The Brief American Pageant ,
| Suggested Lecture Topics|
Developing The Chapter: Suggested Lecture Or Discussion Topics
- Discuss the conflicts created by the Mexican War acquisitions and explain how the Compromise of 1850 tried to resolve them. The focus might be on the extreme delicacy of the sectional adjustment.
REFERENCE: David Potter, The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861 (1976).
- Assess the breakup of the second two-party system in relation to the slavery controversy. Show how the Whig demise and Democratic divisions paved the way for the Republicans.
REFERENCE: Bruce Levine, Half Slave and Half Free: The Roots of the Civil War (1992).
- Show the connection between the proslavery expansionist schemes, particularly the Cuban affair and the Gadsden Purchase, and the sectional controversy. Emphasize southern hopes and northern fears of potential slavery expansion to the Caribbean or Central America.
REFERENCE: Robert May, The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire (1973).
- Examine the Kansas-Nebraska Act and explain why it aroused such wrath in the North. Particular attention might be paid to the railroad-promoting Douglas, with his theory of "popular sovereignty," and to the rise of the "free soil" ideology in the North.
REFERENCE: Richard Sewell, A House Divided (1988).