Tutor profile: Caitlin K.
Subject: US History
To what degree was slavery the cause of the civil war and why?
Slavery was absolutely the predominant reason for the Confederate State’s secession in the winter of 1860-1 and the subsequent Civil War. Some argue that other factors such as the social and economic differences between the North and the South were the central causes of the war, but when examined closely all sectional differences between the North and the South stemmed from the institution of slavery and the South’s desire to maintain and even expand the institution. Much of the contention was caused by the expansion of the United States westward. The South wanted there to be an equal number of free and slave states added to the nation at a time (Gienapp 37). They wanted to keep the precarious balance of southern and northern senators even because they did not want their constitutional right to own slaves infringed upon. The continued balance between free and slave states was viewed as problematic by Northern politicians because the territory in question had never even been touched by slavery. For instance, David Wilmot, a congressman from Pennsylvania, argued that the expansion of slavery would harm the working white man in this area because he would have to compete with the free labor of the slaves (Gienapp 27). He offered up a plan called the Wilmot Proviso that would prohibit slavery in the territory acquired from Mexico during the Mexican-American war (Gienapp 27). This plan was passed in the House several times but was always rejected by the Senate because of the balance of representation there (Gienapp 27). The proslavery representatives had more power in the Senate because the House of Representatives is determined by state population where Southerners were in the minority. Sometimes the battle for political balance in Washington even lent itself to literal violence in the territories. In 1854, democratic Illinois senator Stephen A. Douglass introduced the Kansas-Nebraska bill which allowed for residents of these territories to decide for themselves whether to enter the country as slave states or free states. Northerners were aghast. This bill broke the Missouri Compromise which stated that no states above parallel 36°30’ could permit slavery. One Northern newspaper worried that popular sovereignty would change the territories “into a dreary region of despotism, inhabited by masters and slaves”(Gienapp 33). On the other hand, Southerners saw it as a positive thing and a chance to even the balance in the Senate after the Compromise of 1850 had disrupted it when it admitted California as a free state. Skirmishes and guerilla warfare broke out in Kansas when both free soilers and pro-slavery Southerners flooded the area, each vying for majority power (Masur 16). Bleeding Kansas is often referred to as a rehearsal for the Civil War (Masur 17) because it illustrated how readily Americans would resort to bloodshed over the issue of slavery. Slavery was not the only difference between the North and the South, but it was the principal one. Economic and social differences stemmed from “the peculiar institution” (Masur 13). Southerners were, as Texas Senator Louis T. Wigfall would put it, an agricultural people (Gienapp 11). In 1860, the South possessed a mere fifteen percent of the United States’s manufacturing establishments; they instead invested nearly all of their capital in agriculture, particularly in cotton (Statistics Handout). Despite the differences in the economies of the North and South, it would be ludicrous to suggest that these differences caused the Civil War because the North was heavily invested in Southern agriculture and reaped the benefits. Southern cotton was turned to the textile in Northern factories and was shipped off to Europe from Northern ports, such as Boston and New York (Foner 13). To say that the Civil War was fought over state’s rights would be an incomplete statement; the Civil War was fought over the state’s rights to own slaves. This can clearly be seen when South Carolina, the first state to secede from the Union issued its “Declaration of Causes which Induced the Secession of South Carolina ” (Gienapp 60). A great deal of this document accuses the North of not complying with the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, which was federal law and for allowing abolitionists organizations to exist (Gienapp 60). South Carolina believed that their right to own slaves, which they considered to be property was protected under the Constitution and therefore abolitionists were a direct threat to their constitutional freedom. This declaration makes it overwhelmingly clear that South Carolina seceded from the Union because they felt that their freedom to own slaves was not being respected or protected by the North. Other Southern states list these reasons too in their individual documents expanding upon the reasons for secession. Furthermore, unlike the American Constitution, the Constitution of the Confederacy had no qualms about discussing slavery by name. Article One Section Nine assures that the Confederate Government can pass a law “denying or impairing the right of property in Negro Slaves”(Gienapp 432). Article Four Section Four asserts that the individual states do not have the authority to infringe upon that right either and it furthermore protects the institution of slavery should the Confederacy ever expand (Gienapp 436). The fact that slavery is defended so constantly and thoroughly and specifically throughout the document demonstrates that the founders of the Confederacy were paranoid about losing their right to slavery. They made sure that this right would never be threatened again when they drafted their constitution. After the turbulent decade of the 1850s, Southerners felt that their right to own human being as the property was under fire. To prevent this they did everything they could to stop the Free Soil Movement and made sure that that right was protected in the document that would govern their new nation; and, yes, they started the Civil War because of this fear.
