SAQs for APUSH Topic 5.5 — Sectional Conflict

Seven short answer questions designed to help students review for the annual exam and that relate to the serious and protracted argument over lifestyles, social structures, customs, and political values that took place in America in the years leading up to the Civil War.

In the years leading up to the Civil War, Americans had a seriously and protracted arguement over the issue of immigration.

In the years leading up to the Civil War, Americans had a seriously and protracted arguement over the issue of slavery.

In the years leading up to the Civil War, Americans had a seriously and protracted arguement over the issue of states' rights.

  1. In the serious and protracted argument over the issue of slavery that took place in the years leading up to the Civil War, those who defended slavery based their arguments on racial doctrines, the view that slavery was a positive social good, and the belief that slavery and states’ rights were protected by the Constitution. Slavery as a positive good was the prevailing view of white Southern U.S. politicians and intellectuals just before the American Civil War, as opposed to a crime against humanity or even a necessary evil. Proponents of enslavement as “a good — a great good” often attacked the system of industrial capitalism, contending that the free laborer in the North, called by them a “wage slave”, was as much enslaved by capitalist owners as were the African people enslaved by whites in the South. They defended the legal enslavement of people for their labor as a benevolent, paternalistic institution with social and economic benefits. Name one “social benefit” that was bestowed on slaves, according to those who believed that slavery was a social good. Name one “economic benefit” that was bestowed on slaves, according to those who believed that slavery was a social good
  2. In the serious and protracted argument over the issue of slavery that took place in the years leading up to the Civil War, those who opposed slavery mounted a highly visible campaign against slavery, presenting moral arguments against the institution, assisting slaves’ escapes, and sometimes expressing a willingness to use violence to achieve their goals. Name an anti-slavery novel that had a profound effect on attitudes toward African Americans and slavery in the U.S. and is said to have “helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War.” John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry is evidence of the willingness of abolitionists to use violence to achieve their goals. What was John Brown’s goal in raiding the ferry?
  3. In the serious and protracted argument over the issue of slavery that took place in the years leading up to the Civil War, some Northerners did not object to slavery on principle but claimed that slavery would undermine the free labor market. As a result, a free-soil movement arose that portrayed the expansion of slavery as incompatible with free labor. Describe one similarity and one difference between “free soilers” and “abolitionists.”
  4. In the serious and protracted argument over the issue of immigration that took place in the years leading up to the Civil War, those who opposed immigration often were members of an anti-Catholic nativist movement. What is “nativism?” Give one reason why many “nativists” were anti-Catholic? Immigrants from what country were often the target of the Nativists?
  5. In the serious and protracted argument over the issue of immigration that took place in the years leading up to the Civil War, those who supported immigration included factory owners in search of cheap labor who “greeted the rush of cheap labor with zeal.” Who else supported immigration? (Clue: these people were awestruck at the increase of non-Protestant believers.) In the years leading up to the Civil War, those who immigrated to the U.S. from Europe mostly came from what two European countries?
  6. In the serious and protracted argument over the issue of states’ rights that took place in the years leading up to the Civil War, those who supported states’ rights called for the creation of a confederate form of government. What is a confederate form of government? How does a confederate form of government differ from a federal form of government? Name and briefly describe one other attempt in American history to bring to the fore a confederate form of government?
  7. One all-important outcome of the serious and protracted argument over the issue of slavery that took place in the years leading up to the Civil War, was the ending of the Second Party System. This Second Party System ended in 1854, less than a decade before the start of the Civil War, when the issues of slavery and anti-immigrant nativism weakened loyalties to the two major parties and fostered the emergence of sectional parties, most notably the Republican Party in the North. What two political parties dominated the political landscape of the Second Party System? What is meant by the term “anti-immigrant nativism?” What is meant by the term “sectional parties?” Other than the Republican Party, what was the other “sectional party” that dominated the political landscape during the Third Party System? The Third Party System ended in the 1890s (along with the Gilded Age.)
Regional Differences in the Years Leading up to the Civil War
Nativism in the Years Leading up to the Civil War
Causes of Sectional Conflict in the Years Leading up to the Civil war
Immigration and Slavery in the Years Leading up to the Civil War
The Free Soil Party Movement
Why Southerners Thought Slavery was a Positive Good
The Story Behind Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Uncle Tom’s Cabin (PBS)
The End of the Second Party System
The Second Party System

High school APUSH teacher with much in-class and online teaching experience. Also a blogger, keynote speaker, editor, podcast host, and conference presenter.