Moraine Valley Community College Mexican War Calhoun and Douglass Essay

Primary Source Essay 4 (35 points)

Complete the Primary Source Essay 4 by choosing one of the three selections below.

Essay Instructions:

Select ONE of the primary source readings from those included below and write an essay on the selection. In writing this essay, integrate information from the textbook with the primary source reading. Write an introduction paragraph and present a thesis to the reader. Choose relevant and specific examples to support your arguments in an appropriate number of body paragraphs. Write a unified essay while answering each of the bulleted questions and organize the information by placing it in logical sequence. Come to a conclusion in a separate paragraph.

The use of any other sources beyond the one(s) assigned as well as the textbook in writing the essay is not expected. If other sources are used to gather information they must be documented and “historical” or written by a professional historian. If information (not just quotations) is used from a source and not documented, that is plagiarism, a form of cheating. See the section on documentation and Academic Honesty in the Syllabus. Also, if direct quotations are used from the sources assigned, textbook, or any other material they must be properly documented and a works cited page included.

Essays should be 700 to 900 words long, double-spaced with normal margins, in a 12 font, and your name and a title at the top.Indicate paragraph separation by indenting the first line rather than adding additional space. The essay should be in formal English, using proper spelling, grammar and punctuation. Late papers may be downgraded 10% for every day late. Again, 700 words is the minimum requirement. Failure to follow through on these guidelines will result in a less than desirable grade. Save the essay with your last name and Primary Source Essay 4 as the title.

Submit the essay by following the instructions associated with the link at the bottom of this page.

Assignment Selections:

Reading Texts in Older English:

The selections below are from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Because many of the words used may be unfamiliar, use a dictionary. Read these sources slowly to extract the meaning and treat every clause like a sentence. Always look for the declarative statement that the author is trying to convey amidst his ornamentation. After becoming more accustomed to reading these texts, students can begin to relish the beauty of the language. Since written language was the only mode of distance communication, even people with very little formal education wrote very well.

Primary Source Selections and Topics (the readings are available directly below these instructions):

1. READ:

Sources: The Mexican War
Using the text and primary source readings, write an essay on the causes and results of the Mexican War while answering the following questions:

  • What was the concept of Manifest Destiny and how was it explained in Polk’s Inaugural Address?
  • How did Polk justify the Mexican War?
  • What arguments did Lincoln use to oppose the war?
  • Analyze why this conflict and its results continue to resonate in Mexico.


Sources: Calhoun and Douglass
Using the text and primary source readings, write an essay on the issue of slavery in the territories, using the text and primary sources while answering the following questions:

  • What were the issues, terms, and results of the Compromise of 1850?
  • What kinds of arguments did Calhoun use to justify the institution of slavery?
  • What arguments did Douglass use against slavery?
  • How would you evaluate the arguments of the two men?


Sources: Union and Secession
Using the text and primary source readings, write an essay discussing Lincoln’s attempt to preserve the Union, the rationale for secession, and Lincoln’s evolution toward abolition while answering the following questions:

  • How does Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address demonstrate that he is a moderate Republican?
  • Did the Southern states believe that Lincoln was sincere regarding his pronouncements on slavery in this first address?
  • What rationale does Jefferson Davis use to justify Mississippi’s secession?
  • How did the events of the Civil War change Lincoln’s views as demonstrated by the Emancipation Proclamation, and his Second Inaugural Address?

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