Unit 4: Civil War/Reconstruction

Social Science Department at Canyon Crest Academy


AP  U.S. History

Van Over

Unit Four

The Civil War and Reconstruction



DIRECTIONS:        This is your study resource to use as we progress through our unit.  It lists concepts, terms, and an outline of items that may appear on the unit exam or the AP Exam.  Use this guide as you wish; it will not be collected.  However, all material on this guide (and from class) is subject to being tested.


READINGS:                           Kennedy, et al, Chapters 16, 18, 19, 20, 21 (excerpts), 22

§         See below for the specific pages to read in Chapter 21

                                                Taking Sides Issues 14 and 17 (These apply, but are only required if assigned.)


                                                Miscellaneous primary source documents


UNIT DATES:                        October 14—October 24, 2008


ANTICIPATED TEST:            Multiple Choice Test: October 24, 2008

                                                NO FRQ or DBQ on this test.




Your weekly agendas may specify certain portions of a chapter, or certain chapters, to be read as homework prior to a day’s lesson.  THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU SHOULD ONLY READ PAGES LISTED IN YOUR AGENDAS.  FURTHERMORE, IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU ARE NOT ACCOUNTABLE FOR ALL READINGS FOR THE UNIT.  Do not fall into the trap of only reading what is specified in the agendas.


CHAPTER 16: The South and the Slavery Controversy, 1793—1860




  1. Point out the economic strengths and weaknesses of the “Cotton Kingdom.”

  2. Describe the southern planter aristocracy and identify its strengths and weaknesses.

  3. Describe the nonslaveholding white majority of the South and explain its relations with both the planter elite and the black slaves.

  4. Describe the nature of African American life, both free and slave, before the Civil War.

  5. Describe the effects of the “peculiar institution” of slavery on both blacks and whites.

  6. Explain why abolitionism was at first unpopular in the North and describe how it gradually gained strength.

  7. Describe the fierce southern response to abolitionism and the growing defense of slavery as a “positive good.”


Identify, define, or describe AND state the historical significance of the following:


Harriet Beecher Stowe                       William Lloyd Garrison                        Denmark Vesey                   

David Walker                                        Nat Turner                                                Sojourner Truth

Theodore Dwight Weld                       Frederick Douglass                              Arthur and Lewis Tappan

Elijah P. Lovejoy                                   Oligarchy                                                Abolitionism

“Positive Good”                                   Cotton Kingdom                                    The Liberator

Mulattoes                                               American Anti-Slavery Society         “peculiar institution”

Liberty party                                          Lane rebels                                             Gag Resolution


Review Questions:


  1. In what way could the complex structure of southern society be described?  What role did plantation owners, small slaveholders, independent white farmers, poor whites, free blacks, and black slaves each have in the southern social order?

  2. Compare the attitudes and practices regarding slavery and race relations in the North and the South.  Explain the common statement that southerners liked blacks as individuals but despied the race, while northerners claimed to like blacks as a race but disliked individuals.

  3. How did the reliance  on cotton production and slavery affect the South economically, socially, and morally, and how did this reliance affect its relations with the North?

  4. How did slavery affect the lives of African Americans in both the South and the North?

  5. A large majority of Americans, in both the North and the South, strongly rejected radical abolitionism.  Why, then, did abolitionism and antislavery come to shape American politics in the 1840s and 1850s?

  6. In what ways did slavery make the South a fundamentally different kind of society from the North?  Could the South ever have abolished slavery gradually on its own, as the North did after the American Revolution?  Why or why not?

  7. If you had been an ordinary northern citizen in the 1830s or 1840s, what would you have proposed to do about the central American problem of slavery, and why?  Would either William Lloyd Garrison’s radical abolitionism or Frederick Douglass’s political abolitionism have appealed to you?  Did any other “solutions” seem attractive and plausible?


