonist was almost a certainly a Republican, although not necessarily an abolitionist (the cartoon is about the territories, not slavery in the South). (Instructor)

7. "Remember the Alamo!" Why?

The Alamo was a church in Texas where and over 150 Texans led by William B. Travis were killed by the overwhelming force of Mexican soldiers. The battle was an example of bravery and dedication which inspired many Texans and Americans to join the fight for Texas’s freedom. Cries of “remember the Alamo” were heard later in the battle of San Jacinto in which Santa Anna and his forces were utterly defeated in about 18 minutes. (Jon)

8. The biggest question in all of American History is this: Do you think it was possible to avoid the Civil War? If so, how?

While there can be an infinite set of ideas to avoid the war, I believe the chances of any of those theories coming through and being successful to be improbable. From these 18 years I have been alive I have learned that in the case of right and wrong it is rare for evil to be removed without some kind of struggle. I have seen this and experienced it in the smallest of quarrels to the greatest of international crisis’s. It is foolish to believe that something as dividing and costly as 3.5 million slaves could be reconciled in a peaceful manner. Eventually there would have to be a conflict, the question shouldn’t be whether it could have been avoided but how those involved could have reduced the damage of the fallout. (James)
It might have been possible if the Nebraska-Kansas act supporting popular sovereignty had not been passed, I highly doubt we could have avoided it though. Even if the law had not been passed, the conflict over slavery would still be strong between the north and south, but would not have affected every state so much. (Daniel)
I don't think it could have been avoided. After all, the entire war began because the South wanted slaves, even though it was morally wrong. They didn't want other states telling them what to believe in, and it became a huge ordeal. This problem had to be faced sooner or later. (Elise)

Honors Questions

H1. Discuss any of the issues or mysteries relating to this lecture (1840-1860).

Why is the Whig party called “Whigs” The direct influence is the group in the Revolutionary War known as the Whigs. The name was chosen to give the Whig party an image of fighting against tyranny, and to be more popular by identifying themselves with the revolutionaries. However, the “Whigs” in the revolutionary War got their name from the religious group in England in the 1680s s when a group of Protestants opposed King James II, and they in turn took their name from a Presbytiryan group in Scotland, “The Whigamores”. (Joseph)
Debate: Do you think the South could have won the Civil War, or at least fought off the North enough to secede? ... After examining the forces at the beginning of the campaign the only true method of the south winning the war was for them to hold out until they could rally international help. The north however had numbers and better equipment and could win a war of attrition. Also there is one factor to consider; why they fought. The south fought to keep their economy free from taint and to protect their work force. The North however saw this as something more important. They fought to secure their God blessed union and to abolish slavery from the United States. While the south fought for economic freedom, the north fought for a cause they knew was just. (James)

H2. Hamilton v. Burr, Lincoln v. Douglas, Jefferson v. Adams - great rivalries in American history. What do they have in common? Discuss.

Each of the rivalries had different origins and outcomes. However what each individual had in common was a steadfast character. They took responsibility for themselves and were not afraid to stand up for what they believed would be best for the American people. (Except Burr) (Kyle)

H3. The South thought it could win the Civil War. Why did it think that? Do you agree it was possible for the South to win?

Until Grant became the general of the Union it looked like the South was going to win. Earlier in the war the South had won almost all of the conflicts. But since the North had a better economy they could sustain the war longer. The North beat the South the same way we won the Cold War: we had a better economy and more money. Except in a few situations, money always wins the war, because it gets you more allies, better weapons and more supplies. The reason the South’s economy failed is because they relied on the north and other countries for finished supplies, with the North blockading the oceans there was no way the south could trade. (Sean)
The South could not of won the Civil War for three reasons: lack of manufacturing, poor leadership, and no international help. With no manufacturing capability the Confederacy couldn’t build a navy nor equip their forts with proper artillery. It also meant that they struggled to improve and repair the rail lines decreasing their ability to supply their armies. Having only two good generals (of which one died in 1863) and few good officers cost them the entire west and many battles in the east. The Confederacy had counted on the British or French joining the war. In order to make that happen the Confederacy stopped exporting cotton. However Egypt also supplied cotton making the Confederacies choice ineffective and British and French were more reliant on the Unions corn then the Confederacies cotton. Without any help, under blockade, and losing battles left and right the Confederacy didn’t have the manpower needed to fight let alone win a war. (Anthony)

H5. Compare or contrast the Dred Scott decision with Roe v. Wade.

The Dred Scott decision and Roe v Wade are in one way the same because in the Dred Scott decision Blacks were given no rights as a citizen and in Roe v Wade an unborn child was given no rights as a citizen. (Dylan)
The similarities between the Dred Scott decision and the Roe v. Wade decision are that in both cases, human beings were declared as inhuman. In Dred Scott, it stated that Blacks were basically not people, and therefore had no rights and no protection under the Constitution. The Roe v. Wade case established the same principle that unborn babies in their mother's wombs are not people and thus have no rights and no protection under the Constitution. These two court cases were probably the most influential and most hotly debated cases in American History. (Alexa)
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