Using the texts Up From Slavery and from the Souls of Black Folk, compare and contrast the differences between Fredrick Douglass and W.E.B. DuBois's prose through the usage of tone and other rhetorical devices.
Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois was the most influential African American thinkers and writers between the eras of the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement. Both men dedicated their lives to improving conditions of African Americans; however, they disagreed on what would be the most effective way to do so. Washington advocated for more economic opportunities and technical training for the race while Du Bois championed suffrage, equality, and access to higher education. They both employed different techniques in their writings to create rhetoric and construct their arguments. In his autobiography, Up From Slavery Washington uses anecdotes and metaphors to create a conciliatory tone. For instance, Washington never knew his father, a white man from a nearby plantation. Instead of feeling bitter, Washington pities his father because he would never know his children and claims that his father was another “unfortunate victim of the institution” of slavery (Washington 675). Washington also feels sorry for the whites during the Civil War. The slaves were accustomed to hard times, but the lack of food was particularly hard on his white masters who were used to having more (Washington 678). Furthermore, he writes about how the institution of slavery was harmful to whites because it left them without any knowledge of practical skills of how to take care of themselves (Washington 678). Washington uses these instances of empathy to show whites that he understood their problems and held no resentment or ill will towards them. Washington also builds up a catalog of instances of friendship between the races. He recounts the story of a slave who purchased his freedom from his former owner even though he was freed by the Emancipation Proclamation (Washington 680). This showed that former slaves were of good character and never broke promises. He also asserted that slaves truly cared for their owners. He describes the sorrow his fellow slaves felt at the death of one of their masters and even goes so far as to say that slaves would lay down their lives in protection of the women in the Big House (Washington 679). If such a prosperous relationship could be found during times of slavery, Washington believed that a friendship between the races could also exist during Reconstruction. In his famous Atlanta Exposition Address, he advocated for that friendship. He created an ongoing metaphor in which Southern whites only had to cast down their buckets where they were to receive the benefit of African American labor and friendship (Washington 690). Washington believed that the relationship between the races could be symbiotic; he appealed to his white audience by being forgiving and unresentful so that they could better cooperate with him and his goals. Conciliatory tones and placations are noticeably absent in W.E.B. Du Bois’s collection of essays, From the Souls of Black Folk. However, in the forethought, Du Bois uses polite flowery Victorian language to draw in his “gentle reader” to establish his command on language and rhetoric before delving into his main arguments (Du Bois 885). Du Bois conveys his frustration with the condition of the situation of African Americans by beginning each chapter with a sorrow song and creating new terms to define black American identity. Sorrow songs are traditional slave songs that Du Bois wanted to preserve because he believed that they were a unique cultural marker. These songs convey a sense of anguish to the reader and set them up to take in Du Bois’s message. Du Bois also invents terms to better articulate the experience of black Americans. The Veil was an extended metaphor that expressed white people’s lack of clarity to see blacks as Americans. On the other side of things, it also clouded the way that African Americans viewed themselves. Double Consciousness further describes the difficulty of African Americans establishing identity because the idea of being both American and black was conflicting. Du Bois also coined the term “second sight”, the ability of blacks to judge the white world and survive within it. Du Bois uses these terms to better explain the black experience in America. Du Bois displays his frustration with Booker T Washington in a cold clear language when he explains that since Washington has advocated abandoning certain rights in exchange for low-level economic opportunities that there has been a withdrawal of funds from black education, laws that lower the status of blacks and the disenfranchisement of blacks (Du Bois 897). Du Bois asserts that these occurrences are detrimental to the progress of the race; his main goal is to reverse all of these actions. Washington believed that the best course of action for African Americans was economic opportunities and to be on good terms with whites because they held the power. Because of this, he attempted to forgive the white race in his writings and often wrote in conciliatory and placating tones to appease them. Du Bois was against this plan of action; he favored political power and educational opportunities. Because of this he offers a more pointed criticism of society than Washington and uses harsher language. Washington wrote to appeal to whites and Du Bois wrote to further advance the social status of African Americans.
