Effects of the U.S. Civil War Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson plan is a tool for helping students learn about the effects of the American Civil War. Students will answer questions about a text and summarize the economic, political, and societal impact.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion, students will be able to:

  • Summarize the economic, political, and societal impacts of war.
  • Analyze how the U.S. changed from before and after the war.


90 minutes

Common Core Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.


  • agricultural sector
  • Antebellum South
  • Emancipation Proclamation
  • Freedmen's Bureau
  • Fugitive Slave Act
  • mecca
  • Missouri Compromise of 1820
  • Reconstruction
  • secession
  • transcontinental
  • writ of habeas corpus


  • Copies of the quiz
  • Copies of the lesson
  • Access to research materials
  • Paper
  • Pens
  • Chart paper
  • Markers

Video & Discussion Questions

  • Pre-teach vocabulary words to students.
  • Hand-out the transcript of the lesson for students to take notes and follow along.
  • Watch The American Civil War's Impact on the Economy, Society, Politics & Government.
  • Pause at 3:41, and discuss:
    • What are some economic advantages the Northern states had that the Southern states did not?
    • What is the Missouri Compromise of 1820?
    • What is the Fugitive Slave Act?
    • What is the writ of habeas corpus?
    • What legislation was enacted to secure America's economic future after the Civil War?
    • What happened on April 9, 1864 to end the Civil War?
  • Play the remainder of the video.
    • Describe the Emancipation Proclamation.
    • Describe racial tension in the North and the South following the war.
    • What was the Freedmen's Bureau?
    • What happened to the plantations after the war?
  • Pass out the printable worksheet. Have students complete the questions independently, then check the answers together.

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