School Improvement in Maryland

Lesson Seeds: The lesson seeds are ideas for the indicator/objective that can be used to build a lesson. Lesson seeds are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are they substitutes for instruction.

Standard 1.0 Political Science

Topic C. Protecting Rights and Maintaining Order

Indicator 2. Explain how the United States government protected or failed to protect the rights of individuals and groups

Objective a. Describe significance and effects of the Emancipation Proclamation

Facilitate a historical investigation on the Emancipation Proclamation and Abraham Lincoln’s role in ending slavery:

First, engage students by having the full class view the lithograph "Emancipation of the Slaves", which was published in 1862 after President Abraham Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. In full class discussion, ask the students to first describe what they see in the picture, and then identify the artist’s purpose, which was to portray Lincoln as a great emancipator. Tell the class that today, they will conduct an investigation to decide whether or not the lithograph’s portrayals of Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation are accurate. As needed, pose the focus question, “Did issuing the Emancipation Proclamation make Abraham Lincoln a great liberator?” In full class discussion, ask students to provide examples of sources or types of sources (both primary and secondary) they would consult to find out. Tell students that you have assembled some sources for them to analyze, and provide students with graphic organizers to help them maintain their focus on the purpose of the investigation as they analyze each of the sources.

Begin the investigation by providing the students with a copy of the actual Emancipation Proclamation, accompanied by a transcript as necessary. Have groups of students read through the document to discern its major provisions. Then, have the students explain in writing or in full-class discussion whether the actual provisions of the Emancipation Proclamation are consistent with the way Lincoln is portrayed in the lithograph (or have them explain how they feel the Proclamation sheds light on the answer to the focus question).

Next, have the students investigate a variety of other primary sources for the purpose of determining whether issuing the Emancipation Proclamation made Lincoln a great liberator. Sources for students to analyze might include:

*Please note that although there are many sources teachers might select that would be appropriate for this investigation, it is important to provide students with a variety of conflicting perspectives on Lincoln and the effects of the Emancipation Proclamation.

When students have completed their investigation of the documents, have them redesign the lithograph they viewed at the beginning of the lesson, and justify their redesign in writing.

Resources for Objective 1.C.2.a:
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