1. Examine the Democrat and Republican Parties, as they existed in 1860. Choose one and compare it to the party of today that bears the same name. How are the party platforms the same? How are they different?
The Democratic Party was pro-slavery in 1860 as it used its majority in the Supreme Court to declare the Dred Scott decision, which declared that states could not outlaw slavery within their boundaries because slavery would be governed by federal law. The issue of slavery and its extension to other states was the major issue in the presidential campaign of 1860, which pitted the Democrats against Republicans. The Democratic Party split into pro-slavery southern democrats and anti-slavery northern democrats making the Republicans to win the presidency under Abraham Lincoln. The Democratic Party was unpopular in the north because of its confederacy stand.
Today the Democratic Party has reformed greatly and no longer advocates for slavery and racism. It instead advocates for Civil Rights and stands for the idea that wealth and status should not be an entitlement to rule. Other areas the party is focused on are: Energy Independence, Health Care, Open Government, Voting Rights, Economy & Job Creation, Environment, Immigration Reform, Retirement Security, Education, Fair Elections, National Security, and Science & Technology.
2. At the beginning of the Civil War, many Southerners believed that the war was their second War for Independence. Was that an accurate assessment, at that time? Please defend your position.
The Southerners perceived the Civil War as a revolutionary war. They were fighting to secede from the United States so they would be free from the oppressive government by the Democrats. It was therefore their war against an oppressive regime in the United States. The North considered it a war of rebellion by the southerners who were fighting against their legitimate authority so that they would go off on their own. The Civil war was caused by such issues as state rights, economic parity, nationalism, and the feeling that the southern way of life was facing extinction because of industrialization in the north. The election of 1860 changed the status quo of the southerners who initially had the privilege of counting on the Democrat Presidents to veto legislation they did not favor. Thus instead of watching helplessly, the southern states preferred to pull away from the Union. They believed England would offer assistance to them because it consumed most of the cotton produced by the South.
3. Review the Federalist behavior after the Revolution of 1800 with those actions of the Southern States after the Election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. How were their actions the same? How were their actions different?
After the election of Lincoln in 1860 Texas and other Southern States seceded from the Union of States. This is because the states considered Lincoln as an illegitimate president because besides his name not having appeared on the ballot in any of the Southern States, he ascended to office without a clear majority of votes. Furthermore, his policies were regarded as unfriendly to the interests of the Southern people. In most of the states, there was defiant actions such as erection of “independence poles” and claiming of the military facilities in the south. In addition, the states elected delegates to the state-wide meetings of their own they convened in defiance of representatives of the federal government.
The federal government reacted with force towards the actions of the defiant southern states. Union loyal military commanders seize the control of key facilities. Lincoln ordered for either the holding or retake of the federal forts in the south within hours of his taking office on March 4th. The president wrote numerous letters that advised against any sort of compromises with the Southern states as well their views. The two feuding parties were uncompromising to each other. The political events advanced at fast pace.
4. Think of what the Democratic-Republicans feared as a result of the Judiciary Act of 1800. Then examine the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution as ratified in 1868. In what ways were their fears realized?
The judiciary act of 1801 came by as a result of growing conflicts of the interests of the Democratic-Republicans and those of the Federal government. The act signed by the president provided over two hundred last-minute appointments in the judiciary. Besides being political, the appointments were of no particular purpose but were heavily salaried. They were seen as the federal system of power of destroying the state rights. It is the dominance of the judiciary by the federalists that worried the Democratic-Republicans and thus pushed for a repeal. Their lack of a credible legal alternative made them engage in witch-hunt game trying to unseat as many sitting Federalists judges as they could.
The 14th Amendment sought to guarantee protection to African-Americans from their democrat oppressors after the Civil War in the South. This is because it offered due process and equal protection of the laws to all citizens. In 1868, Republican Governor of New Jersey vetoed a trial by the legislature controlled by Democrats to rescind the ratification of the 14th Amendment by the State.
5. Describe how Madison’s system of Checks and Balances failed on the issue of slavery in the lead up to the Civil War. Use the Internet and other sources to research this area.
Madison’s system of Checks and Balances did prevail well over the issue of slavery prior to the Civil War. The Constitution seemed to protect slavery rather than outlaw it because its definition of “people” did not factor in African Americans or other slaves. These groups felt discriminated against because they did not count for calculating representation in the House. The three-fifths compromise allowed a slave to count as three-fifths of a person in the calculation of representation and calculating a state’s share of direct taxes. The president could not also stop the importation of slaves from other countries. This oppression finally culminated in the Civil War that was between the North and the South.
Both the representative government of Virginia and Massachusetts got elected by their respective governors. They as well were founded under similar circumstances where chattered companies/private investors were involved in the financing the transportation and equipment of their colonies. They equally differ on the type of laws that they set to governed by colonies. In the case of Virginia the colonial power enforced law that would govern the exploiting of resources in the country, which yielded the House of Burgesses and that was the first ever legislative assembly ever held in North America.
The three compelling things that I did not know the Spanish were colonists; the colony of Virginia yielded the first ever legislative assembly in North America, poor planning for the winter in the first colonists was not a good approach in any type of governance.
The aspect that caught my eye was governance, and poor planning, these two aspects proved that they colonist of Virginia were truly using agrarian skills of their fore fathers, as they went to explore for gold and treasures before establishing how long they would be at the colony.
Commager et al (1988). Documents of American History (10th Ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentiss Hall.