Nuts and Bolts:
Because of the scope of the cumulative question, and analysis required for an effective answer, I am providing you with the question in advance to allow you time to consider it. This is not a take-home exam question in the traditional sense, however. That is, you should simply prepare your ideas in your mind in advance, but not prepare them formally on paper in advance. Thus, you will not turn in your answer to the cumulative question, but write them in your bluebook out of your head on exam day.
Also: Be sure that the events you select below are actually events. That is, they should be definable moments in time with a specific date attached to them (e.g., slavery, the Transportation Revolution, sectional tension are not events).
I will re-print the question on your final exam itself, of course.
Don't forget your greenbooks!
Name the four events (no more, no less than four) prior to South Carolina's capture of Fort Sumter that you believe were most critical in paving the way for the Civil War. Describe those events in chronological sequence (while also giving their precise dates, of course), clarifying how each successive event heightened sectional tension. Be sure to defend your answers carefully (for example, why do you believe they were more critical in building toward the Civil War than other events which historians cite as increasing sectional tensions), provide good supporting detail for your four events, and fully explain the context for and consequences of those events (i.e., what came before, after, and/or during that event to make it so significant). You should also be careful to portray this increasing sectional tension over a broad span of time.
Finally, address two fundamental questions about the importance of the Civil War. First, do you believe that the Civil War was inevitable- why or why not (explain that fully as well)? Second, did Black Reconstruction fulfill the mission and/or goals the Civil War sought to achieve with its tragic bloodshed (provide a few specific details to illustrate your points here as well)?