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Toolbox Library, primary resources thematically organized with notes and discussion questionsOnline Seminars, professional development seminars for history and literature teachersThe Triumph of Nationalism/The House Dividing, 1815-1850
The Triumph of Nationalism/The House Dividing
Topic: Culture of the Common ManTopic: Cult of DomesticityTopic: ReligionTopic: ExpansionTopic: America in 1850
America in 1850
Overview of Triumph of Nationalism
Resource Menu: America 1850
Text 1. John C. Calhoun
Text 2. Daniel Webster
Text 3. William Henry Seward
Text 4. Henry Clay
» Reading Guide
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Text 5. Henry David Thoreau
Text 6. Harriet Beecher Stowe
Text 7. Frederick Douglass

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Reading Guide
4.  Henry Clay, "A General Review of the Debate on the Compromise Bills," U.S. Senate, July 22, 1850

If Calhoun wants to restore the original purity of the Constitution, Clay argues for living in a fallen world. Arguing for the specifics of the Compromise of 1850, he vividly depicts what might happen if the dispute between Texas and New Mexico is left unresolved. There could be two civil wars, he asserts, one along the banks of the Rio Grande and another that would stretch to the Potomac. He concludes with a powerful endorsement of the Union and its benefits. 4 pages.

Discussion questions
  ·  What, in his view, are the choices before Americans?
  ·  On what basis does he argue for the Compromise of 1850?
  ·  What, in Clay's view, holds the Union together?
  ·  Is Clay optimistic or pessimistic about the Union's prospects?

Reading highlights
  ·  Note how Clay portrays abolitionists and uses their opposition to the Compromise in support of his position.
  ·  How does Clay portray the North, the South?

» Link

Topic Framing Questions
From the perspective of an American in 1850, either Northern or Southern (remember, you don't know what's going to happen over the next 15 years):
  ·  How volatile is America in 1850?
  ·  What holds the nation together? What is pulling it apart?
  ·  How serious is the Southern threat to leave the Union?
  ·  Is the Compromise of 1850 a triumph of nationalism or sectionalism?
  ·  Will the Union survive?

Toolbox: The Triumph of Nationalism / The House Dividing
Common Man | Cult of Domesticity | Religion | Expansion | America in 1850

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