AP United States History Document Based Question From A Kaplan AP Study Guide Practice Question - AP United States History - Essay

906 words - 4 pages

Victoria Trimble
The breakup of the union in 1861 was due mostly to the conflict over Slavery than other factors.
Other factors such as political tension and land expansion also attributed to the breakup, but they were all
related and branched off of slavery. Interactions, such as the south wanting to expand and gain more land,
and relationships between the north and the south kept heating up until they reached a boiling point which
tore apart the union in two sides fighting against each other all coming from the common root of slavery.
The efforts of expansion created tension mostly because the more land the south got, more states
would become slave states. This would have lead directly to the south gaining more power than the north
in government. Ralph Emerson states,“The United States will Conquer Mexico, but it will be as the man
swallows the arsenic.” (Doc. 3) This quote demonstrates the idea that the conquering of more land would
directly lead to the demise of the the nation because of the potential large gain of power that the south
would have received with the gain of more territory and more slave states.. In document 2 President
James K. Polk stated “ a war exists, and not withstanding all our efforts to avoid it exists by the act of
Mexico herself, we are called upon by every consideration of duty and patriotism to vindicate with
decision the honor rights and dignity of this country.” After the compromise of 1850, there is an almost
even split of land between the slave states and non slave states further showing how easy it would have
been to offset the balance of states. As seen in document 5, the US was already sectioning itself off into
two separate sides. This map differs drastically when compared to the US after the Kansas-Nebraska Act
of 1854. The potential slave land has almost doubled, giving the South more potential power, exactly
what the north had feared. (Doc. 6)
The superior industry and transportation also played into the breakup of the union. This gave the
north an economic advantage which included a self sufficient economy where slave labor was not needed.
This was an advantage the south did not have. Railroads increased almost exponentially in the north while
staying virtually the same in the south from the years 1850 to 1860. (Doc. 8) This transportation increase
was advantageous to the north but not so much to the south. Along with the transportation revolution, a
tariff was issued that taxed all imports on foreign goods in hopes to boost the economy of this fairly new
country. This stun...

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