Causes of the Civil War Perspective Project

United States History I Honors
Marking Period 4
Spring 2009
The Union in Peril 1850-1861

As the United States sought to fulfill its manifest destiny by going to war with Mexico in 1846, troubling sectional tensions loomed on the horizon as the issue of the westward expansion of slavery once again reared its ugly head. Although the Compromise of 1850 temporarily kept the peace and quelled any threats of secession, it would prove to be only a temporary solution. The decade of the 1850s would witness the wheels coming off our national wagon. Sectionalism increased greatly as events accelerated, most having to do in some way or another with the slavery issue. For this activity, you will be assigned one of the pivotal events in the nation’s last decade of unity. Please research your event or topic, find a picture, compose a thorough explanation of the who, what, where, when and why (the essential information) and finally, explain how the event was viewed by the North and how it was seen by the South. To conclude, rank your event in terms of how significant it was in bringing about the Civil War. Using a 1-5 ranking system, I would give a 5 to an event that was incredibly divisive and possibly a 2 to an event that was only mildly divisive. These judgment calls should be made by you, but you may find in your research that historians have already assessed their role in precipitating war in 1861. Please drop your pictures, a text section explaining your event (typed), your ranking, maps, audio clips, youtube clips, paintings, etc. into our class wikispace.

Each pair of students will deliver a brief oral presentation on their findings. These presentations will not all be given at once so that class time is available for further instruction. Student research and wikispace work should be completed by Tuesday May19th. Point Value for this assignment will be 100 points.