2)"All History," the British philosopher Thomas Carlyle once wrote, "is the history of the deeds of great men." Do you agree? Or do you believe that all people (even "great men") are merely the product of the world they live in? (As in another old saying: "The times make the man.") Explain how, in his life and his actions, Andrew Jackson reflected the hopes and fears of his era. In what ways did Jackson, through his own words and deeds, “make history"? Did General Jackson create “Jacksonian America," or was he just the perfect embodiment of it?
3) Describe the importance of the West in Jacksonian society and in the imagination of Jacksonian Americans. Why was there such tremendous pressure for territorial expansion in this period? What did the idea of an open frontier mean to Americans, North and South? Examine several instances between 1820 and 1857 in which Americans divided on the issue of the status (slave or free-soil) of western territories. What was at stake in these battles? To what extent might the road to the Civil War be said to have begun in the West?
4) “Slavery was the cause of the American Civil War.” Do you agree or disagree? To what extent do you think the South went to war in defense of slavery (either explicitly or implicitly)? To what extent did the North go to war to destroy it (explicitly or implicitly)? If you believe slavery was the cause, how do you explain the proposed Curwin Amendment, or the fact that not all slaveholding states seceded? If you think it was not the cause, how do you explain the secession declarations, or the fact that no non-slaveholding state seceded?
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