Discussion Questions- Episode 1 à Civil War Series

a. Slavery began in this country in 1619, however it took 200 years for it to become a diverse issue because it was convenient to be able to buy Africans as cheap labor and import them to America and to other colonies (huge numbers went to the West Indies). That it might be considered an immoral thing to do it did not seem to trouble people much, or not enough to do anything about it. While it is true that slavery is a practice that has been going on for thousands of years, it had pretty much died out in western Europe by the medieval era, and there really isn't much excuse for Europeans to have taken it up again in the supposed era of the 'Renaissance' when people are all supposed to have become so much more enlightened. It is not an episode in the history of humanity that reflects well on Europeans or on Americans.

a.

The spirit of the compromise, which helped the nation avoid Civil War in an earlier crisis, totally broke down by 1860 because of the deaths of Senators Clay, Webster and Douglas. These three men had been instrumental in the prior compromise of 1850. Secondly, the compromise of 1850 wasn't a long-term solution in practicality. With the addition of California as a free state but only new territory to the south, the balance of power was shifting decisively towards the North. Add in the harsh feelings over the Bleeding Kansas issue and the Fugitive Slave Law and war doesn't seem so improbable. The South was losing power and knew it, and didn't want to lose its way of life. Third, the national Whig and Democrat parties had completely broken down by this time, to be replaced by the highly sectional Republicans (north/freedom) and Democrats (south/slavery or popular sovereignty). This development was perhaps inevitable but fostered the fractionalization of America nonetheless.

a.

I don’t think that slavery was the only issue that led to the Civil War because slavery was something that was going on already for 200 years. But I do believe it triggered it. Some reasons that lead to the civil war were The Mexican War, Fugitive Slave Act, Uncle Tom's Cabin Release, also the fact that Abraham Lincoln was elected president, etc. During that time he south believed in state power over the federal government however the North believed the opposite.

a.

I agree with Lincoln’s idea that in a constitutional democracy no section of the nation is free to break away because a nation should have its' states together in order to be strong and united not divided and at war with each other. A constitutional democracy might also insure that all parts of the nation prosper together and maybe there would be a balance in the nation. Lastly, a constitutional democracy allows for one government to govern one nation – as it should be.

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