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 5.0 History

Topic C. Conflict between Ideas and Institutions

Indicator 5. Analyze factors affecting the outcome of the Civil War

Objective a. Analyze government policies regarding slavery, such as the three-fifths clause, the Missouri Compromise (1820) and the Compromise of 1850

To illustrate the nature of a compromise, explain to students an excessive homework assignment to do. Give students a chance to react. Ask students to tell you what, if they had their way, they would want as a homework assignment. At this point, students should not be proposing a compromise but should be stating their ideal. Then, tell students that you are willing to compromise. Ask students to define “compromise” and then offer you a compromise proposal. Negotiate with students until you come up with a compromise to which you both agree. Evaluate the experience. Ask students to think about the benefits of a compromise (both sides get some of what they want, it diffuses tension) and the disadvantages of a compromise (neither side is completely happy, the underlying issues may still remain).

Explore the causes and provisions of the Compromise of 1850. Explain to students that the compromise was controversial, and that each element met with opposition from different portions of Congress. Henry Clay was regarded as the compromise’s originator. John C. Calhoun, on the other hand, opposed the compromise. Have students read portions of Clay’s speech before Congress of February 6, 1850 and Calhoun’s speech of March 4, 1850 (6th to last paragraph beginning “Having now, senators, explained what it is that endangers the Union, and traced it to its cause, and explained its nature and character, the question again recurs, How can the Union be saved?” -- Ask students to consider which Senator they agree with. Was repeated compromise the best course of action, or would it have been better to confront the issues straight on?

Resources for Objective 5.C.5.a:
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