CHAPTER 18:  Renewing the Sectional Struggle, 1848—1854



  1. Explain how the issue of slavery in the territories acquired from Mexico disrupted American politics from 1848—1850.

  2. Point out the major terms of the Compromise of 1850 and indicate how this agreement attempted to deal with the issue of slavery.

  3. Indicate how the Whig party disintegrated and disappeared because of its divisions over slavery.

  4. Describe how the Pierce administration—as well as private American adventurers—pursued various overseas and expansionist ventures designed primarily to expand slavery.

  5. Describe Douglas’s Kansas-Nebraska Act and explain why it stirred the sectional controversy to new heights.


Identify, define, or describe AND state the historical significance of the following:


Lewis Cass                                            Stephen A. Douglas                            Franklin Pierce

Zachary Taylor                                      John C. Calhoun                                   Winfield Scott

Martin Van Buren                                 Daniel Webster                                    Matthew C. Perry

Harriet Tubman                                    William H. Seward                              James Gadsden

Henry Clay                                             Millard Fillmore                                   “popular sovereignty”

Free Soil Party                                      Fugitive Slave Law                              “Conscience” Whigs

“Personal liberty laws”                      Underground Railroad                       Compromise of 1850

“Fire eaters”                                         Clayton-Bulwer Treaty                         “Seventh of March” Speech

Ostend Manifesto                                 “higher law”                                          Kansas-Nebraska Act


Review Questions:


  1. What urgent issues created the crisis leading up to the Compromise of 1850?

  2. What was the effect of the morally powerful slavery debate on American political parties?  What caused the demise of the Whig Party, and the rise of the Free Soil and Republican parties?

  3. How did the Compromise of 1850 attempt to deal with the most difficult issues concerning slavery?  Was the Compromise a “success?”  By what standard?

  4. Why were proslavery southerners so eager to push for further expansion in Nicaragua, Cuba, and elsewhere in the 1850s?

  5. What were the causes and consequences of the Kansas-Nebraska Act?

  6. How similar was the Compromise of 1850 to the Missouri Compromise of 1820?  How did each sectional compromise affect the balance of power between North and South?  Why could sectional issues be compromised in 1820 and 1850, but not in 1854?

  7. Because Senator Stephen A. Douglas’ Kansas-Nebraska Act re-ignited the slavery issues after the Compromise of 1850, should he bear responsibility as an instigator of the Civil War?  How and why might Civil War have come even if Douglas’ bill had not been enacted?


Chapter 19: Drifting Toward Disunion, 1854—1861




  1. Relate the sequence of major crises that led from the Kansas-Nebraska Act to secession and explain the significance of each.

  2. Explain how and why “bleeding Kansas” became a dress rehearsal for the Civil War.

  3. Trace the growing power of the Republican Party in the 1850s and the increasing divisions and helplessness of the Democrats.

  4. Explain how the Dred Scott decision and John Brown’s Harpers Ferry raid deepened sectional antagonism.

  5. Trace the rise of Lincoln as the leading exponent of the Republican doctrine of no expansion of slavery.

  6. Determine the complex issues in the election of 1860, the sectional divisions it revealed, and explain why Lincoln won.

  7. Describe the movement toward secession, the formation of the Confederacy, and the failure of the last compromise effort.


Identify, define, or describe AND state the historical significance of the following:


Harriet Beecher Stowe                       Hinton R. Helper                                  John Brown

James Buchanan                                 Charles Sumner                                    John C. Frémont

Dred Scott                                             Roger Taney                                           John C. Breckenridge

John Bell                                               Abraham Lincoln                                   Jefferson Davis

John Crittenden                                   “self-determination”                            “southern nationalism”

Uncle Tom’s Cabin                              The Impending Crisis of the South   New England Immigrant Aid Society

Pottawatomie Creek Massacre        Lecomption Constitution                    “Bleeding Kansas”

American (Know-Nothing) Party       Dred Scott decision                             Panic of 1857

Lincoln-Douglas debates                   Freeport Doctrine                                  Harpers Ferry raid

Constitutional Union Party                 Crittenden Compromise


Review Questions:


  1. How did each of the crisis events of the 1850s help lead toward the Civil War?

  2. What role did violence play in increasing the sectional conflict?

  3. How did the political developments of the period work to fragment the Democratic Party and benefit the Republicans?

  4. Explain the crucial role of Stephen A. Douglas in the political events of the 1850s.  Why did Douglas’ attempts to push the conflict over slavery out of sight fail?  What role did Douglas play in the election of 1860?

