This Day in History
Experts make a lot of money (and get a lot of attention) predicting the outcome of events – such as football games, horse races, and presidential elections. It’s a process commonly known as handicapping, and they do it by examining all of the data about two sides, both tangible and intangible, and using that information to develop an educated guess about the result of a contest. Even though we know the result of the Civil War, it doesn’t hurt to look at the two sides before the war begins to see the strengths and weaknesses of each side. To do so, complete “Handicapping the Civil War” using the resources below.
- Strengths and Weaknesses: North vs. South – a decent intro from USHistory.org
- On the Eve of the Civil War PDF from your fave 8th grade AmStud history guy
- Strategies, Advantages, and Disadvantages for the North and South from an awesome SS teacher, Ms. Kathan in Charleston
ADVANTAGES OF THE NORTH AND SOUTH from Flemington Raritan SD
- Civil War Facts from the National Park Service
- and any other search you can complete to fill in some blanks
Looking for some info on the strategy of both sides on the even of the war? Check out Civil War Strategy for more info to add to your notes.
Then … make a claim! What does all of this info mean? We will see how the war evolves, based on your predictions.
Ready to show what you know, young Civil War historians? You will have a 20 minute quiz on Wednesday/Thursday concerning the targets below:
I can use perspective to explain how events between the Compromise of 1850 and the Election of 1860 led to the secession of southern states.
I can explain varying interpretations of the long term causes of the Civil War and evaluate the importance of slavery as a principal cause of the conflict.
What should you study? Simple – The Edge of the Precipice notes and reading, Why the Civil War activity, and the ideas presented in the “WHY SECEDE?” intro from Doc and Taft. (Basically – why did seven Southern states secede?)
Think there will be a big section on the election of 1860? Yes, there will. Guaranteed because it’s THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION IN AMERICAN HISTORY (hand slam)!
Here are a bunch of awesome resources if you need more info – great stuff online about the coming of the Civil War!
And … here is a tired tired Taft babbling his way through a review (I do like to talk about this stuff!) IGNORE THE REFERENCES TO TIMES IN CLASS AND THE DIFFERENT ROLES – THAT WAS FROM LAST YEAR!
After the election of Abraham Lincoln (THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION IN AMERICAN HISTORY), seven sates seceded from the United States and created their own country – the Confederate States of America.
Why did they secede? And … what caused the Civil War?
You will examine the primary sources (THROUGH THEIR EYES) in Doc’s class by looking at actual secession statements, and it seems pretty cut and dry, doesn’t it? However, with all of that information still available, historians have debated over the years about the exact causes of the Civil War. Believe it or not, there is a big question that is prominent in the news today.
What do the historians say? Your task is to read some brief statements from historians in the Why the Civil War? activity and examine their varying opinions. It’s a collection of statements about different historical perspectives on the coming of the war. Read each carefully, underline up to eight (8) important words, and summarize each selection in ONE TO THREE WORDS and ONE COMPLETE SENTENCE. Do the historians agree with the documents? The assignment is much easier (and more fun) if you complete it with a partner. Yup – that means talk about it!
And then … watch these …
Hopefully you are understanding the challenges of the time, and realize that the nation is teetering on the “Edge of the Precipice”. You can review today’s activities and continue moving forward with some statements by using the reading from class and some of the following resources:
The Compromise of 1850 and Fugitive Slave Act
The Kansas Nebraska Act –
PLEASE CHECK OUT THE FOLLOWING ISSUES AND MAKE A STATEMENT FOR EACH!
The Dred Scott Decision
The Lincoln Douglas Debates
an overview from VOA / Harpers Ferry from PBS / an overview and video from the John Brown Wax Museum – an NHD video – yikes! / John Brown Raid.org – with a hanging reenactment?
The Election of 1860
Edge of the Precipice 2017
The United States was teetering on “the edge of the precipice” in 1850, dangerously close to the division of the country and an uncertain future, less than 100 years after independence. The country didn’t fall right away … but what happened to push the nation off the edge and into the abyss of the Civil War? That’s our next activity.
