The Civil War 1850–1865
Study Questions & Essay Topics
Always use specific historical examples to support your arguments.
1. In your opinion, was the Civil War inevitable? Were the North and the South doomed from the beginning to battle each other eventually over the slavery issue?
2. Why were the border states so important to Lincoln?
3. Compare the North and the South in 1860 and then again in 1864. Why did the North win the war?
Suggested Essay Topics
1. Which side benefited more from the Compromise of 1850, the North or the South?
2. In 1850, most Northerners would never have dreamed they would be fighting a war against the South. Why did Northern public opinion change?
3. Some historians have claimed that the Mexican War was the first battle of the Civil War. Do you agree? Why or why not?
4. What effect did the Bleeding Kansas crisis have on the slavery debate in the years immediately before the war?
5. Compare and contrast Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis as wartime presidents. What challenges did they face and how did they overcome them? Who, in your opinion, was the better leader, and why?
6. What was Britain’s role in the Civil War?
7. What was the significance of the Emancipation Proclamation? What effect did it have on the North and on the South?