Life in The North After The Civil War Lesson Plan

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

Consider using this lesson plan to introduce students to what life was like in the North after the Civil War. A group role playing activity is included to help students examine the changes in the North and their lasting impact on America.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • identify and describe how the culture, economy, and political climate of the North changed after the Civil War
  • describe the impact of the Morrill Act, Reconstruction, and the Fifteenth Amendment on the North following the Civil War


1-2 hours

Curriculum Standards


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.


  • Ask students to brainstorm how they think life in the North changed after the Civil War. Record their answers.
  • Play the lesson, Life in the North After the Civil War, pausing at 2:44.
  • Have students discuss the following questions:
    • How was industry further stimulated in the North as a result of Reconstruction?
    • What impact did the Morrill Act have on the education and industry in the North?
    • How did the economy of the North change after the Civil War?
  • Finish playing the lesson, and have students discuss the following questions:
    • How was the fight for civil rights for African Americans different in the North than the South?
    • How did the 15th Amendment affect life for African Americans in the North?
    • What impact did migration after the Civil War have on the North?
  • Revisit the list students created at the beginning of the lesson and add to or clarify the information listed.
  • To assess mastery of the lesson's concepts, have students complete the lesson quiz.

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