Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War
Site Support Notebook
Lessons below are from www.edsitement.neh.gov
Grades K–2: The President’s Roles and Responsibilities: Communicating with the President
In order to become informed participants in a democracy, students must learn about the women and men who make decisions concerning their lives, their country and the world. The president of the United States is one such leader. As a nation, we place no greater responsibility on any one individual than we do on the president. Through these lessons, students learn about the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. president and their own roles as citizens of a democracy.
Grades 3–5: We Must Not Be Enemies: Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address
Students will understand the historical context and significance of Lincoln’s inaugural address through archival documents such as campaign posters, sheet music, vintage photographs and documents.
Grades 6–8: African-American Communities in the North Before the Civil War
What was life like in three free African-American communities between the American Revolution and the Civil War? What generalizations can be made about life in the North for African Americans? In this lesson, students will tour and/or read about some important free African-American communities in the North before the Civil War.
Grades 6–8: People and Places in the North and South
Grades 6–8: Factory vs. Plantation in the North and South
How did the United States arrive at a point at which the South seceded and some families were so fractured that brother fought brother? After completing the lessons in the above two units, students will be able to list three differences and three similarities between life in the North and the South in the years before the Civil War and discuss how these differences contributed to disagreements between the North and South.
Grades 9–12: Attitudes Towards Emancipation
The objectives are to evaluate the provisions of the Emancipation Proclamation; to trace the stages that led to Lincoln’s formulation of this policy; to explore the range of contemporary public opinion on the issue of emancipation; to document the multifaceted significance of the Emancipation Proclamation within the context of the Civil War era.
Grades 9–12: Abraham Lincoln on the American Union: “A Word Fitly Spoken”
This unit explores the political thought of Abraham Lincoln on the subject of American union. Students will examine Lincoln’s three most famous speeches—the Gettysburg Address and the First and Second Inaugural Addresses—in addition to a little known fragment on the Constitution, union and liberty to see what they say regarding the significance of union to the prospects for American self-government.
Grades 9–12: Lincoln Goes to War
This lesson plan explores the decision-making process that precipitated the Civil War, focusing on deliberations within the Lincoln administration that led to the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in April 1861. The objectives are to learn about the secession crisis of 1861 and the significance of the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter; to explore how Abraham Lincoln made the decision to secure Fort Sumter despite Confederate objections; to evaluate the extent to which Lincoln’s actions were calculated to provoke conflict; and to gain experience in working with official papers, private correspondence and public speeches as resources for historical study.
Grades 9–12: The American Civil War: A “Terrible Swift Sword”
This curriculum unit will introduce students to several important questions pertaining to the war. In the first, they will examine original documents and statistics in an attempt to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each side at the start of the conflict. The second addresses the two turning points of the war—the concurrent battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg—as well as the morality of the Union’s use of “total war” tactics against the population of the South. Finally, in the third lesson students will examine a series of case studies in Abraham Lincoln’s wartime leadership; by using primary sources they will be asked to assess whether, based on his performance during his first term of office, he deserved a second.
Other curriculum materials on the Web:
Classroom Connections: Civil War Poetry – Linking Literature to Primary Sources
Resources and ideas to guide you in teaching with Civil War poetry.
Grades 7–12: Abraham Lincoln’s Crossroads: “Lincoln: The Constitution & the Civil War”
Abraham Lincoln’s Crossroads is a classroom activity designed to support the National Constitution Center’s online game. The game invites students to learn about Lincoln’s leadership by exploring the political choices he made.
The Lincoln Bicentennial Commission offers a comprehensive list of lesson plans appropriate for grades K–12.
A Web site directed towards primary school children created by Loogootee Elementary School West, Loogootee, Indiana. Features pictures and some very thoughtful and age-appropriate classroom activities.
Grades 4–6: Due Process Freedoms—Does the Constitution Protect Your Right to Fair Play?
Students first read about what due process means. Then they are involved in a problem-solving activity that raises questions about who should have the right to a lawyer in a criminal case. The lesson ends with a discussion of the importance of the right to due process in criminal proceedings, as well as a discussion of other situations in which the right to due process applies.
Civil War lesson plan with a good annotated list of fiction and biography about the era.
This unit provides resources for students in the 5th through 8th grade to focus on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. Lessons are based Russell Freedman’s 1988 Newbery Medal winner, Lincoln: A Photobiography.
Grades 6–8: The Civil War through a Child’s Eye
Students will learn to differentiate between primary and secondary source materials as they explore perspectives of the Civil War; understand multiple perspectives of the Civil War through the use of historical fiction; analyze and interpret images from the Library of Congress American Memory collections; make inferences about how children were affected by the Civil War; and create a literary portrait that conveys a child’s perspective of the Civil War era.
Grades 9–12: Teaching with Documents: Letters, Telegrams, and Photographs Illustrating Factors that Affected the Civil War
Documents held by the National Archives can aid in the understanding of the factors that influenced the eventual outcome of the War Between the States. The activities in this lesson engage students in reproductions of original documents and photographs as well as sound recordings, to help students gain an increased understanding of the Civil War era.
Grades 9–12: President and War Powers: Lincoln and the Civil War—The Lincoln I Knew
This activity allows students to research Abraham Lincoln from the perspective of his contemporaries, providing insight into Lincoln’s character. Students will also compare current views of Lincoln to past interpretations.