APUSH Mr. Silva Discussion Questions Unit 4: Jackson, Manifest Destiny, and Impending Crisis

Mr. Silva
Discussion Questions
Unit 4: Jackson, Manifest Destiny, and Impending Crisis
1. Andrew Jackson is described as the common man’s hero. How does his presidency and
his background foster this belief in the country.
2. Was Jacksonian democracy really democratic?
3. Andrew Jackson had the popularity and the support to address the growing sectionalism,
yet he avoided the biggest issue of them all – slavery. Does this undermine the importance
of his presidency on the history of the United States?
4. Opponents of Jackson dubbed him “King Andrew I” and used this to attack him. How
effective were the assaults and did it make life more difficult for Martin Van Buren?
5. What were the differences between the Democrats and the Whigs?
6. Who remained excluded from Jacksonian democracy?
7. The Election of 1840 changed the way campaigning happened in America. Explain how
and assess the effectiveness of the changes.
8. How did the rise of manufacturing contribute to the growth of the cities?
9. Why was American painting less imitative of Europe than American writing?
10. Analyze the main ideas of transcendentalism. What made Melville and Hawthorne
11. The United States was founded on principles derived from the Enlightenment. Given that
romanticism was a reaction against the Age of Reason, why did romantic ideas so capture
the minds of Americans in the early nineteenth century?
12. Analyze the various reasons for the success of school reforms.
13. What would have been the appeal of the evangelical and utopian religion of the Second
Great Awakening for Sojourner Truth?
14. Why, of all the reform movements, did abolitionism prove to be the most divisive?
15. Although Americans perceived Manifest Destiny as a benevolent movement, it was in
fact an aggressive imperialism pursued at the expense of others. Assess the validity of this
statement with specific reference to American expansionism in the 1840s.
16. Were the principle causes of both the War of 1812 and the Mexican War to be found in
Western needs and demands?
17. The Compromise of 1850 and its aftermath marked the culmination of an old style of
politics; its reception and results indicated that a new style of politics would become
dominant. Assess this validity of this generalization.
18. In many ways the issues of slavery, Texas and the Mexican War are interrelated.
Analyze this statement and agree or disagree with it.
19. Stephen Douglas devised the legislative strategy that led to the passage of the
Compromise of 1850. Why, only four years later, was he willing to undo what he had helped
to create?
20. Why did the election of Abraham Lincoln, who had promised not to disturb slavery in
states where it existed, lead the southern states to secede?
21. If Roger Taney believed that the only issue in Dred Scott was whether blacks could be
citizens, why then did he continue on to declare the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional?
22. John Brown has been immortalized because of his actions prior to the Civil War. How
important of a role do you believe this played in the final break from the Union?
23. Did certain conditions exist that made it more likely for a slave to escape?