Union States during the Civil War Lesson for Kids

Lesson Transcript
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.

During the American Civil War, the country was divided into the Union and the Confederacy. Each side had their own unique beliefs and characteristics. In this lesson, you will learn about the Union states. Updated: 06/08/2020

Union States: Civil War Period

Have you ever watched a football game between two rival teams that really don't like each other? When you watch them play on the field, it's almost like they're going to war against each other to win the game.

During the Civil War, states that were once part of the same country, the Union and the Confederacy, fought each other, mainly over differences related to the practice of slavery. It was a bitter conflict that played out not on a sports field, but on the battlefield.

The Union consisted of those states that chose to stay a part of the United States when the Confederacy formed their own republic. They were led by the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Most of the Union states were located in the north, while most of the Confederate states were located in the south.

The states that made up the Union included:

  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
  • Massachusetts
  • Connecticut
  • Rhode Island
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • Ohio
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Wisconsin
  • Minnesota
  • Kansas
  • California
  • Nevada
  • Oregon

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  • 0:04 Union States
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Border States

In addition to these 20 states, the following five states are often considered to be part of the Union:

  • West Virginia
  • Kentucky
  • Missouri
  • Delaware
  • Maryland

These five states were called border states because they formed the boundary between the Union (north) and Confederacy (south). While they remained in the Union, they held some different views about slavery, which were similar to those found in the southern states.

For example, Kentucky, Missouri, Delaware, and Maryland all continued to practice slavery in different parts of their states. On the other hand, the state of West Virginia became its own state during the Civil War when the western part of Virginia decided to outlaw slavery and left the Confederacy to join the Union.

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