Subject: European History
Compare and contrast the Petition of the Right and the Grand Remonstrance and the role they played in the ousting of King Charles of England
Both the Petition of the Right and the Grand Remonstrance are Parliamentary documents listing their grievances against Charles I. The Petition of the Right was introduced early on his reign; it attempted to end some of his powers that contradicted tradition and law. The Petition of Right was largely ineffective and, if anything, it worsened the situation because, along with the assassination of Buckingham, it caused Charles to not call Parliament again until 1641 which was when The Grand Remonstrance was drafted. During this time the relationship between the king and the Parliament deteriorated. The Grand Remonstrance was a harsher document than Petition of the Right; it listed hundreds of grievances in an accusatory tone. It was such an intense document that it divided Parliament and set the stage for the English Civil War. They were both divisive documents; The Petition of the Right shows a division between Charles and his Parliament and the Grand Remonstrance brought forth division within Parliament itself. The Petition of the Right was an attempt to return back to tradition and precedent while The Grand Remonstrance was a call for total change. The Petition of Right was presented to King Charles in 1628 by a Parliament that he called to help fund his war with Spain. It was primarily written by Sir Edward Coke (Kishlansky 111). The document seeks to protect civil liberties and criticizes some of Charles’s fiscal policies and uses of executive power; it backs up these criticisms by stating precedents and legislature that were in opposition to Charles’s actions. The Petition mainly addressed Charles’s policy of forced loans, his suspension of habeas corpus and implementation of martial law, and the quartering of soldiers in civilian homes. Parliament claimed that forced loans and the subsequent imprisonment of those who did not pay them without due process was completely unfair because it ignored The Great Charter of Liberties of England and a Parliamentary law that stated that no man could be killed or imprisoned without due process of law or judgment of his peers (Petition of the Right). Additionally, they claimed that Charles’ use of martial law also went against these same laws. They complained that the suspension of habeas corpus allowed for innocent people to be imprisoned while those had done far worse was free to do as they please (Petition of the Right). They criticized the quartering of soldiers and civilians’ homes because it was a great burden on the homeowners and went against “the laws and customs in this realm” (Petition of the Right). Coke was a lawyer (Kishlansky 37). He made sure to include evidence that the King’s actions went against precedent because Parliament did not want to completely curtail the King’s monarchical power; they just wanted to make sure he followed the already established laws. The Petition of the Right signified a growing mistrust between the Parliament and the king. The latter part of the document includes what the Parliament wanted the king to do about all of the aforementioned grievances. It states that the right of habeas corpus must be restored so that no one can be imprisoned without a proper trial (Petition of the Right). It also asks the king to remove soldiers from civilian homes and revokes the martial law. It also claims that no taxes of any kind be passed without the consent of Parliament (Petition of the Right). Parliament was concerned with Charles’s absolutist policies because they were innovative and went against precedent. They were also worried about the burden that the forced loans and quartering of subjects put on his subjects. They also did not want Charles innovating any new taxes because they would take power away from Parliament whose main job was to grant subsidies to the king. The Petition of Right had essentially no effect on the way Charles ran his kingdom. Although Charles agreed to abide by its laws, he would go on to break all of them during his Personal Rule. Charles continued to quarter soldiers in civilian homes, used martial law and collected forced loans and imprisoned those who could not pay them. Additionally, he implemented, even more, new taxes to fund his government, such as Ship Money. Charles did not call Parliament at all during the 1630s so Parliament had no way to enforce it. Members of Parliament became increasingly irate over Charles’s indifference to the Petition of Right and they had a lot to say about it the next time Parliament met in the early 1640s. The Grand Remonstrance was a product of years of Parliament’s bitterness toward the rule of King Charles that came to fruition in the Long Parliament of 1641. During his personal