General Certificate of Education

Advanced Subsidiary Level and Advanced Level


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

October/November 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


A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved; I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will either become all one thing, or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new, North as well as South.


Abraham Lincoln, speech to the Republican State Convention, Springfield, Illinois, 17 June 1858.


Source B


When a party is enthroned in Washington whose creed it is to repeal the Fugitive Slave Laws immediate danger will be brought to slavery in all the Frontier States. The underground railroad will become an overground railroad. The tenure of slave property will be felt to be weakened, slaves will be sent down to the Cotton States for sale, and the Frontier States start to make themselves Free States.


With their control of the Government of the United States, the Abolitionists will renew their operations upon the South. The thousands in every county, who look up to power, will come out in support of the Abolition Government. They will have an Abolition Party in the South, of Southern men. The contest for slavery will no longer be one between the North and the South. It will be in the South, between the people of the South.


If, in our present position of power and unity, we have the raid of John Brown, what will be the measure of insurrection and incendiarism, which must follow our notorious and abject prostration to Abolition rule at Washington, with all the patronage of the Federal Government, and a Union organization in the South to support it?


Charleston Mercury, 11 October 1860.


Source C


Do the people of the South really entertain fears that a Republican administration would, directly, or indirectly, interfere with their slaves or with them, about their slaves? If they do, I wish to assure you, as once a friend, and still, I hope, not an enemy, that there is no cause for such fears.


The South would be in no more danger in this respect than it was in the days of Washington. I suppose, however, this does not meet the case. You think slavery is right and ought to be extended; while we think it

is wrong and ought to be restricted. That I suppose is the rub. It certainly is the only substantial difference

between us.


Abraham Lincoln, letter to Alexander H. Stephens (later Vice-President of the Confederacy),

22 December 1860.


Source D


The Civil War was rendered inevitable because a reconciliation between opposing moral and social forces could not be effected. It might have been averted had the North yielded to the South and in Lincoln’s words ceased references to slavery ‘as in any way wrong’. In other words, the North must repress its own enlightened sentiment regarding slavery. On the other hand war might have been prevented had the Southerners had a change of heart, and reverted to the sentiments of Jefferson that slavery was an evil, and agreed to limit its extension. The logical result would have been gradual abolition and the North was ready to compensate the owners of slaves. But anybody who should have put forward such a doctrine in the South in 1861 would have been laughed at, hooted and mobbed.


‘Lectures on the American Civil War’ by a US historian, 1913.


Source E


How does one account for the North’s vehement refusal to acquiesce in secession, its passionate attachment to the Union, its willingness to make war in order to preserve the country’s territorial integrity? Economic motives no doubt played a part. An independent Confederacy would rob the Northern manufacturers of a profitable Southern market and deprive the Northern shipowners and merchants of their control of Southern trade. But infinitely more important was the fact that secession challenged the ideological basis of American nationalism, as the Northerners had understood it. They had learned to identify the Union with liberty and democracy and to feel that its maintenance was the touchstone of the experiment in popular government. On both sides nationalism was the central issue of the struggle now beginning. While the South contended for separate nationhood to maintain its distinctive way of life, the North fought to preserve the ideals the Union cause symbolised.


From a book by a contemporary British historian, 1990.


Now answer the following question.


‘The slavery issue undoubtedly caused the American Civil War.’ Use sources A-E to show how far the

evidence confirms this statement.




You must answer three questions from this section.


2 Assess the main factors involved in taming the ‘Wild West’ between 1865 and 1896.


3 ‘He was completely unfitted for the office of President.’ To what extent is this a fair judgement on Grant during his two Presidential terms?


4 Assess the impact of immigration on American social and economic life in the period from 1865 to the First World War.


5 Evaluate the leadership role of Martin Luther King in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.


6 How far were the 1920s in the United States a period of prosperity and optimism?


7 Analyse the reasons why the United States was unable to sustain its policy of neutrality in World War II.


8 ‘In the 1950s and 1960s religion permeated every aspect of American life but how far there was a genuine religious revival remains uncertain.’ Assess the accuracy of this contention.