Create A Scoring Rubric For An Essay Exam

Create A Scoring Rubric For An Essay Exam




The United States civil war was arguably one of the most monumental occurrences in the history of the country. The war took place between 1861 and 1865 and resulted in more than 618,000 casualties. There exists quite a number of explanations as to why the war occurred or took place in the first place. However, it is obvious that the civil war’s causes may be traced back to the tensions that had formed quite early in the history of the nation. Varied scholars have taken it upon themselves to explain the causes of the War that pitted the various American states against each other. Sectional tension that was enshrined in the constitution led to a brutal war that cleaved the United States into two. Many have floated the idea that slavery was one of the primary causes of the conflict. At the end of the war, the Thirteenth Amendment eliminated the practice but race relations went on dominating the American politics, as well as the society in the following days. Scholars have the opinion that, the civil war had a silver lining or some impressive results in the form of increased economic power of the nation up to the time when it rivaled and even surpassed that of many countries. In addition, Americans gained a new sense of brotherhood and a sense of being components of one nation rather than a conglomerate of states with distinct histories and institutions. As much as there is agreement as to the result of the American civil war, there is relative variation as to opinions on the causes or triggers of the Civil War.

One of the most touted causes of civil war is the social and economic variation between the South and the North. After the cotton gin had been invented in 1793, the profitability of cotton increased tremendously. The machine reduced the time taken to separate cotton from the seeds (Elkins, 1987). It is worth noting, however, the increased number of plantations that were to be converted to cotton from other crops meant an increase in the demand for cheap labor, which was in the form of slaves. In essence, the southern economy evolved into a single crop economy (Elkins, 1987). The northern economy, on the other hand, was primarily industrial rather than agricultural. It goes without saying that these two different modes of production brought about differences as far as the economic situation in the North and the South was concerned. The economic disparity between the North and the South brought about a key variation in their economic attitudes (Elkins, 1987).

Other scholars opine that the civil war was triggered by the struggle between the federal and state rights. After the Revolution, there emerged two camps. One camp wanted the control by the federal government to be increased whereas the other group wanted the state to have enhanced control. The constitutional convention came up with the United States’ Constitution, after the federal government was seen as weak (Craven, 1957). However, strong proponents of increased control of the States such as Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson were absent at the convention. It is worth noting that, many people felt that the new constitution did not pay attention or any regard to the rights of the states as far as acting independently was concerned. They opined that states should incorporate certain rights to decide whether they were willing to ramify certain federal acts (Craven, 1957). This led to the idea on nullification, in which case states had the right to render the acts of the federal government unconstitutional. The nullification did not work, and states felt that their rights were not respected in which case they wanted secession (Craven, 1957).

In addition, the war was triggered by the fight pitting nonslave state and slave proponents. There was the contention on whether new states that were admitted into the union had to be slave free (Jaffa, 2009). The Missouri Compromise that was passed in 1820 had a rule that barred slavery in the states of the former Lousiana Purchase. Apart from the issue on slavery, there was the contention over the Kansas-Nebraska Act made in 1854. This act established new territories and allowed the states to decide on whether to be free or encourage slavery through popular sovereignty. It is worth noting that Kansas stood against slavery while Missouri supported slavery (Jaffa, 2009). Missourians moved to the state trying to force it to be a slave state. This triggered violence in Lawrence Kansas with a fight even erupting in the floor of the senate where Charles Sumner, an antislavery proponent, was beaten by South Carolina’s Preston Brooks. This tension between proslavery states and antislavery states led to the civil war as every state tried to establish its authority on this matter (Jaffa, 2009).

In addition, scholars opine that the growth and development of the abolition movement. It is worth noting that the Northerners had grown increasingly polarized against slavery. There was an increase in sympathies for people fighting against slaveholders and slavery, as well as abolitionists (Litwack, 1961). This took place especially after some key events such as the passage and enactment of the Fugitive Slave Act. This piece of legislation held people responsible for housing or harboring fugitive slaves even in cases where they were situated in states that were nonslaves. This tension created by this piece of legislation and the increased sympathies for abolitionists and against slaveholders and slavery in general resulted in violence among states (Litwack, 1961).