rule, Charles had failed to call a Parliament by his belief that it would just make things worse (Kishlansky 137). To create revenue, he kept on collecting Tonnage and Poundage, forced loans, knighthood fees and Ship Money. This was all without Parliament’s consent and went against the Petition of the Right. Additionally, religious tensions had increased with Charles’s appointment of William Laud to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Laud was a strong proponent of Arminianism which many saw as an attempt to revert back to the Church of Rome. Tensions boiled and war broke out when Laud introduced a new prayer book to Presbyterian Scotland in 1641. Charles called Parliament but dismissed it in three weeks because Parliament wanted to address their grievances before they granted Charles any money for a war with Scotland. Over the summer, Charles attempted to calm the situation in Scotland but the Scottish began demanding large sums of money that only Parliament could grant. Embarrassed, Charles was forced to call Parliament again in the autumn of 1641. The Grand Remonstrance is a voluminous document proposed by John Pym that chronicled a long list of hundreds of problems Parliament had with the reign of Charles and all of the reforms that they had made to fix all of Charles’s problems. Among other things, the document detailed all of the taxes Charles had imposed, lamented all the times Parliament had been unjustly dismissed and stipulated that the Church of England was becoming too “popish”, or like the Catholic Church (The Grand Remonstrance). Thusly, it seeks to remove bishops from the House of Lords as well as from the entire hierarchy of the Church of England. This would take away a significant amount of power from the king if he was no longer the head of the Church of England. In addition to its contents, the document is written in a very accusing tone that puts the blame for everything on Charles and his advisors, while building up Parliament to be the savior of the nation. Furthermore, the sheer enormity and volume of the legislation sent a message to Charles that Parliament was infuriated with him. It takes a lot of anger to come up with over one hundred grievances. The Grand Remonstrance was a very divisive piece of legislation. Not only did it illustrate the animosity between the king and Parliament, it also revealed a growing ideological difference amongst different members of Parliament. Many royal supporters within in Parliament did not approve of the condemnation of the king’s prerogative courts and advisors within the document because at that point in time the king had already agreed to abolish his own courts such as the Star Chamber and his counselors had already been executed or imprisoned (Kishlansky 149). To them, the document seemed redundant but to Charles’s critics, his past failings served as reasoning for future reforms. They believed constitutional reform had gone too far (Cressy 181). The debate to publish The Grand Remonstrance further divided Parliament. It went against precedent to bring Parliamentary procedures out of doors and to the public; however, radicals such as Pym wanted to publish the document to build further pressure against Charles. Many royal supporters thought that publishing the inflammatory document was taking things too far. Parliament decided to publish the document by a vote of 159 to 148. This razor-thin margin showed just how divided Parliament was at this time; there was a spectrum of ideas and there was a widening gap between the different schools of thoughts. The increased radicalization of the leadership and lack of concrete solutions caused more and more members to sympathize with Charles. Although the Petition of the Right and The Grand Remonstrance were both lists of Parliamentary grievances against Charles, they were fundamentally different; with the Petition of the Right Parliament just wanted to go back to the way things were but with The Grand Remonstrance they hoped to completely reform the power of the monarch. The Petition of the Right was a well thought out legal document that took care to say exactly where the King was wrong. The Grand Remonstrance was a scalding accusation listing all of the varied reasons why Parliament was angry with the King. To some degree, The Petition of the Right sowed the seeds for the Grand Remonstrance; Charles did not call Parliament after he agreed to the Petition of the Right because they knew they would be furious with him for going against it. By 1641 when he called them out of military necessity, Charles was so unpopular with Parliament that he did not really have a choice to refuse them. Furthermore, the Grand Remonstrance was so divisive and controversial that it polarized Parliament and set the stage for a civil war.
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