Students will be introduced to the causes of the Civil War by looking at an interactive power presentation.  They will then look at primary source documents from Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass and determine the role slavery had in the beginnings of the Civil War.


8.10.3. Identify the various leaders of the abolitionist movement (Frederick Douglass and the slave narratives.)

CCR Standards: 1. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.

CCR Standards: 7. Integrate visual information with other information in print and digital texts.


Lincoln and Douglass Speeches

Also included is the url for the presentation on the causes of the Civil War from curriculum pathways that will be used to introduce the lesson.

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Warm Up

Image of slaves picking cotton
Students will come into class and then analyze the image.  They will be directed to write down two questions based on the image they have.  Ex. What are the ages of the blacks working in the field?  Are these blacks slaves?Whole class discussion will follow.

New Material

Students will be introduced to the lesson by watching the presentation on the causes of the Civil War.  I will address questions students may have about the presentation.  I will then have the students write on dry erase boards what they think were the causes of the war based on what they saw.  This will be an independent activity.  After having the kids show there responses by raising them in the air, I will take this as an opportunity to correct any misinformation.  Following this activity, students will then work in pairs to look at the speeches by both Lincoln and Douglass.  After reading both speeches,  the pairs will complete a graphic organizer.


Students will work in pairs to complete the primary source analysis tool. 

Primary Source Analysis Tool

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For homework, students will write an essay on Lincoln and Douglass' thoughts on the causes of the Civil War. 

Closure and Reflection

In a short journal writing activity, students will write about how race in America indirectly or directly led to the Civil War.  This will allow students to connect to the previous lesson and help provide backgroud knowledge for the next lesson.
At the end of the unit, students would go on a one day trip to Lincoln's Cottage and the Frederick Douglass home.  Both visits should enhance the unit by allowing the students to feel connected to the material being covered.