American History Iby Matthew Caggia

Unit 5: Coming of the Civil War

Chapter 10

The United States will be pushed to its limit in the 1850s. New lands acquired and opened after the Mexican-American War will make slavery the only issue of the day. For more than a decade tensions will rise, debates will become violent, and attempts at compromise will fail. Many figures will take center stage, some political, such asRoger Taney, Stephen A. Douglas, and Abraham Lincoln, and some not, such as John Brown, and Dred Scott. Nothing short of secession and war will settle the controversy.

Study Tools


The slideshows are best if viewed full screen.

Use these Guided Notes while watching the following presentations.

Section 10.1: The Divisive Politics of Slavery

Section 10.2: Protest, Resisance, and Violence

Section 10.3: The Birth of the Republican Party

Section 10.4: Slavery & Secession

John Brown Analysis

John Brown is one of the most interesting figures from American History. An abolitionist, he took matters into his own hands violently seeking to free slaves and equip them for an armed uprising. His actions raise many questions about society, most importantly, is violent protest ever justified? This worksheet will focus on those questions.

Online Textbook Resources

"The Americans" Textbook

These pages contain the links to the online content for student practice. It includes Chapter Overviews, Web Activities, Self-Check Quizzes, ePuzzles and Games, Vocabulary Flashcards, Charts in Motion (to accompany diagrams in the textbook), and Interactive Graphic Organizers. Free Online Textbook

Each link is to the beginning of a chapter. There are several sections within each chapter; I would like to link to each section, however it becomes too cumbersome for the webpage. Instead, click "Next" on each page to get to the next section of the online textbook.


Link to Quizlet! Vocabulary is the key to understanding any subject. Once you can break down the barrier of language the ideas and concepts are wide open. Here you can find the vocabulary for the unit to practice by using online flash cards and by practicing online generated vocabulary quizzes.


The Presidents: Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore

Watch the video and answer these multiple choice questions.

The Presidents: Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan

Watch the video and answer these multiple choice questions.

Crash Course American History #17: War and Expansion

From the publisher
John Green teaches you about the Mexican-American War in the late 1840s, and the expansion of the United States into the western end of North America. In this episode of Crash Course, US territory finally reaches from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific Ocean. After Oregon was secured from the UK and the southwest was ceded by Mexico, that is. Famous Americans abound in this episode, including James K Polk (Young Hickory, Napoleon of the Stump), Martin Van Buren, Zachary Taylor, and Winfield Scott. You'll also learn about the California Gold Rush of 1848, and California's admission as a state, which necessitated the Compromise of 1850. Once more slavery is a crucial issue. Something is going to have to be done about slavery, I think.

Crash Course American History #18: The Election of 1860 & the Road to Disunion

From the publisher
John Green teaches you about the election of 1860. As you may remember from last week, things were not great at this time in US history. The tensions between the North and South were rising, ultimately due to the single issue of slavery. The North wanted to abolish slavery, and the South wanted to continue on with it. It seemed like a war was inevitable, and it turns out that it was. But first the nation had to get through this election. You'll learn how the bloodshed in Kansas, and the truly awful Kansas-Nebraska Act led directly to the decrease in popularity of Stephen Douglas, the splitting of the Democratic party, and the unlikely victory of a relatively inexperienced politician from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln's election would lead directly to the secession of several southern states, and thus to the Civil War. John will teach you about all this, plus Dred Scott, Roger Taney, and John Brown.

The Time Trail of John Brown

From the National Museum of American History, this series of short videos on YouTube seek to shed a light on John Brown's actions from the point of view of John Brown himself.


Copyright M. Caggia 2018