Login
Copyright

Causes of the Civil War Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Don't be daunted by your instruction on the causes of the Civil War! Study.com has simplified the process with the help of two fact-filled video lessons and an eye-opening group activity for students.

Learning Objectives:

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

  • name the political parties and candidates involved in the election of 1860
  • explain the Battle of Fort Sumter and its implications
  • outline the causative factors that led to the Civil War

Length

45 minutes to 1 hour

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.3

Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.4

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.

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.5

Analyze how a text uses structure to emphasize key points or advance an explanation or analysis.

Key Vocabulary

  • Southern Democrats
  • Northern Democrats
  • Constitutional Union Party
  • Republicans

Instructions

  • Begin by telling students that it is 1860, and they are potential voters in that year's election.
  • Now divide the students into four groups: the Southern Democrats, the Northern Democrats, the Constitutional Union Party, and the Republicans.
  • Now show the Study.com video lesson The Election of 1860: Definition, Summary, Candidates & Significance, pausing at 1:37.
  • Ask the groups to work together to list the name of their candidate along with his stance on the issue of slavery. Now have the groups share their information with the class and predict a winner of the election.
  • Play the video lesson, pausing at 4:41.
  • Did they predict that Lincoln would win? If not, who? Have students consider Lincoln's win. Discuss:
    • How would the other groups have felt?
    • What kind of problems might arise from the differences in regards to slavery?
    • Which group might have the biggest issue with Lincoln's win?
  • Play the remainder of the video lesson. Discuss, if necessary.
  • Play the entire Study.com video lesson The Battle of Fort Sumter & the Start of the Civil War.
  • Ask students to return to their four groups.
  • Using the information gleaned from the two video lessons, have each group list three potential causes of the Civil War.
  • When all groups have listed three potential causes for the Civil War, have them present them to class as you write them on the board for discussion. Does everyone agree on these causes? Which group, if any, was justified in their actions?

Discussion Questions

  • How could the Civil War have been prevented?
  • What might have occurred if the Battle of Fort Sumter had not taken place?
  • How different might our lives be today if Abraham Lincoln did not win the election of 1860?

Extensions

  • Have students research and report on the battle of Fort Sumter in greater detail, including key figures and pivotal moments.
  • Show the students one of the many cinematic interpretations of the Civil War. How do the events shown in the film match up with their list of causes of the war?

Related Lessons

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Loading...
Filtered by: {{subject.name}}   {{level.name}}   {{goal.name}}   Clear All Filters
Courses: {{pfc.courses.length}}
Support