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 d. Identify the goals, resources and strategies of the North and the South

To help students understand the goals and resources of the Union and Confederacy in waging the Civil War, have students read primary sources authored by United States President Abraham Lincoln and Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Pose the following focus question for both sources: According to this source, what does the President hope to achieve through the war? Have students read Lincoln’s letter to Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, dated August 22, 1862 and the last four sentences of Davis’ speech to the Confederate Congress on April 29, 1861, found at http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/csa_m042961.asp . Ask students to consider how each side’s goals impacted their war effort. Which goal do you think was more inspirational and more powerfully motivated people to fight?

Have students create a series of bar graphs that illustrate the disparity in Northern and Southern resources in 1861. You may use the following statistics (Source: Davidson, et al., Nation of Nations: A Narrative History of the American Republic, Boston, 1998, page 519), or find your own:

  North South
Total Population 22,300,000 9,100,000
White Males 18-45 years old 4,600,000 1,100,000
Value of manufactured goods $1,730,000,000 $156,000,000
Railroad mileage 22,000 9,000
Corn and wheat production (bushels) 698,000,000 314,000,000

Ask students to consider how the goals of the North and South and the disparity in resources might have impacted the strategies of each side. Did the disparity in resources make it impossible for the South to win? What impact might the different goals of the North and South have on their abilities to fight and win a long, difficult war?

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