Exam preparation materials

Section II: Essay Questions

Part A

(Suggested writing time — 45 minutes)

Directions: Write an essay based on your analysis of Documents A-J as well as your knowledge of the period covered by the question. It is important for you to include information on the topic not provided by the documents.

1. The War of 1812, known mainly for its divisions among Federalists and Republicans over support of the war, resulted in a united nation confident of its abilities and optimistic about its future.

Using the documents provided and your knowledge of the period from 1812 to 1824, assess the validity of this statement.

Document A

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,

Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,

What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,

As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam.

In full glory reflected, now shines in the stream.

’Tis the star-spangled banner. Oh! long may it wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Source: Fronds Scott Key, "The Star-Spangled Banner, "second verse, 1814.

Document B

Among the means of advancing the public interest the occasion is a proper one for recalling the attention of Congress to the great importance of establishing throughout our country roads and canals which can be executed under the national authority. No objects within the circle of political economy so richly repay the expense bestowed upon them; there are none the utility of which is more universally ascertained and acknowledged; none that do more honor to the governments whose wise and enlarged patriotism duly appreciated them. Nor is there any country which presents a field where nature invites more the art of man to complete her own work for his accommodation and benefit. These considerations are strengthened, moreover, by the political effect of these facilities for intercommunication in bringing and binding more closely together the various parts of our extended confederacy. Whilst the States individually, with a laudable enterprise and emulation, avail themselves of their local advantages by new roads, by navigable canals, and by improving the streams susceptible of navigation, the General Government is the more urged to similar undertakings, requiring a national jurisdiction and national means, by the prospect of thus systematically completing so inestimable a work; and it is a happy reflection that any defect of constitutional authority which may be encountered can be supplied in a mode which the Constitution itself has providently pointed out.

Source: President James Madison, Annual message to Congress, December 5, 1815.

Document C

What have we gained by the war? He [Clay] had shown we had lost nothing in rights, territory or honor; nothing for which we ought to have contended, according to the principles of gentlemen on the other side, or according to our own. Have we gained nothing by the war? Let any man look at the degraded condition of this country before the war — the scorn of the universe, the contempt of ourselves — and tell me, if we have gained nothing by the war? What is our present situation? Respectability and character abroad; security and confidence at home. If we have not obtained, in the opinion of some, the full measure of retribution, our character and constitution are placed on a solid basis never to be shaken.

Source: Report of a speech by Hemy Clay to the House of Representatives, January 1816.

Document D

CONGRESS VOTES FOR WAR AGAINST GREAT BRITAIN, 1812

State

House of Representatives

Senate

 

For

Against

For

Against

New Hampshire

3

2

1

1

Vermont

3

1

1

0

Massachusetts

6

8

1

1

Rhode Island

0

2

0

0

Connecticut

0

7

0

2

New York

3

11

1

1

New Jersey

2

4

1

1

Delaware

0

1

0

2

Pennsylvania

16

2

2

0

Maryland

6

3

1

1

Virginia

14

5

2

0

North Carolina

6

3

2

0

South Carolina

8

0

2

0

Georgia

3

0

2

0

Ohio

1

0

0

1

Kentucky

5

0

1

1

Tennessee

3

0

2

0

Totals

79

49

19

13

Document E

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION RESULTS, 1812

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION RESULTS, 1812

Document F

We will not mock the feelings of our readers at this moment by any diffuse comment on the exhilarating news the last eight-and- forty hours have announced to us. We will only say —

Americans! Rejoice!

For that, by the unsurpassed exploits of your army and navy, and the consummate wisdom of your statesmen, you have achieved an honorable peace with one of the most powerful nations on the globe, with whom you were at war —

Republicans, rejoice!

For that the men of your heart, those virtuous patriots whom you have cherished as the apple of your eye, have conducted you through a glorious contest, under every disadvantage, to an honorable peace with a powerful and arrogant enemy —

Federalists, rejoice!

For that your opposition has been unavailing in checking measures of your government; and that your Hartford Conventions, your plots and counterplots, have not arrested the march of the republic to the heights of fame and glory —

Rejoice, all men of whatever party ye be!

For that, while the effusion of blood is stayed, and the blessings of peace restored to our beloved land, your country is proudly exalted among the Nations of the Earth by her success in an honorable struggle, commenced in self-defense, and terminating in a recognition of justice of her cause.

