General Certificate of Education

Advanced Subsidiary Level and Advanced Level


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

October/November 2005

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 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. On the contrary, I answer that whenever it becomes necessary to acquire more territory, that 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 B


The Supreme Court has decided that any Congressional prohibition of slavery in the Territories is unconstitutional. I understand also that Douglas adheres most firmly to that decision; and the difficulty is, how is it possible for any power to exclude slavery from the territory, unless in violation of that decision?


I hold that the proposition that slavery cannot enter a new Territory without police regulations is historically false. It is not true at all. I hold that the history of this nation shows that the institution of slavery was originally planted here without these ‘police regulations’ which he now thinks are necessary.


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

Source C


I again assert, that in my opinion our government can last forever, divided into free and slave States as our fathers made it, each State having the right to prohibit, abolish, or sustain slavery. This government was made upon the great basis of the sovereignty of the States, the right of each State to regulate its own domestic institutions. Lincoln says that he looks forward to a time when slavery shall be abolished. I look forward to a time when each State shall be allowed to do as it pleases. If it chooses to keep slavery it is not my business, but its own; if it chooses to abolish slavery, likewise.


Stephen Douglas, speech at Alton, 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 for 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 that 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 debates revealed that while Douglas had rebelled against his party on the issue of slavery extension, there were important differences of principle between him and Lincoln. In propounding popular sovereignty he professed to be indifferent as to whether slavery was voted in or not. All that mattered was there should be a genuine expression of opinion. That meant ignoring the moral aspects of slavery. Lincoln, however, considered slavery ‘a moral, social and political wrong’. He accepted that the Constitution protected slavery in the states, but was flatly opposed to its extension. He had declared earlier ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand, this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. It will become all one thing, or all the other.’ His policy was not to abolish slavery immediately, but to place it ‘in the cause of ultimate extinction’ by preventing its further spread.


From a modern historian’s account of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, 1997.


Now answer the following question.


‘Douglas’s arguments were more practical and realistic than those of Lincoln’. Using Sources A-E, discuss how far the evidence supports this assertion.




You must answer three questions from this section.


2 How far were the displacement of the Native American nations and the destruction of their way of life in the period 1840 to 1896 the consequence of deliberate government policy?


3 How true is the claim that Gettysburg was the turning point in the Civil War?


4 Assess the impact of organised labour on American politics and society from 1865 to 1914.


5 Assess the effectiveness of the different tactics used by the various wings of the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s.


6 ‘Shapeless and chaotic, with no clear philosophy.’ How valid is this critique of the New Deal, 1933-1940?


7 How successful in foreign affairs was President Wilson?


8 Analyse the reasons for the changing roles and status of women in American society from 1945 to