  5. Could the Crittenden Compromise or some other proposal have prevented or at least postponed the Civil War?  Why was compromise successful in 1820 and 1850, but not in 1860?

  6. How did the North and the South each view the various events of the 1850s?  Why were their views so different?

  7. Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans frequently declared that the sought only to prevent the expansion of slavery, and not to overturn slavery where it existed.  Yet, immediately after Lincoln’s election some southerners pursued secession.  Why?  Were the fears of Lincoln rational or irrational?


CHAPTER 20: Girding for War: The North and the South, 1861—1865




  1. Explain how the firing on Fort Sumter and Lincoln’s call for troops galvanized both sides for war.

  2. Indicate the strengths and weaknesses of both sides as they went to war.

  3. Describe the diplomatic struggle for the sympathies of the European powers.

  4. Describe the curtailment of civil liberties and the mobilization of military manpower during the war.

  5. Analyze the economic and social consequences of the war for both sides.


Identify, define, or describe AND state the historical significance of the following:


Napoleon III                                         Maximilian                                            Charles Francis Adams

Clara Barton                                         William H. Seward                              Edwin M. Stanton

Jefferson Davis                                    Morrill Tariff Act                                   National Banking Act

Trent affair                                            Alabama                                                  Laird rams

King Cotton                                          Draft Riots


Review Questions:


  1. How did the Civil War change from a limited war to preserve the Union into a “total war” to abolish slavery?

  2. What political factors affected Lincoln’s approach to the goals and conduct of the war?  Why was he a more successful political leader than Jefferson Davis?

  3. Why was Lincoln’s skillful handling of the Fort Sumter crisis crucial to arousing the Union’s political determination to force the South to stay in the Union?

  4. Why was the South’s confidence in “King Cotton” misplaced?  What southern economic weaknesses were exposed by the war?

  5. How did careful Union diplomacy manage the Civil War crisis with Britain and end British flirtations with the Confederacy?

  6. How did the North and the South each handle their economic and human resources needs?  Why were the economic consequences of the war so different for the two sides?

  7. What changes did the Civil War bring about it civilian society, North and South?  How did it particularly affect women?

  8. Some historians have called the Civil War “the Second American Revolution.”  What was “revolutionary” about the political, social, and economic conduct of the war?

  9. Some historians have argued that the North’s inherent superiority in manpower and industrial strength made its victory in the Civil War inevitable from the beginning.  Would you agree or disagree?  Why?


CHAPTER 21: The Furnace of Civil War, 1861—1865



  1. Describe the failure of the North to gain its expected early victory in 1861.

  2. Explain the Northern turn to “total war” against slavery.

  3. Describe the role that African Americans played during the war.

  4. Describe the political struggle between Lincoln’s “Union party” and the antiwar Copperheads.

  5. Describe the end of the war and list its final consequences


Read the following sections:


“The Pivotal Point: Antietam,” pp.  459-460

“A Proclamation without Emancipation,” pp. 460-462

“Blacks Battle Bondage”, pp. 462-464

“Sherman Scorches Georgia,” pp. 467-469

“The Politics of War,” pp. 469-470

“The Election of 1864,”  pp.  470-472

“The Martyrdom of Lincoln” to the end of the chapter, pp. 474-477

Be sure to read the “Varying Viewpoints” section, p. 478 and “Examining the Evidence: Gettysburg Address”, p. 465.


