Unit Plan

The goal of this unit is for students to understand the imperfections that lie within the foundation and infrastructure of the United States in the nineteenth century. The students will discover how the government and its people were effected, providing the necessary background for students to truly understand the events leading up to the Civil War.

By the end of the unit, students will reach the following Big Ideas:

  • Cultural, economic, and constitutional differences between the North and the South eventually resulted in the Civil War.
  • The South feared that the North would take control of Congress, and Southerners began to proclaim states’ rights as a means of self-protection.
  • The North believed that the nation was a union that could not be divided.
  • While the Civil War did not begin as a war to abolish slavery, issues surrounding slavery deeply divided the nation.
  • Southern states that were dependent upon labor-intensive cash crops seceded from the Union. Northernmost slave states (border states) and Free states stayed in the Union.

This unit includes a variety of student-led activities where the students can discover the main concepts of this unit through discovery-based learning. By integrating primary sources, the students can analyze the material in order to make their own assumptions for what the causes of the war might be. Additionally, many of the activities for this unit utilize a variety of websites and applications so reach students with various learning styles.