Question: The institution of slavery has been a source of contention since the founding era. Prior to the secession of Southern slaveholding states in 1861, however, a number of compromises were reached between pro-slavery and anti-slavery forces. Consider issues such as the Compromise of 1850, the Wilmot Proviso, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the Dred Scott decision. What role did these events play in the secession of the Southern states? Was secession inevitable or was a compromise still possible? Is it possible to imagine circumstances in which the system of slavery could have continued in the American South?
Directions: After analyzing the relevant chapters in Give Me Liberty, class lectures, AND the primary sources provided below, students will write a response to the question above by replying to this post. Students must utilize at least two of the recommended primary sources listed below to provide additional evidence for their response to the question above. Please be sure to reply to this post and the post of at least one or two other students. Participation in each unit’s Debate/Discussion will be included as part of the Class Participation grade.
RECOMMENDED ADDITIONAL SOURCES (available on Folio)
John C. Calhoun, The South Carolina Exposition, 1828
Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, Excerpt from The Lincoln-Douglas Debates, 1858
South Carolina Declaration of Independence, 1860
South Carolina Order of Secession, 1860
Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address, 1863
“To Colored Men: Freedom, Protection, Pay and a Call to Military Duty,” a Union broadside, n.d., ca 1864
Abraham Lincoln, Address at Sanitary Fair, 1864
Jefferson Davis, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, 1881 (Available for free online at Google Books – books.google.com; be sure to consult the Table of Contents to find what you’re looking for.)
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