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 c. Explain why the 1860 election led to the secession of the southern states

On December 24, 1860, South Carolina issued its “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union,” ( which outlined its reasons for seceding at that time. Have students read the last six paragraphs of this document, guided by the following focus question: What happened to prompt South Carolina to choose that time to secede?

To analyze the sectional nature of the Election of 1860, first have students review the platforms of each of the four parties: Republican (, Northern Democrat (, Southern Democrat (, and Constitutional Union (

Divide the class into four groups and have each group analyze one platform, deciding whether this platform would appeal more to Northerners, Southerners, or Border States/Neutral Persons. It may be helpful to excerpt key provisions, especially those concerning slavery. Have each group report their findings to the class, and clarify each platform. Using a transparency of a map of the United States around 1860, have the class predict which party would win each region – North, South, and Border States – using their prior knowledge of the economies and societies of each region. Next, have students use the results of the election ( to color maps of the United States in 1860 according to the election results. Students should assign a different color to each of the four parties and color in each state according to which party won the most votes there (for example:,_1860). Do they see any patterns? Were their predictions accurate? Were there any surprises?

Resources for Objective 5.C.5.c:
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