General Certificate of Education

Advanced Subsidiary Level and Advanced Level


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

May/June 2005


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


I assert that this government can exist as they made it, divided into free and slave States. Lincoln says that he looks forward to a time when slavery shall be abolished everywhere. I look forward to a time when each State shall be allowed to do as it pleases. If it chooses to keep slavery forever it is not my business, but its own; if it chooses to abolish slavery, it is its own business – not mine. I care more for the great principles of self-government, the right of the people to rule, than I do for all the negroes in Christendom. I would not endanger the perpetuity of this Union for all the negroes that ever existed. Hence, I say, let us maintain this government on the principles that our Fathers made it, recognizing the right of each State to keep slavery as long as its people determine, or to abolish it when they please.


Stephen Douglas, speech at Alton, Illinois, 17 October 1858.


Source B


The history of the Abolition or Black Republican Party of the North is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having as their intention the establishment of absolute tyranny over the slave-holding States. We have never shown hostility towards the North. They have robbed us of our property. They have murdered our citizens who were endeavouring to reclaim their property by lawful means. They have set at naught the decrees of the Supreme Court. They have invaded our States and killed our citizens. They have declared their unalterable determination to exclude us altogether from the Territories. They have nullified the laws of Congress, and finally they have capped the mighty pyramid of unfraternal enormities by electing Abraham Lincoln to the Presidency, on a platform and by a system which indicates nothing but the subjugation of the South and the complete ruin of her social, political and industrial institutions.


New Orleans Daily Crescent, 13 November 1860.


Source C


I am not without hopes that our rights may be maintained and our wrongs be redressed in the Union. If this can be done it is my earnest wish. I think also that it is the wish of a majority of our people. When this Union is broken up, if of necessity it must be, I see at present but little prospect of good government afterwards. Revolutions are much easier started than controlled.


Letter from Alexander H. Stephens, later Vice-President of the Confederacy, 25 November 1860.


Source D


Had the South used her power prudently and acted wisely, she would have controlled the destinies of this government for generations to come. But they commenced constant aggression upon the rights of the people of the North, which forced the latter to rise and drive them from power. The South passed a fugitive slave bill which would have disgraced the worst despotisms of Europe. They repealed the Missouri Compromise, which they had forced upon the North, in order to force slavery upon an unwilling people. They invaded Kansas and plundered and murdered its citizens. Every new triumph of the South and every concession of the North has only whetted their appetite for still more and encouraged them to make greater claims and unreasonable demands until today they are threatening the government itself.


Congressman J. B. Alley of Massachusetts, speech to US Congress, 26 January 1861.


Source E


A surrender to secession is the suicide of government. If we succumb to secession now – if we allow these insurgents and usurpers to dictate to us the terms of a national dismemberment, our national government is gone – hopelessly, irretrievably gone. We shall never more have peace or public order at home – we shall never more lift our head among the nations of the earth. The great battle which is now joined, is to prove whether a Republic, founded on the will of the people, is capable of exerting power enough to enforce its laws and maintain its existence, or whether it contains within itself the seeds of its own destruction.


Cincinnati Commercial, 6 May 1861.


Now answer the following question.


‘It was the complete breakdown in trust between North and South that made compromise impossible.’ Using Sources A – E, discuss how far the evidence supports this assertion.




You must answer three questions from this section.


2 Mexico will poison us.’ How accurate was this prediction of the effects of the Mexican War on the United States?


3 ‘I claim not to have controlled events but confess plainly that events have controlled me.’ (Abraham Lincoln, speech in 1864). Do you agree with Lincoln’s assessment of his Presidency?


4 Explain why the United States became the world’s leading industrial nation in the period 1865-1900.


5 How was it possible, in spite of constitutional protection, for the Southern States to deny basic civil rights to African-Americans from 1895 to 1964?


6 How different were the policies adopted by Hoover and Roosevelt to deal with the Great Depression?


7 ‘Gradually and rather reluctantly, the United States became an imperial power and a military presence on a global scale.’ Is this a fair assessment of American foreign policy, 1890-1919?


8 How far was increasing national prosperity from 1945 to 1968 shared by all Americans?