General Certificate of Education

Advanced Subsidiary Level and Advanced Level


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

May/June 2004


3 hours


Additional Materials: Answer Booklet/Paper




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 right of property in slaves is distinctly and expressly affirmed in the Constitution. No word can be found there which entitles slave property to less protection than to any other kind of property. The only power it confers on Congress is the power and also the duty of guarding and protecting property owners’ rights.


The Act of Congress prohibiting slavery in territory north of 36 ° 30’ is not warranted by the Constitution and is therefore void. Accordingly Scott was not made free by being taken by his owner into Minnesota Territory.  Also, as a slave, Scott is not a citizen of Missouri, whence he came, hence he has no right to sue in any federal court.


Chief Justice Taney’s majority judgement in the case of Dred Scott v Sandford, 6 March 1857.


Six associate justices agreed with Taney, two disagreed.


Source B


The harmful influence shed by slavery on our national history and on our public men has not yet spent its evil force. It has reached a height which until a few years ago, it was thought the wildest fanaticism to predict. The line drawn in 1820, which the slaveholders promised slavery would never overstep, is insolently as well as infamously ignored – slavery presides in the Cabinet, is seated on the Supreme Court, is absolute in the halls of Congress; no man can say what shape its next aggression may take.


Is the success of this conspiracy to be final and eternal? Are the states ironically named the Free States to be always the puppets of a power like this? Are we to be cheated out of our national rights by an oligarchy as despicable as it is detestable?


Editorial in Atlantic Monthly, 1857.


Source C


It matters not what the Supreme Court may decide on the question whether slavery may or may not go into a Territory. The people have the lawful means to introduce it or exclude it as they please, because slavery cannot exist a day or an hour anywhere unless supported by local police regulations. Those can only be established by the local legislature, and if the people are opposed to slavery, they will elect representatives who will by unfriendly legislation bring about a change. If, on the contrary, they are for it, their legislation will favour its extension. The right of the people to make a Territory slave or free is perfect and complete.


The Republican creed lays down that under no circumstances shall we acquire any more territory, unless slavery is first prohibited in that territory. I answer that whenever it becomes necessary to acquire more territory, I am in favour of it, without reference to the question of slavery; and when we have acquired it, I will leave the people free to do as they please; either to make it slave or free territory.


Stephen Douglas, speech at Freeport, Illinois, October 1858.


Source D


The real issue is the sentiment on the part of one class that looks upon slavery as wrong, and of another class that does not look upon it as wrong. The sentiment that contemplates slavery in this country as wrong is that of the Republican Party. They nevertheless have due regard to its actual existence and the difficulties of getting rid of it, and to all the constitutional obligations about it.


They insist that it should, as far as may be, be treated as a wrong; and to make provision that it shall grow no larger. They also desire a policy that looks to a peaceful end of slavery at some time.


I will say something about this argument Douglas uses, while he sustains the Dred Scott decision, that the people of the Territories can still somehow exclude slavery. And how is it he tells us they can exclude it? He says it needs ‘police regulations’, and it requires ‘unfriendly legislation’.


I do not believe it is a constitutional right to hold slaves in a Territory of the United States. I believe the decision was improperly made and I go for reversing it. But Douglas will allow it to be evaded while the law itself stands. I say that no man can deny his obligation to support slavery in a Territory, who believes it is a constitutional right to have it there.


Abraham Lincoln, speech at Alton, Illinois, October 1858.


Source E


The Dred Scott decision provoked a greater storm than any other judicial decision before or since. While the South was elated, Northern anger was intense. Republicans alleged that Buchanan and the Supreme Court had conspired to extend slavery throughout the country and pledged themselves to reverse the decision.


Northern opinion, believing that the racist views Chief Justice Taney ascribed to the Founding Fathers were also his own, was deeply offended. More important, by establishing the constitutionality of slavery in all the Territories, the Court cut the ground from under the Republicans. It even called in question the constitutionality of Douglas’s position on popular sovereignty.


From a modern historian’s account of the Dred Scott decision of the Supreme Court, 1999.


Now answer the following question.


‘The Dred Scott decision made little practical difference to sectional divisions over the slavery issue.’ Using Sources A – E, discuss how far the evidence supports this assertion.




You must answer three questions from this section.


2 Assess the consequences of the Mexican War for the United States.


3 Compare Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis as war leaders.


4 Was the trend towards monopoly in the American economy beneficial or harmful in the period to 1914?


5 How different were the philosophies and policies of Booker T. Washington and W. E. du Bois on how best to attain full emancipation for Afro-Americans?


6 Account for the Republican ascendancy in the 1920s.


7 To what extent did the foreign policy of the United States from 1921 to 1941 follow consistent principles?


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