John Brown and the Election of 1860

Critical Thinking Questions

Why would Americans view the Compromise of 1850 as a final solution to the sectional controversy that began with the Wilmot Proviso in 1846?

If you were a proslavery advocate, how would you feel about the platform of the newly formed Republican Party?

Based on the text of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, what was the position of the Republican Party in 1858? Was the Republican Party an abolitionist party? Why or why not?

John Brown is often described as a terrorist. Do you agree with this description? Why or why not? What attributes might make him fit this profile?

Was it possible to save American democracy in 1860? What steps might have been taken to maintain unity? Why do you think these steps were not taken?