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History: The American Civil War and the Constitution (Essay Sample)


The paper should support a thesis statement with information gained from research or investigation.
The paper will not be just a report presenting information, but will be a paper that carefully examines and presents your own historical interpretation of the topic you have chosen and your interpretation of the information you have gathered.
The paper may include consideration of problems and solutions, define key terms, or refute arguments against your thesis statement.
It will be important to choose a topic of interest to you.
Approach this assignment with an open and skeptical mind, then form an opinion based on what you have discovered.
You must suspend belief while you are investigating and let the discoveries shape your opinion. (This is a thesis-finding approach.)
Once you have found your thesis, write the paper to support it.
You will use some of the following critical thinking skills in this process:
Choosing an appropriate topic, limiting the topic
Gathering information, summarizing sources
Analyzing and evaluating sources
Defining key terms
Synthesizing information, comparing and contrasting sources
Testing a thesis, making a historical argument, using refutation
Amassing support for a position
Documenting sources
Because this may be a longer paper than you have written before and a complex process is involved, it is recommended that you complete this paper using the following steps:
Choose a topic related to U.S. History up to 1877 (Chapters 1-15) that you would truly like to explore and that you are willing to spend some time on. Your chosen topic should be focused. Pose a question that you really want to answer. You may want to begin with more than one topic in mind.
Do some preliminary reading on the topic(s). You may begin with the textbook, then further explore the information available. Refine your topic. Summarize your topic, your interest in the topic, the questions you want to answer, and a hypothesis you want to test.
Gather information from a variety of sources. Use a minimum of four sources for your paper, and at least one must be a primary source.
Examples of primary sources are ones that are used in our discussion forums 2 - 8.
They are sources that are contemporary to the times under investigation.
An example of a secondary source is our textbook, though the textbook also contains excerpts of primary sources, which you may use as a source in your paper.
Outline the results of your research and the plan for your paper (you are not required to submit the outline).
Write the final draft and be sure to include a Works Cited List, and use the correct MLA documentation style.
Grade Rubric
INTRODUCTION & THESIS: The paper makes a clear and effective statement (the thesis) about the chosen topic. /15
FOCUS AND DEVELOPMENT: Body of the paper focuses on this thesis and develops it fully, recognizing the complexity of issues. /30
SUPPORT AND SYNTHESIS: Uses sufficient and relevant evidence to support the thesis (and primary points), including facts, inferences, and judgments. Quotes, summarizes, and paraphrases accurately and effectively--appropriately introducing and explaining each quote. /30

The American Civil War and the Constitution
The American history is marred with a lot of interesting elements, most of which have formed the American history and the constitution. The American civil war is one of the pivotal events that took place in the American history and redefined America as a nation. By the time the spring of 1861 came to pass, there had been simmering tension between the south and the north. At the time the south supported the element of continued slavery in America. However the north did not support slavery and much of the economy in the north was legitimate. During the mid-19th century America experienced massive growth from both the south and the north. The north highly relied on the manufacturing and industry, while the south largely relied on agriculture (MCPHERSON). One of the major aspects that differentiated the south and the north, is that, much of the south was largely agricultural. This means that relative to the fact that much of the south was large scale agriculture based, they relied on the labor that was sourced from slaves. The south as such was largely opposed to the element of abolishing slave trade compared to the north ("Civil War Facts"). In the north, the manufacturing and industry economy was largely legitimate, the south however was largely based on slavery. As such, the north and the south were pitted against one another relative to the fact that one of them was supporting slavery while the other was supporting the element of abolishing the trade. Much of the south depended on cotton and tobacco all of which depended on the labor from the slaves (MCPHERSON). In the case of the north, they did not support the idea of slavery, which put the south in a dire position. One of the most striking aspects that American gained from the civil war, was the redefinition of the constitution. The civil is one of the pivotal elements that brought to effect some of the supporting elements of the constitution that American enjoy today ("The History Place - U.S. Civil War 1861-1865").
Thesis statement: the American civil war is the main cause of the redefinition of the constitution in American (Finkelman).
Impacts of the Civil War
Before the civil war, the slaves were placed in a position where they did not have any rights to speak of. They were not treated as second class citizens but rather as property. African Americans and other minority races were treated as property and their masters determined what became of them. This meant that they did not have the same rights as the rest of the white citizens ("The History Place - U.S. Civil War 1861-1865"). For the slaves this meant that they did not have much rights, and they had to be treated sometimes less than animals. They were stripped all of their rights as human beings and treated as property. Aspects such as how may children one would have as a slave were controlled by the master. This was the same case in reference to when one married and who they married ("American Civil War History - American Civil War - HISTORY.Com"). In some of the cases, some of these issues attracted death sentences. Relative to the fact that the conditions for the slaves in the south were quite tough and in most of the cases inhumane, the slaves would choose to run to the north where they would seek refuge. One of the subtle elements of the slave trade that emerged between the north and the south was that, at one point the southern states requested through congress that there be a law that allowed the northern states to capture and return all the slaves that had escaped to the Free states. As such, there was the Fugitive Slave Act, which required the Free states to capture and return all the slaves who would come to seek refuge in the Free states from the slavery states in the south ("Civil War Facts"...
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