Instead of having a discussion post this unit, I am asking you to write a paper (worth fifty points) using the following sources:
Texas Declaration of Causes, 1861 (Links to an external site.)
Unionism – Handbook of Texas (Links to an external site.)
In 1850s and 1860s, Texans divided over whether or not to remain in the Union. There were two main sides to this argument; some argued the best way to preserve Texas was to secede, while others argued that Unionism was the better position. In this paper, you will examine both sides, using information from lectures, discussion, the textbook, and the sources above. The paper will have 5 paragraphs and needs specific information from the above sources. In this way, you can demonstrate understanding of what people were thinking at the time. The paper will also give you an opportunity to analyze their reasoning and determine for yourself which position you would have chosen at that time.
Structure your paper in this fashion:
First paragraph – Context: introduce your paper by explaining why secession became a possibility. What issue(s) of the time led to this discussion? Be sure to use specific data from the class to explain the atmosphere at the time.
Second paragraph: What was the Unionist position? Why would someone choose to be Unionist? Provide at least two reasons for doing so with evidence from the class. You can also do this by mentioning at least two different groups who remained Unionist, explaining why each group would stay.
Third paragraph: What was the secessionist position? Provide at least two reasons why would some Texans prefer to leave the Union? Be sure to use the sources above as your main point of reference, but remember that you get more points for specificity- and for more reasons given!
Fourth paragraph: Which argument, in your opinion, was the stronger of the two? What would you have done when the state called for a vote on secession? Why? Explain why you preferred one argument as well as why the other argument seemed weaker to you. (Note: “that side is stupid” is not a valid argument; you need to explain why a given side is wrong, ill-informed, etc.)
Conclusion: what happened as a result of this discussion? What impact did the discussion have on Texas, the Confederacy, and the United States?
The paper should be long enough to answer the questions posed in each paragraph thoroughly, so it will be at least a page and a half. Remember that points will be assigned based on weight of information and analysis. Keep in mind I do grade on grammar, spelling, and formatting. Regarding citations, I accept both MLA and Turabian/Chicago. Be sure to provide a Works Cited page and cite appropriately to avoid questions of plagiarism! (The Writing Center can help with all these things and has online appointments.)
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