Divided We Stand essay

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Divided We Stand

Create a word processing document titled “Divided We Stand.” In it, respond to the following prompts. Be sure to structure your responses as complete paragraphs or to follow the directions for creating a chart.

Prompt 1:

The article we will use for this activity is a little dated now (referencing the 2000 presidential election), but the division between Democrat and Republican, “liberal” and “conservative” doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. The election in 2000 brought up many issues with voting and the electorate that resonate loudly today. A very contentious election ending in deep divides? Sound familiar? Think about the most recent or upcoming presidential or mid-term election. Create a table with “Issues” in one column, then the two major parties, or two key candidates in the next two columns. For each issue you can identify, what is the position of the parties or candidates? Is there agreement or overlap on any issues?

Prompt 2:

Read the article “If At First You Don’t Secede,” which appeared in The New York Times on November 27, 2000. Think about the timing of the article. As you read, respond to the following questions by adding the questions and your answers to your document:

  • What is secession, and why is it discussed in this article, which is mainly about the 2000 presidential election?
  • Why was the permanence of the Union a central issue in American life before the Civil War?
  • What reason did the Northern manifesto give for advocating secession?
  • What arguments does the writer, Peter Applebome, offer in favor of dividing the country?
  • What is meant by the term “cultural divide”?
  • According to the article, what issues are most important to George Bush’s supporters? What issues are most important to Al Gore’s supporters?

Prompt 3:

Considering other contentious events in U.S. history mentioned in the article, choose one war and one election to research further. Possible topics are:



Cleveland v. Harrison 1892 Civil War
Jefferson v. Adams 1800 Korean War
Hayes v. Tilden 1876 Vietnam war

As you research your chosen topics, answer the following questions:

  1. What significant events lead up to this conflict?
  2. What were the main issues that separate the American people during this conflict?
  3. What were the results of this conflict, during the time period that this event occurred and afterwards?
  4. How does this conflict still echo in American society today?

Write a one-page response for each of the topics you selected. Be sure to cover all the questions and to list your resources in a Works Cited page at the end. This should be part of the “Divided We Stand” document. Submit the document when you are finished with Prompt 3.

Credits: Lesson modified from:

Brown, Kim and Zimbalist, Alison. “Divided We Stand.” The Learning Network: Teaching and Learning with the New York Times. 2005. Web.

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