The Pre-Civil War Era (1815–1850)
Study Questions & Essay Topics
Always use specific historical examples to support your arguments.
1. How did the Market Revolution affect the United States socially, politically, and economically? What major developments contributed to the Market Revolution?
2. Many of Andrew Jackson’s enemies called him an autocrat because of his leadership style. What effect did Jackson have on the office of the presidency? Did he ever act unconstitutionally? Was this accusation deserved?
3. Do you believe that Polk was justified in asking Congress to declare war on Mexico?
Suggested Essay Topics
1. Compare and contrast the North and the South during the antebellum period. Were their social, political, and economic differences reconcilable or was civil war inevitable?
2. How did Christian revivalism in the mid-1800s affect American politics and society?
3. How was the abolitionist movement different from other reform movements during the mid-1800s?
4. Who should be given credit for the Monroe Doctrine? Was it ultimately a success or a failure?
5. Historian Frederick Jackson Turner once argued that westward expansion was one of the fundamental experiences in American history. Do you agree or disagree?
6. Compare and contrast the Missouri Crisis and the Nullification Crisis. Which was more divisive at the time, and which had a greater effect in the long run?