Identify, define, or describe AND state the historical significance of the following:


Andrew Johnson                                  John Wilkes Booth                              Robert E. Lee

Ulysses S. Grant                                  William T. Sherman                            Emancipation Proclamation

Thirteenth Amendment                      Copperheads                                       Union Party

Battle of Antietam                               First Battle of Bull Run                       Election of 1864

Assassination of Lincoln                   


Review Questions:


  1. Why was Lincoln so slow to declare the Civil War as a fight against slavery?  Was he wise to move slowly, or could an early Emancipation Proclamation have undermined the Union cause?

  2. What role did African Americans, both slave and free, play in the Civil War?

  3. What were the key military and political turning points of the war?  Why did the South hold onto hopes of winning its goals as late as 1864 and even early 1865?

  4. What were the causes and consequences of Sherman’s and Grant’s turn toward “total war” in the conquest of the South?  In what ways is it fair to call the Civil War the “first modern war?”

  5. Did the South’s best chances for victory lie on the battlefield, or in the hopes of political disillusionment in the North?  Was there any chance that Confederate independence could have been won as late as the fall of 1864?

  6. Were the costs of the Civil War worth the results to the nation as a whole?  What issues were settled by the war, and what new problems were created?


CHAPTER 22: The Ordeal of Reconstruction, 1865—1877




  1. Define the major problems facing the South and the nation after the Civil War.

  2. Describe the responses of both whites and African-Americans to the end of slavery.

  3. Analyze the differences between the presidential and congressional approaches to Reconstruction.

  4. Explain how the blunders of President Johnson and the white South opened the door to more radical congressional Reconstruction policies.

  5. Describe the actual effects of congressional Reconstruction in the South.

  6. Indicate how militant white opposition gradually undermined the Republican attempt to empower Southern blacks.

  7. Explain why the radical Republicans impeached Johnson but failed to convict him.

  8. Explain the legacy of Reconstruction, and assess its successes and failures.


Identify, define, or describe AND state the historical significance of the following:


Charles O. Howard                              Andrew Johnson                                     Alexander Stephens

Charles Sumner                                  Thaddeus Stevens                                  William Seward

Freedman’s Bureau                            10 percent plan                                     Wade-Davis Bill

“conquered provinces”                      moderate/radical Republican          Black Codes

Civil Rights Act                                     Fourteenth Amendment                      “swing around the circle”

Military Reconstruction Act               Fifteenth Amendment                        Ex parte Milligan

“radical” regimes                                 scalawags                                             carpetbaggers

Ku Klux Klan                                         Force Acts                                              Tenure of Office Act

“Seward’s Folly”


Review Questions:


  1. What were the major problems facing the South and the nation after the Civil War/  How did Reconstruction address them, or fail to do so?

  2. How did freed blacks react to the end of slavery?  How did both Southern and Northern whites react?

  3. How did the white South’s intransigence and President Johnson’s political bungling open the way for the congressional Republican program of military Reconstruction?

  4. What was the purpose of congressional Reconstruction, and what were its actual effects in the South?

  5. What did the attempt at black political empowerment achieve?  Why ddidit finally fail?  Could it have succeeded with a stronger Northern political will behind it?

  6. How did African Americans take advantage of the political, economic, and social opportunities of Reconstruction, despite their limitations?

  7. How effective was the Ku Klux Klan and other white resistance movements in undermining the interracial governments even before the collapse of Reconstruction in 1877?

  8. Was the North in general, and the Republican Party, in particular, ever really committed to transforming the political economic, and racial conditions of the South?

  9. Why did Reconstruction apparently fail so badly?  Was the failure primarily one of immediate political circumstances, or was it more deeply rooted in the history of American sectional and race relations?

  10. What was the greatest success of Reconstruction?  Would you agree with historians who argue that even if Reconstruction failed at the time, it laid the foundations for the later successes of the civil rights movement?


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