While it may seem a long time ago in the formative history of the United States, but the American Civil War (1861 to 1865) didnt just change the course of American history, but it has ramifications even in the modern day. This is what makes it not just an interesting chapter of history to learn, but an important one in understanding the complexities of the United States of America. There’s A LOT to cover with the Civil War, so here are suggestions of how to go about teaching it.
See the fact file below for more information on the American Civil War Curriculum or alternatively, you can download our 10-page American Civil War Curriculum worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Where to start
- Like all things in history, the Civil War did not occur in a vacuum.
- The fundamentals of the Civil War lie in the issue of slavery and in states’ rights.
- Let’s start with slavery…
- In order to understand the course and impact of a war, one needs to understand its historical context.
- You can begin with the issue of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade wherein millions of Africans were transported from their homeland to work as slaves in the New World.
- Over time, and with the influence of the Industrial Revolution reaching America, the North developed an industrial economy, wherein machinery replaced the labour of people, while the South had an agricultural economy, and cheap/slave labour formed its backbone. Slavery was also not just about the plantation system, but had significant social, economic, religious, and political facets.
- The calls of abolition of slavery were heard in Europe before they gained momentum in the US, thus, although importation of slaves had significantly reduced, there was still a huge population of slaves in the US whose numbers were being bolstered by children being born into slavery.
- Second to that, when the Civil War finally broke out, the issue of slavery became central to the war: Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was as much a war tactic against the South and to bolster its troops, as it was a moral act of liberation for slaves.
- The South’s refusal to end slavery also acted against it when its European export partners could not support trade with the South when they had banned slavery in their own countries.
- Then there’s the issue of states’ rights, which sat at the heart of slavery: As a consequence of the Revolutionary War and the US Constitution, the US wanted to avoid consolidation of political power, such that it could never be ruled in the manner of Britain ruling it ever again. To that end, states’ rights are the powers of state governments rather than the federal government.
- These powers are listed in the Constitution and detail federal powers, powers shared by the state, and reserved powers (states’ rights) that only the states possess.
- Now, zooming in on the build up to the Civil War, the United States was expanding to the west and admitting more states to the union. The problem was, that some wanted to be slave states, others wanted to be free states, while others still sat on the fence as border states. This added further fuel to the fire that was the Electoral College system, as the North was growing much faster than the South. The South believed that if more states were admitted as free states, that they’d have less Electoral College clout. It was such a contentious issue that it resulted in a tragic event in history – Bleeding Kansas.
- Ultimately, compromises didn’t work, ideologies remained starkly at odds, slave states seceded to create the Confederacy, anti-slavery Lincoln was elected in 1860, and, on April 12, 1861, the Civil War broke out.
American Civil War Curriculum Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the American Civil War Curriculum across 10 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use American Civil War Curriculum worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the American Civil War Curriculum. While it may seem a long time ago in the formative history of the United States, but the American Civil War (1861 to 1865) didnt just change the course of American history, but it has ramifications even in the modern day. This is what makes it not just an interesting chapter of history to learn, but an important one in understanding the complexities of the United States of America. There’s A LOT to cover with the Civil War, so here are suggestions of how to go about teaching it.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Teaching the American Civil War
- Lesson Plan Template
- Suggested Worksheets
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the main causes of the Civil War?
There were four primary reasons for the Civil War: disagreements over slavery, state vs. federal rights, the election of Abraham Lincoln, and economic conditions. The last reason, economic conditions, were made worse by Lincoln’s 1861 inauguration. After his inauguration, the South seceded and then started the war with the Battle at Fort Sumter.
Was the Civil War caused by slavery?
Professional historians largely agree that slavery and the treatment of African Americans were central to the crisis that caused the American Civil War.
How did the American civil war start?
On April 12, 1861, some people in the South attacked Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. The Union surrendered less than 34 hours later. This event is traditionally used to mark the beginning of the Civil War.
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Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.