General Certificate of Education

Advanced Subsidiary Level and Advanced Level


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

October/November 2003


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


The abolition sentiment of the Northern States has steadily increased in hostility to the rights of these States as equal members of the Union. It has led to long continued abuse and hatred of the Southern people; to ceaseless war upon their plainest constitutional rights, to open flaunting of the constitutional provisions designed to secure the return of fugitive slaves, and of Congressional laws giving them effect. It has also promoted the armed invasion of Southern soil by stealth and prompted large masses of Northern people to sympathise with the treacherous invaders of our country. It has even elevated the leader of a band of midnight assassins and robbers to the ranks of a hero and martyr. Finally it has organised a hostile sectional party which has instigated a long series of insults, outrages and wrongs for the purpose of making the federal government an instrument of our destruction. Therefore we do hereby declare:


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


2nd. That she came into the Union with other states, as a sovereignty and by virtue of that sovereignty, has the right to secede whenever she shall judge necessary.


3rd. That she ought not to submit to the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln as her President.


Resolutions on Secession from Floyd County, Georgia, 1 December 1860.


Source B


The question is, has the Constitution delegated to Congress power to coerce a State which is attempting to withdraw or has actually withdrawn from the Union? If answered affirmatively it must be because the power has been conferred upon Congress to make war against a State. After serious reflection I have concluded that no such power has been delegated to Congress or to any other department of the Federal Government.


But if we possessed this power, would it be wise to use it? The object would be to preserve the Union. War would not only present the most effective means of destroying it, but would vanish all hope of peaceable reconstruction.


Our Union rests upon public opinion, and can never be cemented by the blood of citizens in civil war. If it cannot live in the affections of the people, it must one day perish.


President Buchanan’s Annual Message to Congress, 6 December 1860.


Source C


I would say to the people of the South; hold fast to the Union.


The Union is the instrument by which you will in the end obtain redress. Congress may err. It may err from error of  judgment, from passion, from excitement, from party fervour; they will not last always. The principles upon which your Government was founded recognize all these frailties, all these sources of occasional wrong and injustice, but they furnish a remedy in the elections which the people make. Hold fast to the Union where there is safety, tried safety,  known safety.


Senator Crittenden’s Plea for Peace, 2 March 1861.


Source D


I have no purpose 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 laws and the Constitution, the Union of the States is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the law of all national governments. It is safe to assume that no government ever had a provision in its Constitution for its own termination.


It follows from this that no State upon its own can lawfully get out of the Union: that ordinances to that effect are legally void and that acts of violence within any state against the United States are insurrectionary or revolutionary according to circumstances.


I therefore consider that the Union is unbroken and to the extent of my ability I shall take care, as the Constitution specifically requires me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the States.


Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address, 4 March 1861.


Source E


While secession was occurring, Buchanan was paralysed by indecision; while denying the right of secession he asserted the federal government possessed no constitutional power to prevent it. He hoped that if hostilities could be avoided, a way might be found to bring seceded states back into the Union. In Congress compromise plans emerged. The one attracting most attention was from Senator Crittenden of Kentucky. It proposed constitutional amendments to allay Southern fears. The permanence of slavery in the states would be guaranteed; federal compensation was to be paid to owners who failed to recover fugitive slaves; the Missouri Compromise was to be re-established, slavery being prohibited north of the traditional line and protected south of it. This plan was widely supported in the North and Southern leaders said they would accept it if the Republicans did. But Lincoln’s opposition proved decisive. Prepared to endorse new fugitive proposals and even the amendment protecting slavery in the states, he was adamantly against any compromise on slavery extension.


From an historian’s account of the secession crisis, 1999.


Now answer the following question.


‘The secession crisis of 1860–1 only led to civil war because of President Buchanan’s weakness and indecision.’ Using Sources A-E, discuss how far the evidence supports this assertion.




You must answer three questions from this section.


2 How influential a factor was the doctrine of Manifest Destiny in the huge territorial expansion of the United States in the 1840s?


3 Assess the respective strengths and weaknesses of Presidential and Congressional Reconstruction policies.


4 How successful were attempts to deal with the problems of farmers in the late nineteenth century?


5 Analyse the factors which led to the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


6 ‘The revolt of rural and small town Americans against the cities’. Discuss this assessment of the 1920s.


7 Assess relations between the United States and Europe from 1919 to 1941.


8 Analyse the reasons for the dramatic change in social attitudes and lifestyles that occurred in America in the 1960s.