IGCSE History Component-2: Specimen Questions with Answers 1 - 1 of 6

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Section B: American Option

The Origins of the Civil War, 1846 - 1861
The Missouri Compromise, 1820

Read the sources and then answer both parts of the question.

Source A
  • An Act to authorize the people of the Missouri Territory to form a Constitution and State government, and for the admission of such state into the Union on an equal footing with the original states, and to prohibit slavery in certain territories.
  • Section 8: Be it further enacted that in all the territory ceded by France under the name of Louisiana, which lies north of thirty six degrees and thirty minutes north latitude, not included within the state contemplated by this Act, slavery and involuntary servitude shall be forever prohibited. Provided always that any person escaping into this territory from whom labor is lawfully claimed in any state or territory of the United States such fugitive may lawfully be reclaimed.
  • Approved March 6 1820.
  • From the Act of Congress known as the Missouri Compromise.
Source B
  • I thank you, dear sir, for the copy you have been so kind as to send me of the letter to your constituents on the Missouri question. I had, for a long time, ceased to read newspapers or pay any attention to public affairs, content to be a passenger in the boat to the shore from which I am not distant, but this momentous question, like a fire bell in the night, awakened me and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the death knell of the Union. A geographical line coinciding with a marked principal, moral and political, once conceived and held up to the angry passions of men, will never be obliterated and every new irritation will mark it deeper and deeper. I regret that I am now to die in belief that the useless sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 76 to acquire self-government and happiness to their country is to be thrown away by the unwise passions of their sons and that my only consolation is to be that I live not to weep over it.
  • From a letter from Thomas Jefferson to John Holmes, Massachusetts politician, 22 April 1820.
Source C
  • Of the President՚s views, I know nothing. But this I do know, that he has not disguised or concealed his opinion on the subject of the attempt to make a Constitution for Missouri. I think I report him faithfully when I understood him as advising ‘mildness and firmness and decision’ . I trust this may be no cause for a division of sentiment in Virginia as to his re-election for the Missouri Crisis has arrived which demands unanimity on the part of the South. I am afraid that he might put his veto on any Bill which attempts to restrict a territory about to become a state in the exercise of it՚s sovereign power.
  • From a letter from John Tyler, US Representative for Virginia, 12 February 1820.
Source D
  • President Monroe approved and signed the Bill on the sixth day of March 1820. The President at the first believed the Bill to be unconstitutional and in the draft of a veto message which he did not send to Congress, lest it might cause a civil war, he used this language that the proposed restriction to territories which are to be admitted to the Union, if not a direct violation of the constitution, is repugnant to its principle. What other motive may have influenced him is not easy to determine but a Presidential election was approaching.
  • From ‘The True History of the Missouri Compromise and it՚s Repeal’ , published in 1899. The author of this source was married to the Senator who replaced Henry Clay on his death in 1852.

Answer both parts of the question with reference to the Sources.

Question 1 (1 of 2 Based on Passage)

Describe in Detail Essay▾

To what extent do sources C and D agree about President Monroe՚s attitude towards the Missouri Compromise? [Marks 15]



Differences between Sources C and D Include

  • While Source C states that Monroe advised firmness and decision, Source D sees Monroe as vacillating over whether to veto the Compromise
  • Source C shows that Monroe might well object to the Compromise, as it attempted to restrict state sovereignty - while Source D shows him signing the Compromise.

Similarities Include

  • Both see Monroe as close to vetoing the Compromise
  • Both see Monroe as vacillating [depending upon which part of Source C is used]
  • Both see Monroe as objecting to the Compromise՚s limits on state power
  • Both mention the possible impact of the 1820 presidential election.
  • Source C was written before Monroe signed the Compromise, Source D was written long after. Source C was written to influence opinion in Virginia. Source D was written by someone presumably very familiar with the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, a very controversial Act which repealed the Missouri Compromise. Therefore, she would probably want to write a partial account rather than a true history.