The Point of No Return

The Coming of the U.S. Civil War

Crossing the Rubicon!

Drawing the Line in the Sand!

Break the kettles and sink the boats!

History is full of these fateful moments at which there was no turning back from the course of events about to unfold. The U.S. Civil War is no exception to this rule. However, in this activity, you must determine exactly which event marked the point of no return for the Civil War. In other words, at what point was the Civil War inevitable? As you complete this activity, you will contemplate the various events that led to the Civil War and chose just one to defend. Thus, your focusing question is:


Considering the era between 1840 and the start of the war in 1861, what event marked the point of no return for the Civil War?

Step 1: Review and consider the following events...

As you review these events, you should complete this graphic organizer thoroughly and thoughtfully. Chapter 13 in your textbook will prove helpful in this endeavor! (You must be logged into your SJS account to view the graphic organizer--you will be prompted to make a copy.)

Or choose your own 'wildcard' event!

Step 2: Select Your Point of No Return

This event will be the focus of your argument. Research it and build a strong case to support your point of no return, using both primary and secondary sources.

Step 3: Refute an Alternative Point of No Return

Consider what event others might argue is the point of no return, a counterargument if you will. How can you refute this counterargument? Why is it not the event that actually plunged the U.S. into war?

Step 4: Create a Smore

You will present your argument (and refute a counterargument) in a Smore flyer. You should provide a concise but thorough explanation of your argument. Be sure to reference and fully analyze relevant primary and secondary source information in your argument. You should do the same as your refute the counterarugment.


Given that your work will be viewed by all of your classmates, you should construct as convincing an argument as possible. And, you should strive to take full advantage of the features of Smore to present your argument in the most visually compelling way possible. Finally, you should cite your sources by including URLs alongside their corresponding images and full Chicago-style citations for the sources of your information at the end of the flyer. Visit the Chicago Manual of Style for citation help.

Step 5: Share and View Our Work

Please share your completed Smore flyer with your classmates via the Google Docs below by 3:35 on 11/27/11/28, as assigned by your teacher. You will be given time to view and debate each other's work, much like real historians would do. You also will be given a handout to complete as you do this final step.

Mrs. Sloan's Google Doc

Mr. Soliman's B Carrier Google Doc and F Carrier Google Doc