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WRITING ASSIGNMENT # 4A: Manifest Destiny and Sectional Discord

The fuse which set off the Civil War was lit long before the first shots fired at Fort Sumter. Missouri’s request for admission to the Union in 1820 highlighted the concerns and fears held by both the North and the South regarding sectional balance and power in Congress. The territory’s admission as a slave state would have tipped the balance of power in the Senate in favor of the slave states. As the nation carried out its territorial expansion, the balance of power once again became a national concern. At stake was also control over future territories.


As you complete your readings, identify the relevant information that addresses and answers the questions that correspond to key points. These questions will assist you in understanding the content and to prepare for the essay.

  • Review relevant content in Chapter 9 of the textbook which discusses the Missouri Compromise.
  • Review and identify relevant sections of Chapter 14 which support your analysis and discussion.
  • Closely examine the linked map:  Territorial Growth and the Compromise of 1850 . It can also be viewed in Chapter 14 of your textbook. Gather this information:
    1. How did the acquisition of Texas and new territories as a result of the US Mexican War add to the rising tensions between the North and South?
    2. Identify the 15 slave states and 15 free states. What areas remain open to slavery?
    3. Based on the information that you have gathered, as far as the expansion of slavery is concerned, did the South gain or lose from the Compromise of 1850?

Review and identify relevant sections of Chapter 15 and consider the following questions:

  1. How was each section of the country impacted by the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Dred Scott decision?
  2. Which section of the nation did this Act and decision seem to favor?
  3. How did northerners react?
  4. What does the Bleeding Kansas incident indicate the feasibility of applying “popular sovereignty” to determine the status of future territories?


Write a well-organized essay, a minimum of 700 words (but not limited to), including supporting details from the documents/textbook/other sources in which you analyze and discuss the material that has been assigned as it relates to the following statement:

“Expansion brought sectional antagonism to the boiling point, split the Democratic Party in the late 1840s, and set the nation on the path to the Civil War.”

  • Paragraphs in an essay are not numbered. Any questions that are associated with an assigned reading are there to serve as a guide for your discussion.
  • Your discussion should incorporate all of the information from the documents and or textbook, and outside sources as one essay.
  • Students are required to research and incorporate into their discussions additional sources that relate to the content. Recommendations can be found at the end of the textbook chapter in Additional Reading.
  • All statements must be supported and all sources must be identified and cited, and included in your reference list. This also applies to the textbook. Failure to do so constitutes Plagiarism, and the college has strict policies and penalties for failure to comply. Under the Resources, you will find links to sites that review how to format a paper or essay. I recommend that students use APA or Chicago Style to format their essays. Students should ask their instructor which format style they prefer you to use.
  • Proofread your work. Make sure that you have looked for all of the spelling and grammatical errors and corrected them, and that you have organized your work into coherent paragraphs.
  • Prepare the assignment as a Word Document, double-spaced, and using a standard font of 12 points.
  • Submit via the Dropbox as an ATTACHMENT. Any work that is submitted directly into the box will be graded as a 0.
  • Analysis and discussion (60%)
  • Support for discussion (30%)
  • Organization (10%)