General Certificate of Education

Advanced Subsidiary Level and Advanced Level


Paper 5 The History of the USA, c.1840–1968


3 hours




If you have been given an Answer Booklet, follow the instructions on the front cover of the Booklet.


Write your Centre number, candidate number and name on all the work you hand in.


Write in dark blue or black pen on both sides of the paper.


You may use a soft pencil for any diagrams, graphs or rough working.


Do not use staples, paper clips, highlighters, glue or correction fluid.


Answer four questions.


You must answer Question 1 (Section A) and any three questions from Section B.


At the end of the examination, fasten all your work securely together.


All questions in this paper carry equal marks.



SECTION A: The Road to Secession and Civil War, 1846-61


You must answer Question 1.


Source A


Our country is a theater which exhibits two radically different political systems: one resting on the basis of slavery, the other on the basis of voluntary labor of free men. Hitherto the two systems have existed in different States, but side by side within the American Union. These antagonistic systems are continually coming into closer conflict, and collision results.


Shall I tell you what this collision means? They who think it is accidental, unnecessary, the work of fanatical agitators, mistake the case. It is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring forces, and it means that the United States must sooner or later become either entirely a slaveholding nation or entirely a free-labor nation.


William H. Seward, speech at Rochester, New York, 25 October 1858.


Source B


The abolition sentiment of the Northern States has led to ceaseless war upon the constitutional rights of the Southern States: to an open and shameless denial of that Constitutional provision intended to secure the return of fugitive slaves, and of the laws of Congress to give it effect. It has prompted the armed invasion of Southern soil by stealth for the diabolical purposes of inaugurating a war of blacks against the whites throughout the Southern States. It has prompted large masses of Northern people openly to sympathize with the invaders of our country and elevate John Brown, the leader of a band of midnight assassins and robbers, to the rank of a hero and martyr. It has destroyed all national parties, and has now finally organized a party confined to a hostile section.


Therefore we declare:


1st. That Georgia is a free, sovereign and independent State.


2nd. That she came into the Union with the other States, as a sovereignty, hence has the right to secede, whenever she shall judge such a step necessary.


3rd. That she ought not submit to Abraham Lincoln as president.


Resolutions on secession from Floyd County, Georgia, 1860.


Source C


We love the Union because at home and abroad, collectively and individually, it gives us character as a nation, renders us equal to the greatest European Power, and in another half century, will make us the greatest, richest, and most powerful people on earth. We love the Union, because already in commerce, wealth and resources we are the equal of the greatest and because, while it secures us peace, happiness and prosperity at home, we have only to explain ‘I am an American Citizen’ to ensure us respect and security abroad. And so loving this great and glorious Union, we are ready if need be to shed our blood in its preservation.


New York Courier and Enquirer, a Northern newspaper, 1 December 1860.


Source D


Does the election of Lincoln to the presidency justify the Southern States in dissolving the Union?


The Constitutional rights and guarantees claimed by the Southern States are:


1 That the Constitution of the United States recognizes the institution of slavery in the fifteen Southern States.


2 That the citizens of the South have the right to go with their slaves into the common territories of the Union, and are entitled to protection for both their persons and property from the General Government.


3 That by the plain letter of the Constitution the owner of a slave is entitled to reclaim his property in any state into which the slave may escape, and that both the General and State governments are legally bound to enforce this provision.


4 The antagonisms between these recognized rights and the doctrine and principles of the Black Republican party is plain, direct and irreconcilable. One or other must give way.


On the 4th day of March 1861 the Federal Government will pass into the hands of the Abolitionists.


I entertain no doubt of your right or duty to secede from the Union.


Howell Cobb, Address to the people of Georgia, 6 December 1860.


Source E


On a previous occasion I stated that I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so. I hold that, by universal law and by the Constitution, the Union of these States is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments. It is safe to assert that no government ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination. Continue to execute all the express provisions of our national Constitution, and the Union will endure forever.


It follows that no State can by itself lawfully get out of the Union; that resolutions and ordinances to that effect are legally void; and that acts of violence, within any State against the authority of the United States, are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances.


I therefore consider that constitutionally, the Union is unbroken; and to the extent of my ability I shall ensure as the Constitution expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all States.


Lincoln’s first Inaugural Address as President, 4 March 1861.


Now answer the following question.


‘By 1861 attitudes towards the Union differed so strongly as to make compromise, in practice, impossible.’ Use Sources A-E to show how far the evidence supports this view.


Section B


You must answer three questions from this section.


2 How do you account for the huge territorial expansion of the United States in the 1840s?


3 Compare Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis as war leaders.


4 Explain why trade unionism made only limited progress in the United States from 1865 to 1914.


5 Assess the effectiveness of the different tactics used by the various branches of the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s.


6 Why did some groups benefit more from the New Deal than others?


7 Discuss the view that the Spanish-American War marked the emergence of the United States as a world power.


8 Examine the influence of the mass media on American society from 1952 to 1968.