Prepare for our next class by reading and annotating the first two issues in “The Edge of the Precipice”. You can interact with the text, come up with questions, and start thinking about the role these two issues played in the coming of the Civil War.
Want more on the Compromise of 1850 and Fugitive Slave Act? Check out …
How did the movement to end slavery begin? What were some of the ideas and methods of the major abolitionists? What was the impact of the abolition movement? All good questions, right? To get an overview of the abolition movement and to lead into our next class activity …
Check out The Abolitionist Movement from the History Channel , What obstacles did Abolitionists face? from Eric Foner, and David Blight on racism in the abolitionist movement. This should give you an idea of the basics of the movement.
In addition, your task is to check out the individual abolitionist that you have been assigned. Why did that person oppose slavery? What did they do in their opposition? What challenges did they face? What was the impact of the movement?
After you prepare your background information, post your picture and a brief statement about your impact on the Abolitionist Bulletin Board (check AHR!) for your social gathering. Before the gathering, check out what other abolitionists have done, and start thinking about who you will connect with at the gathering. Check out the example for Lewis Tappan on the boards.
“Slaves ‘naturally’ resisted their enslavement because slavery was fundamentally unnatural.” Franklin W. Wright
NOTE – Please view and read with maturity and respect, as there are mature ideas and derogatory terms in the primary materials of the time.
How did enslaved persons respond to their life in bondage? It’s one of the most common questions asked by students – so let’s see if we can find some answers. Check out the first part of Anti-Slavery Resistance Movement from Boundless, Slave Resistance from the National Humanities Center and Slave Resistance and Revolts from Digital History to find out how enslaved people responded to their situation. The videos below also discuss various forms of resistance.
One of the most commonly studied forms of resistance was the Underground Railroad, which extended into Wisconsin and is commemorated downtown with the story of Joshua Glover. Scholastic has a great site called “The Underground Railroad – Escape from Slavery”. Take a look at the sections called “Escape!” and “Reaching Safety” to get a better idea about what the trip was like and what happened once the runaways made it to the North. Finally, make sure you read over the “Myths of the Underground Railroad” .
Resistance could be a great narrow topic for a Found Poem – right? If you want, take careful notes, pull out some power lines, and develop a great collection for your creative display of understanding about this dark yet powerful aspect of America’s story.
Use the techniques we discussed and modeled in class to examine the additional visuals concerning the growth of slavery in the US during the antebellum era. The necessary visuals are in the presentation below (maximize for the best use) and also this set of documents. When you are done, you can check your responses with the key.
By Monday of next week, you should also take the online visual analysis quiz, which will serve as your target assessment for “I can analyze graphical information to successfully extract information and make accurate observations. ” If you don’t do well the first time, double check it and do it again!
After checking out Thinking Like a Historian – The Growing Nation and watching some of the super cool videos available about the early 1800s, it’s time to respond to the million dollar question – WHY DOES IT MATTER?
You can present your analysis in any format of your choice, digital or not. You don’t have to do a board game or play for this one, as it is not a huge target display. Your goal is to offer an general overview or choose some specific topics from the past and explain how they matter today with some actual evidence, and possibly some links that support your assertion.
Possible specific topics to consider
Washington’s Presidency – not examined in class, but wide open
The Louisiana Purchase
American and Foreign Policy – general or specific – The War of 1812, the Monroe Doctrine
The Growth of Democracy
The Age of Jackson – general or specific topics (done mostly on video)
Economic Growth, The Market Economy, technology and transportation
Social Growth (or lack thereof) of a certain group – women, workers, immigrants
Geographic Expansion – in general, or a specific topic
Manifest Destiny, the Texan Revolution, the Mexican War … even the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Cultural Growth (art, literature) and Reform Movements – not examined in class, but wide open
Topics that are off limits
Political parties – that’s Taft’s example
Slavery – that’s coming up
You can add your response to this documents or provide a digital version on Google Classroom. There are a few more links available online for assistance with the era.
Here’s a brief example for the first political parties – take a gander:
I would expect more than one topic, but you can’t do everything from the time period!