TASK: Read this article on 'Slavery Divides the Nation'.

Study the maps and the sources and answer the questions on the sources.


"A merrier being does not exist on the face of the globe than the Negro slave of the United States"

Do you find it surprising that a slave owner would say this? Southerners could admit that slavery was a "peculiar institution" but they were not ashamed to defend slavery. From the founding of the USA in 1776 Americans argued with each other over the whole question of slavery. There were important differences between northern and southern states.The north contained most of the industry and wheat was the most important crop. In the south there was little industry and cotton was the chief crop and the supply of labor was largely provided by Negro slaves.

In 1820 the "Missouri Compromise" set a dividing line between the states that could have slaves and those that could not. So the USA was split between the southern slave states and the northern free states. Many northerners, given the nickname "Yankees" by the southerners, were abolitionists*. *They wanted to abolish slavery. The election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the USA in 1860 brought the final break. Lincoln had declared that the USA could not be half slave and half free. Immediately, after his election 11 southern states led by South Carolina decided to leave the United States or SECEDE (break away). They formed a separate nation called the Confederacy and chose Jefferson Davis as their President. When Lincoln declared that they had no legal right to secede, there seemed only one way left to decide the matter - war. In April of 1861 southern soldiers opened fire on the US Army fortress, Fort Sumter in south Carolina.The war which was to last for four bitter years (1861-65) had begun. The grey clad soldiers of the 11 southern or CONFEDERATE states fought the Union troops, the blue uniformed soldiers of the North. It turned out to be a terrible war, by the time it was over, 620,000 American soldiers had died: 360,000 Union and 260,000 Confederate. This is almost as many soldiers as have been killed in all other wars that the United States has been involved in, such as the First and Second World Wars and the Vietnam War, added together.
The end of the war found the North in a very much better condition than the south. Little fighting had taken place there and its factories had expanded enormously in order to meet wartime needs. The south, however, was ruined. Most of the heavy fighting had taken place there. The south needed all the help that it could get and Lincoln who had always insisted that there must be no hatred had promised reconstruction in his famous speech after the battle of Gettysburg. On the 1 st of January 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

Emancipation means the granting of freedom. All slaves in the southern slave holding states were declared free. Of course, until the war was over and only when the south was defeated in 1865 (General Lee surrendered), was it possible to actually free all the slaves. Within a week of General Lee's surrender Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by a mad actor. His grand plans for reconstructing the south after the devastation of the war died with him.
Was a war necessary to bring freedom to the slaves? Would black people be blamed as being the cause of the war that divided white Americans?

Source A

"A house divided against itself cannot stand 1 believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free." Spoken in 1858.


(1) The person who was elected the Republican Party President of the USA in 1860 made this statement. What was his name?
(2) What did he mean by "A house divided against itself''?

Source B

"We fight for our homes, our fathers and mothers, our wives, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters! We can callout a million of peoples if need be, and when they are cut down we can call another, and still another, untiI the last man of the South finds a bloody grave."

QUESTION ON Sources B and C

(3) One source expresses the view of a black American, the other the view of the vice-president of the Confederate (southern) States. Which is which? Quote evidence from the sources to explain your answer.

Source C

"The iron gate of our prison stands half open. One gallant rush from the North will fling it wide open, while four millions of our brothers and sisters shall march out into liberty ... This is our golden opportunity. Let us accept it ... Let us win for ourselves the gratitude of our country, and the best blessings of our posterity through all time. "

Source D



(4) Which was the first state to secede?
(5) List, in chronological order, when the other southern states seceded.

Source E


QUESTION ON Sources E and F

(6) What evidence can you find in the two sources to support the view that Black Americans played a full part in the overthrow of slavery?

Source F


Source G

lincoln_closeup_140-53d7c0270a4a13623ca85e6308ed191aa494385a-s400-c85.jpg"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers bought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation ... can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war ... a final resting-place for those who gave their lives that that nation might live ... we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the peo- ple, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
(Part of Abraham Lincoln's speech, known as the Gettysburg Address, in 1863)

The only known photo of President Lincoln at his Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19, 1863. In this detail, Lincoln is seen in the center, head bared and probably seated, with his bodyguard Ward Hill Lamon on the left. Learn More about the Photo and View an EnlargementLibrary of Congress


(7) What reasons does Lincoln give in this source in support of the war?
(8) What do you think was the most important cause of the Civil War?

Source H



(8) What event does this artist's impression illustrate?

Source J

"I never seed Mr Lincoln but when they tole me 'bout him, I thought he was partly God."(Angie Garrett, an Alabama slave)

"Niggers shoutin' and clappin' hands and singin'! Chillun runnin' all over the place beatin' time and yellin'! Everybody happy. Sho' did some celebratin'. Run to the kit- chen and shout in the window: 'Mammy, don't you work no more. You's free! You's free!'"
(Fannie Berry, a teenage slave)


(9) How useful are Angie Garrett's and Fannie Berry's statements to a historian who is trying to find out about the feelings of slaves at the end of the Civil War?