The presidency of Andrew Jackson is typically associated with the American expansionism that furthered our democracy, but often at a high cost to Native American cultures. Could similar outcomes have been achieved differently? Historians debate whether the Civil War could have been avoided, why attempts to avert war failed, and which individuals had the greatest potential ability to divert the nation's path away from violent conflict. This book examines these historical questions regarding the unfolding of American history through an introduction to carefully edited primary documents relevant to the period, from the inauguration of President Andrew Jackson through that of Abraham Lincoln.These documents include not only major state papers from the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, but also primary sources that directly communicate the concerns of African Americans, women, and Native Americans of the period. Important themes include the rising controversy over slavery, American expansionism, and attempts to avert crises through compromise. High school and college students and patrons of public libraries seeking to better understand American history will profit from the introductions and annotations that accompany the primary documents in this book-invaluable resources that put the information into context and explain terms and language that have become outdated.