By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

(1) Analyze how the Civil War influenced the physical and cultural geography of the city - east and west of the Anacostia River. 

(2) Identify cultural, political, and economic influences on the changing city plans of the city of Washington. 


12.DC.6. Students describe and explain the effect of mid-19th-century efforts to abolish slavery. 

12.DC.7. Students describe the effect the Civil War had on life in Washington, DC, and they explain the effects of Compensated Emancipation and the Emancipation Proclamation on the city.

4. Explain the participation of white and black residents in the Union and Confederate armies.

5. Explain how the city responded to the problems that accompanied the sudden surge of population (e.g., soldiers and escaping slaves).

6. Describe the emancipation by compensation of slaves owned by residents of Washington, DC, and the emancipation of slaves in the Confederacy.

 12.DC.8. Students describe the era of Reconstruction in Washington, DC.


Resources provided here for you to use as necessary with your class.  For those who need them, handouts are available for most sections.  For others, you might want to project sources on a board for class discussion.  Do what works best with your students.

Appropriate handouts and worksheets are attached to each section of the lesson plan.  You will also need a class set of Melder's City of Magnificent Intentions

Warm Up

L'Enfant-McMillan Plan of Washington, DC - 1857
Source: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/hh/item/dc0776.sheet.00007a/

1. This is an expansion of the original city plan.  Why would city leaders need to revise or create a new plan for the city?

2.  Locate and shade the area “East of the River.”  Why does this 1857 city plan not include Anacostia and Congress Heights?

3.  How do you think the Civil War (1861-1865) changed the city of Washington?  Do you think its population grew or shrank?  Why or why not?

Lesson 2 - Warm-Up

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New Material

Read pages 157 - 163 in the textbook, City of Magnificent Intentions.

Questions for students to answer are attached in an accompanyting worksheet.

 This may work best as a read aloud with the students.  The information is fairly straight-forward and can provide an opportunity to discuss questions rather than have them search for the answers.

As this lesson plan is designed for the beginning of the school year, this miht be an appropriate time to discuss both active reading and the appropriate use of secondary sources. 

Pontoon Bridge
Creator: Russell, Andrew J.
Source: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2004677102/
Date: July 1863

Lesson 2 - New Material

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Population Schedule: 1870 Census

 You will want to use the following links to find suitable pages for student research.  This is digitized microfilm of the 1870 population schedules for Ward 7, Washington, DC.

 If students have access to a computer in your classroom, give them this link and have them do the digging.  That's half the fun of being a historian. 


Read Online:  http://archive.org/stream/populationschedu0126unit#page/n0/mode/2up

L'Enfant-McMillan Plan of Washington, DC - 1884
Source: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/dc0776.sheet.00012a/

Lesson 2 - Practice

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1870 Census - Blank

A blank copy of a sheet used to collect data during the 1870 Census. As part of this lesson plan is a study of the results of the census, this may be of interest to your students.

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Creator: Ancestry.com


Assignment:  You are a Union soldier in Washington, DC around 1865.  The war is over and you are thinking about staying in the city after the war.  Write a letter home encouraging your family to join you in this new life in the city.  Be honest.  There are still some difficulties in life in the city, but tell them how much it has changed since you passed through at the beginning of the war.

Lesson 2 - Assessment

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Closure and Reflection

Choose one piece of evidence from today's lesson that helps answer the following question:

 How has the presence of the Anacostia River influences settlement "East of the River"?

 For your chosen piece of evidence, write:

1) A Brief Description

2) Where the source can be found

3) How does this evidence help answer the question?