There are also scholars who believe that the election of Abraham Lincoln as president in 1860 triggered the civil war. It is worth noting that, after his election, South Carolina issued what was called “the Declaration of the Causes of Secession”. This state believed that Abraham Lincoln was favoring the interests of the North and was against slavery (Zarefsky, 1990). In addition, it is worth noting that prior to Abraham’s election as president, about seven states had separated or seceded from the union. These were Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas and South Carolina. This triggered tension between the states that were for the election of Abraham Lincoln and those that were against it (Zarefsky, 1990).

As much as there were variations in the probable causes of the American Civil War, it goes without saying that the key or primary cause was the issue of slavery. Scholars have varied causes that they believed as having triggered the civil war, but it is evident that they had a common denominator in slavery.

However, it is evident that there were variations in the things that triggered the tension. For some, it was the variation in economic between varied states, whereas others had a problem with the election of Abraham Lincoln. In some cases, it was the variation between the state control and the position of the federal government as far as governing is concerned.

Rubric Template

This rubric template attempts to outline the performance of the varied schools of thought as to the causes of the American Civil war. It measures the performance of the proponents using an essential criterion for the task, as well as performance levels. These are represented using the numbers 1 to 4, with 1 representing poor performance, 2 for satisfactory, 3 for good and 4 for excellent.

Analytical Scoring Rubric

1= poor 2= satisfactory3= good4=excellent

Aspects Criteria (Descriptions of Scoring Levels) Score

Editorial Aspect 1:

Thinking and inquiry. Provides a clear focus of the project. States clearly the motivation behind the cause. 4

Attention-grabbing right from the start. Description of a clear purpose behind the theory or cause Provides a clear connection to affirming or adding diversity. Editorial Aspect 2:


The paper has a clear beginning, middle and an end 3

It is easy to see the connections to affirming the theory. The relationship between the class topic and the theory presented is clear. It is not confusing and is understandable to all. Editorial Aspect 3:


There is a clear authenticity and distinctiveness of effort. 3

It is thought-provoking. It triggers an emotional response. It offers strong “otherness” expression. Editorial Aspect 4:

Knowledge and understanding

Thorough research that goes beyond the class lecture. 4

The presentation is effective and imaginative and effective passing the message to the reader. The paper covers all the questions and presumed assumptions of the reader.

The paper shows how the assumptions made and the perceptions may have been altered. Content Aspect 1:


All punctuation, grammar and spelling have been done correctly. 2

The paper is typed, well formatted and numbered appropriately. The paper is neatly presented. The subject-verb agreement is taken into consideration. Content Aspect 2:


The paper clearly indicated how the ideas presented may affect future lessons. 4

The paper is open and honest to the varied ideas presented. The paper demonstrated a deep and clear understanding of history using accurate and relevant detail to support the main idea. The paper is centered around a thesis that exhibits a highly developed awareness of the social and histographic issues, as well as a high conceptual capability. Content Aspect 3:

Communication The paper shows depth of historical understanding through the incorporation of accurate and relevant detail to support the main idea. 3

The paper has a clear analytical structure with a precise thesis statement. The flow of the paper captures the attention of the reader with a clear line of development. All the possible questions of the reader are clearly answered in the paper. Content Aspect 4:

Grammar and format The rules of the grammar, word usage, spelling and punctuation are in line with the formal, written work. 2

The text, reference pages and the title page are entirely in line with the APA format. All information and ideas from outside sources is appropriately cited in the text. The pages in the paper are appropriately numbered. References

Jaffa, HV (2009). Crisis of the House Divided: An Interpretation of the Issues in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, 50th Anniversary Edition. New York: Chicago University Press

Elkins, SM, (1987). Slavery: A Problem in American Institutional and Intellectual Life. New York: Chicago University Press

Craven, AO (1957). The Coming of the Civil War. New York: Chicago University Press

Litwack, LF (1961). North of Slavery: The Negro in the Free States. New York: Chicago University Press

Zarefsky, D (1990). Lincoln, Douglas, and Slavery: In the Crucible of Public Debate. New York: Chicago University Press

(Zarefsky, 1990) (Litwack, 1961) (Craven, 1957) (Elkins, 1987) (Jaffa, 2009)