Order Early United State History
1. Between 1820 and 1860 the United States experienced significant growth and expansion of industry and commerce (i.e. the Market Revolution), as well as growth in both the scope and the importance of the institution of slavery. What economic factors, technological innovations, and social conditions brought about these simultaneous transformations? In what ways were the lives of slaves and wage laborers impacted and how did they respond to these changes? Be as specific as possible in both your responses and examples.
2. Some reformers of the 1820s, 1830s and 1840s pursued their objectives within the mainstream of American society (such as the Abolitionists), while others withdrew from society and formed (religious and secular) utopian communities. Compare these two strands of American reform. What characteristics did they share in common? In what ways did they differ? How did both reflect both innovations and anxieties in the pre-Civil War United States?
Section I: Choose one of the following two questions for your second essay.
1. Analyze the major developments between 1848 and 1861 that heightened sectional tensions. Did morality or economics dominate the debates over slavery during this period? How were the various arguments both for and against slavery expressed and contesting during the specific clashes of this period? Why did the election of Abraham Lincoln spark the secession of the Deep South?
2. In April of 1861 Abraham Lincoln did not believe the conflict with the South would span four years and plunge the nation into a total war that redefined its very principles. Describe the changes in Lincoln’s thinking that led to a total war fought for high ideals. How did he come to envision the conflict in terms of redefining the meanings of freedom and liberty? Further, how did the prosecution of this “total war” strategy on the battlefield mark the Civil War as the first “modern” war?