Document Based Question
Directions: In the essay you should strive to support your assertions both by citing key pieces of evidence from the documents and by drawing on your knowledge of the period.
"The Civil War was not inevitable; it was the result of extremism and failures of leadership on both sides." Assess this statement, using the following documents and your knowledge of the period from 1830 to 1860.
"I do not, then, hesitate to avow before this House and the country, and in the presence of the living God, that if by your legislation you [northerners] seek to drive us from the territories of California and New Mexico, purchased by the common blood and treasure of the whole people, and to abolish slavery in this District [Washington, D.C.] thereby attempting to fix national degradation upon half the states of this Confederacy, I am for disunion. And if my physical courage be equal to the maintenance of my convictions or right and duty, I will devote all I am and all I have on earth to its consummation."
Congressman Robert Toombs of Georgia, Response on the floor of the House to northern efforts to keep slavery out of the territories, December 13, 1849.
"Sir, there are those abolition societies, of which I am unwilling to speak, but in regard to which I have very clear notions and opinions. I do not think them useful I think their operations of the last twenty years have produced nothing good or valuable.
I do not mean to impute gross motives even to the leaders of these societies, but I am not blind to the consequences. I cannot but see what mischiefs their interference with the South has produced. .
These abolition societies commenced their course of action in 1835. It is said-I do not know how true it may be-that they sent incendiary publications into the slave states. At any event, they attempted to arouse, and did arouse, a very strong feeling. In other words, they created great agitation in the North against Southern slavery."
Daniel Webster, Speech in the Senate supporting the Compromise of 1850, March 7,1850.
"Tom spoke in a mild voice, but with a decision that could not be mistaken. Legree shook with anger, his greenish eyes glared fiercely, and his very whiskers seemed to curl with passion. But, like some ferocious beast, that plays with its victim before he devours it, he kept back his strong impulse to proceed to immediate violence, and broke into bitter raillery.
"Well, here's a pious dog, at last, let down among us sinners!-a saint, a gentleman, and no less, to talk to us sinners about our sins! Powerful holy critter, he must be! Here, you rascal, you make to believe to be so pious-didn't you never hear, out of yer Bible, `Servants, obey yer masters'? An't I yer master? Didn't I pay down twelve hundred dollars, cash, for all there is inside yer old cussed black shell? An't yer mine now body and soul?" he said, giving Tom a violent kick with his heavy boot; "tell me!"
In the very depth of...