By the end of this session, students will be able to:

· Discuss the rise of the Republican Party and its replacement by sectional alignment.

· Give reasons for the southern secession and the outbreak of war.

· Assess the leadership of Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis.

· Discuss Lincoln’s decision to make emancipation a war aim and the significance of it.

· Describe the meaning of the war for African Americans.

· Describe the experiences of the homefront in the Union and the Confederacy.

· Evaluate the reasons for the Confederacy’s defeat.


Read Chapter 15 in American: Past and Present by Robert Divine and view the chapter 15 PowerPoint.


Helpful Web sites:

Abraham Lincoln 

Civil War 1 

Civil War 2 

Civil War 3 

Civil War 4 

Civil War 5 

Harper’s Weekly 



A. Read Chapter 15 in American: Past and Present by Robert Divine and answer the following questions.

1. What were the southern arguments for secession?

2. What conditions made the civil war a prolonged, bloody conflict instead of a brief skirmish?

3. Describe the effects of the war on the “home front” in both the north and south.

4. What were the advantages and disadvantages that both the north and south enjoyed?

5. Why was a northern victory inevitable?

B. Read the hyperlinked article and respond to one of the questions.

Brother vs. Brother

-Based on the letters between the brothers, was reconciliation possible?

-What were the core differences between the two brothers?

-To what extent where the cities in which each brother resided, Boston and Baltimore, to blame for their differences?


C. Gettysburg Movie Review

View the movie Gettysburg and answer the questions listed below. There are no real right answers. Rather I want to see how you interpret various portions of the movie.

1. Describe the historical relevance of five of the movie characters (for example Lee, Longstreet, Chamberlain, Buford, etc.) Who were they and what happened to them after the battle of Gettysburg?

2. Cites examples that might indicate the civil war was unpopular?

3. What were the reasons given by a captured confederate soldier for why he joined the confederate army to fight?

4. A very important moment in the movie occurs when a runaway slave finds his way into the Union lines. How would you characterize the conversation between Colonel Chamberlain and the Irish Sergeant on the issue of slavery? Why did they decide to fight?

5. What reasons might explain the presence of a British military observer in the Army of Northern Virginia?

6. On the night after the first day of battle, a number of confederate officers are explaining to the British observer the reasons behind succession. How would you describe the reasons given?

7. What sort of difficulties did soldiers in both armies labor under? (for example conditions related to supplies, weather, tactics of officers, personalities, etc.)

8. How would you characterize the conversation, on the morning of the second of the battle, between General Longstreet and the British military observer?

9. Describe the “trap” discussed by General Lee. How does this “trap” relate to Lee’s current situation (morning of day 2 of the battle)?

10. What role did the battle of Gettysburg play in the civil war?

For more information on the battle of Gettysburg, click here here, here, and here. 


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