Audiovisual Presentation—Civil War Point of Contention

Choose one of the points of contention below and prepare a brief multimedia presentation of at least six slides to show why the issue was controversial and how it inflamed sectional tensions in the pre–Civil War period.

  • Protective tariff
  • Abolitionism
  • Extension of slavery
  • Popular sobereignty
  • Fugitive slave law
  • Dred Scott decision
  • States’ rights
  • “Free Soil” movement
  • Know-Nothing party
  • Immigration


A PowerPoint presentation is the preferred format for this assignment. Students who do not have access to PowerPoint may post their presentation as a Word document or as a PDF. The audio portion of your presentation should be at least five minutes in length and can be done using Jing or by recording using the PowerPoint voice recording capabilities.

Because this is an audio-visual presentation instead of an essay focused only on writing, you are expected to incorporate a relevant primary source image into your presentation. Images such as political cartoons, paintings, or photographs that were created in the time period being studied are considered valuable primary sources. The Library of Congress can assist you with citing your primary source:

  • Please do not insert Clip Art into your presentation; you should only be inserting properly captioned primary source images into your presentation.
  • For a refresher on primary sources, please see the lecture from Week 1 titled “Primary and Secondary Sources.”

Steps to Success

  1. Complete all of the textbook and lecture readings for Week 3.
  2. Choose one of the points of contention from the list on the right.
  3. Research the point of contention. Be sure to find information on both sides of the point of contention, as well as a primary source image to include in your presentation.
  4. Create the PowerPoint presentation. Your presentation should be at least six slides long, and include the slides listed below. Add additional slides if your presentation begins to be cluttered with information or images. You may use bullet points in your presentation. You do not need to include full sentences, but you are expected to use proper capitalization and spelling.
  5. Record the audio portion of your presentation. You may wish to draft a narrative to read in the presentation. Your audio recording should supplement the information on the slides, not directly read the slides.

Slide 1: Include a title page that introduces your point of contention.
Slide 2: Explain the point of contention in your own words.
Slides 3 and 4 (or more): Expand on both sides of the point of contention. Include at least one slide on each side’s viewpoint. Be sure to explain how the point of contention inflamed sectional tensions prior to the Civil War.
Slide 5: Include a primary source image related to the era or the point of contention. Be sure to include an explanation of what the source is, what it represents, and how it is related to the point of contention you have chosen.
Slide 6: Your final slide will contain a complete references section in MLA format including a citation for your primary source image.

  1. Save your presentation as a PowerPoint file. If you do not have Microsoft PowerPoint you may use Microsoft Word or PDF. Name your file HIS1010_W3A2_LastName. If you are using a Jing Video, please post the URL to the Jing screencast.
  2. Ensure that your presentation uses proper grammar/language, punctuation, and syntax, and all research sources are cited using proper MLA format.
  3. Review the audio component to your presentation to ensure that it is clear and can be easily heard.

Submit your presentation as an attachment in Microsoft PowerPoint or Jing Screencast format to the W3: Assignment 2 Dropbox.

Grading Criteria
Maximum Points
Presents information on a Civil War point of contention in a well-organized PowerPoint presentation of six or more slides.
Demonstrates understanding of the selected point of contention through detailed analysis and explanation and selection of a primary source image in the presentation.
Audio presentation complements and enhances the presentation by providing additional examples and explanation of the effects of the point of contention.
Presentation includes a five-minute audio presentation that is clear and audible.
Supports ideas and demonstrates understanding with textual, visual, and/or oral references and examples. Where relevant, uses proper MLA citation format and style.
Employs correct and standard college-level English grammar, mechanics, spelling, punctuation and sentence structure, appropriate logic and voice, and MLA manuscript formatting.
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