General Certificate of Education

Advanced Subsidiary Level and Advanced Level


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

May/June 2002

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.




1 Read the sources and then answer the question.


Source A


It being desirable for the peace, concord, and harmony of the Union of these States to settle and adjust amicably all existing questions of controversy between them arising out of the institution of slavery in a fair, equitable and just basis, therefore:


1. Resolved, That California be admitted as a free state.


2. Resolved, That the other territories acquired from Mexico be organised with no mention of the status of slavery.


3. Resolved, That the federal government assume the Texan national debt contracted before annexation.


4. Resolved, That the slave trade in the district of Columbia be abolished, but that slavery in the district to be abolished only if the people of the District and of Maryland consent.


5. Resolved, That a new and more effective Fugitive Slave Act be passed for the return of slaves who escape into other states.


6. Resolved, That Congress declare that it has no power to interfere with the interstate slave trade.


Senator Clay’s Resolutions to Congress, January 1850.


Source B


I have believed from the first that the agitation of the subject of slavery would, if not protected by some timely and effective measure, end in disunion. The cords that bind the States together are snapping one by one. For example three great Evangelical Churches are now divided. The Federal Union can be saved only by satisfying the South that it can remain within it in safety and that the Union is not being permanently converted into the means of oppressing rather than protecting her. Senator Clay cannot

save the Union with his compromises. The North must do justice by conceding to the South equal rights in any acquired territory, and this must mean admitting slavery to California and New Mexico, returning fugitive slaves and restoring to the South through constitutional amendment the equal balance of power she once possessed in the Federal Government. And the North must cease agitating about the slavery question.


John C. Calhoun’s last speech to the Senate, 4 March 1850.


Source C


I admit that Congress has the Constitutional power to establish slavery in the Territories. But there is a higher law than the Constitution which regulates our authority: the law of God whence alone the laws of man can derive their sanction. The new Fugitive Slave Bill could endanger the Union far more than the present situation. All measures which extend slavery will tend to the continuation of violence, all that limits its extension and abates its strength will tend to its peaceful extinction.


Senator Seward’s speech to the Senate, 11 March 1850.


Source D


Be it resolved by the people of Georgia in Convention assembled. First, that we hold the American Union secondary in importance only to the rights and principles it was designed to perpetuate. That past associations and future prospects will bind us to it so long as it continues to be the safeguard of those rights and principles.


Second, That the State of Georgia has maturely considered the action of Congress, embracing a series of compromising measures; and, whilst she does not wholly approve, will abide by it as a permanent adjustment of this sectional controversy.


Third, That the State of Georgia will and ought to resist, including (as a last resort) a disruption of every tie which binds her to the Union, any future Act of Congress abolishing Slavery in the District of Columbia, without the consent of the slaveholders thereof; of any Act suppressing the slave-trade states: or any Act prohibiting the introduction of slaves into the Territories of Utah and New Mexico.


Fourth, That it is the deliberate opinion of this Convention, that upon the Fugitive Slave Bill by the proper authorities depends the preservation of our much beloved Union.


The Georgia Platform, September 1850.


Source E


The Compromise of 1850 did not repeal the Compromise of 1820 which dealt with the Louisiana Purchase. The 1850 law dealt exclusively with the territory acquired from Mexico. The Act had some disappointing consequences. The free state of California sent pro-slavery men to the Senate. The slave trade continued to flourish in the District of Columbia. But it was a satisfactory compromise in that it gave both North and South something each badly wanted. Once more, the Union was preserved by the same spirit of compromise that created it, but for the last time. However while most accepted the compromise, it was the new strengthened Fugitive Slave Law which stuck in Northern throats and which was to weaken it for years to come.


From a modern US historian’s account of the 1850 Compromise.


Now answer the following question.


‘There was never any real prospect that the 1850 Compromise would satisfactorily resolve the sectional tensions which arose out of the Mexican War.’ Use Sources A-E to show how far the evidence supports this statement.





You must answer three questions from this section.


2 Explain how and why the belief in America’s ‘Manifest Destiny’ proved so strong in the 1840s.


3 To what extent did the former slaves benefit from Reconstruction policies between 1865 and 1877?


4 How far is it justified to speak of an ‘agrarian revolt’ among American farmers in the period 1867–1896?


5 Why, in the great battles over Civil Rights in the 1960s, was the plight of the Native American Indians largely ignored?


6 Evaluate the factors that caused the Great Depression in the United States.


7 Why, in spite of its stated policy of neutrality, did America enter World War I in 1917?


8 Examine the consequences of the great expansion of higher education in the United States from 1945 to 1968.