Sectional Conflict and Crisis (1844-1860)

(From your professor and textbook authors)


  1. What political point is the cartoonist making by depicting stephen Douglas, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Lewis Cass - all of whom were Democratic candidates in the 1856 presidential election - shoving an enslaved African-American down the throat of a Free Soil partisan?
  2. What is the historical significance of the "Democratic Platform" planks on which Buchanan and Cass are standing? They read: Kansas, Cuba, and Central America.
  3. What impact do you think the cartoonist was hoping to have on the election?

Dred Scott

  1. How does this court case connect to both the antislavery movement and the political crisis of the 1850s?
  2. What do you think were the differing reactions to the decision in the case? How might a northern abolitionist's reaction compare to that of a southern plantation owner?