Source: Daily National Intelligencer (Washington, D.C.), February 16, 1815.

Document G

What the terms of peace are, we cannot tell. They will only be made known at Washington, by the dispatches themselves. But one thing I will venture to say now and before they are opened, and I will hazard my reputation upon the correctness of what I say, that when the terms are disclosed, it will be found that the government have not by this negotiation obtained one single avowed object for which they involved the country in this bloody and expensive war.

Source: New York Evening Post, February 13, 1815.

Document H

Critics have made much of the irony that since the battle was fought two weeks after the signing of the peace treaty, it was completely useless. Chronology here becomes important. The treaty, concluded on Christmas Eve 1814, was being wafted on the high seas toward America when New Orleans was fought, January 8, 1815. News of the exhilarating victory was sent posthaste to Washington by horseback, and reached the capital on or about February 4, nearly four weeks later. The tiny city, as well as the rest of America, burst into rejoicing. About ten days later, February 1815, the Treaty of Ghent reached Washington, thereby giving birth to the legend that the Americans, having humiliated the British at New Orleans, had extorted from them a favorable treaty at Ghent. Further support was thus provided for the myth that America had not only beaten the British in the War of 1812 but that Andrew Jackson and his Kentucky riflemen alone had done it. If a nation is going to win only one such devastating victory, a better taste is left in the mouth if it happens to come at the end.

Source: Thomas A. Bailey, Probing America's Past (1973).

Document I

Our moderation and conciliation have had no other effect than to encourage perseverance and to enlarge pretensions. We behold our seafaring citizens still the daily victims of lawless violence, committed on the great common and highway of nations, even within sight of the country which owes them protection. We behold our vessels, freighted with the products of our soil and industry, or returning with the honest proceeds of them, wrested from their lawful destinations, confiscated by prize courts no longer the organs of public law but the instruments of arbitrary edicts, and their unfortunate crews dispersed and lost, or forced or inveigled in British ports into British fleets, whilst arguments are employed in support of these aggressions which have no foundation but in a principle equally supporting a claim to regulate our external commerce in all cases whatsoever.

We hold, in fine, on the side of Great Britain a state of war against the United States, and on the side of the United States a state of peace toward Great Britain.

Source: President James Madison's war message to Congress,

June 1, 1812.

Document J

The war has been productive of evil and good, but I think the good preponderates. Independent of loss of lives, and of the losses in property by individuals, the war has laid the foundation of permanent taxes and military establishments, which the Republicans had deemed unfavorable to the happiness and free institutions of the country. But under our former system we were becoming too selfish, too much attached exclusively to the acquisition of wealth, above all, too much confined in our political feelings to local and State objects. The war has renewed and reinstated the national feelings and character which the Revolution had given, and which were daily lessened. The people have now more general objects of attachment with which their pride and political opinions are connected. They are more Americans; they feel and act more as a nation; and I hope that the permanency of the Union is thereby better secured.

Source: Albert Gallatin to Matthew Lyon, May 7, 1816.

Part B

(Suggested writing time — 35 minutes, including a 5-minute planning period)

Directions: Choose ONE question from this part. Cite relevant historical evidence in support of your generalizations and present your arguments clearly and logically.

2. The French and Indian War, in its impact on the trans-Appalachian Indian tribes, the colonists, and the British government, proved the catalyst that brought on the American Revolution.

Assess the validity of this statement.

3. Identify THREE of the following and evaluate the relative importance of each of the THREE in promoting the abolition of slavery.

Frederick Douglass

William Lloyd Garrison

Angelina and Sarah

 Grimke Harriet Beecher Stowe

Part C

(Suggested writing time — 35 minutes, including a 5-minute planning period)

Directions: Choose ONE question from this part. Cite relevant historical evidence in support of your generalizations and present your arguments clearly and logically.

4. Analyze the relative importance of the presidential and congressional phases of Reconstruction in determining the criteria for the readmission of the Southern states to the Union.

5. How lasting was the effect of World War II on women in American society?

IF YOU FINISH BEFORE TIME IS CALLED, CHECK YOUR WORK ON THIS SECTION ONLY. DO NOT WORK ON ANY OTHER SECTION IN THE TEST.

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