“It is an irrepressible conflict between two opposing forces, and it means that the United States must and will, sooner or later, become either entirely a slaveholding nation, or entirely a free labor nation.”

William Henry Seward of New York uttered these words in 1858 regarding the continued crisis between Northern and Southern states over the issue of slavery and its possible extension into the new territories. The Civil War followed in 1860 with the election of the pro-labor Republican president, Abraham Lincoln. But, was this conflict inevitable? Or can one argue that it was instead caused by accident, or by a series of “contingent” events? Or could it have been avoided and the result of a “Bungling Generation?” These are the questions regarding the causes of the Civil War that historians have wrestled with. You must write an essay on this topic of irrepressible or not.

  • This paper is worth 20% of the course grade.
  • The length of the paper should be 5-6 pages (approximately 1500-1700 words not including citations).
  • The paper must be typed in Times New Roman 12-point font and double-spaced.
  • You must provide at least 4 outside sources (besides the Henretta or Johnson texts), one of which must be a primary source.
  • All sources must be correctly cited using the Chicago Manual of Style. You must also provide a separate Bibliography at the end of your paper.

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