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Lesson Plans for Study of Abraham Lincoln



Overview:

The world has been fascinated with Abraham Lincoln for over a century. No doubt this is primarily a result of his leadership during the Civil War--the greatest crisis in American history. This war, which threatened to tear the Union in two, could have been the beginning of the end of democratic government on Earth. But Lincoln, the small-town country lawyer from Americaís heartland, stepped forward to not only save the nation, but to also accomplish what no one else had been able to do--abolish slavery.

Today, we esteem Lincoln as a leader of faith, integrity, and determination. We recognize him as one who fought his way up to the highest office of the landóand did so without the benefit of wealth or formal education. We value his state papers, speeches, and letters as eloquent testimony of statesmanship and noble character. For decades since Lincolnís death, people have acknowledged that his life is an excellent example of what determination, faith, and industry can accomplish in America.

We offer two free lesson plans on the study of the life and writings of Abraham Lincoln, for grades 6-8 and grades 9-12:

Lesson Plan for Study of Abraham Lincolnís Life, Speeches & Writings

Appropriate for Grades 6-8

StudyWeb

Overview:

The world has been fascinated with Abraham Lincoln for over a century. No doubt this is primarily a result of his leadership during the Civil War--the greatest crisis in American history. This war, which threatened to tear the Union in two, could have been the beginning of the end of democratic government on Earth. But Lincoln, the small-town country lawyer from Americaís heartland, stepped forward to not only save the nation, but to also accomplish what no one else had been able to do--abolish slavery.

Today, we esteem Lincoln as a leader of faith, integrity, and determination. We recognize him as one who fought his way up to the highest office of the landóand did so without the benefit of wealth or formal education. We value his state papers, speeches, and letters as eloquent testimony of statesmanship and noble character. For decades since Lincolnís death, people have acknowledged that his life is an excellent example of what determination, faith, and industry can accomplish in America.

Purpose:

The purpose of this lesson is twofold: 1) learn basic information about Abraham Lincolnís life, and 2) read what he said and wrote about democracy, faith in God, and freedom. These objectives will be accomplished by reading a short biography (30 pages) of Lincoln and then reading selected excerpts of some of his most famous speeches, state papers, and letters. Although all of the material is contained in one book, Lincoln on God and Country by Gordon Leidner, (156 pages, White Mane Publishers, Shippensburg, PA, available August 2000); supplemental material that can be accessed on the Internet is also documented for those educators that want to provide students with additional information.

Order Leidner's Lincoln on God and Country Now

Objectives:

The students will be able to:

  1. Understand the basic facts of Lincolnís life and how his lifeís experiences influenced his faith in God and his beliefs about freedom and democracy.
  2. Understand how Lincoln became a great leader in spite of the disadvantages of poverty and lack of a formal public education.
  3. Understand the meaning and intentions of some of Lincolnís most famous speeches, state papers, and letters.
  4. Understand how Lincolnís religious beliefs and outlook on freedom changed as he matured.

Activities:

  1. Students will read the short biography and selected speeches writings of Lincoln in order to become acquainted with his life and beliefs. They will answer questions on the reading assignments.
  2. Students will write letters to Lincoln, asking him questions and expressing their own opinions about various subjects. They will write articles about him, acting as if they are newspaper reporters that are describing the events of Lincolnís life.
  3. Students will use the Internet to visit places that Lincoln lived and sites that help them develop a better appreciation for Lincolnís world.
  4. Students will use online resources such as greatamericanhistory.comís "Outline of the Civil War" and abrahamlincoln.ccís "Timeline of Lincolnís Life," both with hotlinks, to find in-depth answers to questions about Lincoln and the issues that he faced.

Resources/Materials Needed:

The book Lincoln on God and Country by Gordon Leidner serves as a single-source textbook. The internet site "Great American History" (greatamericanhistory.com) offers supplemental information and resource tools. In the event that Leidnerís book is not accessible, other Lincoln history books and books of Lincoln quotations can be adapted by the teacher, but it should be noted that the lessons assume the student has access to Leidnerís book.

Note: for this lesson plan, grades 6-8, not all of Lincolnís speeches and writings in Lincoln on God and Country are used. Only a limited amount of speeches and writings are read by the student (referenced as Quote no. 1, page 102, etc.ówhich refers to the endnote number of each quotation). The Lesson Plan for grades 9-12 uses the entire set of speeches and writings in Lincoln on God and Country.

Assignment 1:

Objective:

Introduce the student to Lincoln and his youth.

Reading assignment:

  1. In Lincoln on God and Country (LGC) textóread the Preface (vi-viii) and "Youth," pp. 3-6.
  2. A>)years 1809-1831 to find websites on Lincolnís youth. Also, go to "Abraham Lincoln Online" (http://www.netins .net/showcase/creative/lincoln/education/edbio.htm). Review the content of these sites and familiarize yourself with information available on Lincolnís life.

Chapter 1 (Biography) Questions:

  1. What state was Lincoln born in? How long did he live in the state of his birth?
  2. What state did his parents move to next? Why did they move?
  3. What did Lincolnís parents think of slavery?
  4. What happened to Lincolnís mother? How old was Lincoln when this happened?
  5. How much education did Lincoln receive in school? Where, instead of public school, did Lincoln receive most of his education?
  6. What was the main book Lincoln learned from? What were some other books Lincoln read?
  7. What church did the Lincolns attend in Indiana?
  8. What did Lincoln enjoy doing most?
  9. When the Lincoln family decided to leave Indiana, what state did they move to?
  10. How old was Lincoln when he moved away from his family?

For further reading:

Lincolnís Youth: Indiana Years by Louis A. Warren.

Writing Assignment:

  1. You are a friend of Abe Lincolnís when he was young, and are visiting with him for a few weeks in Indiana. Write a letter to your parents describing some of your experiences while living with the Lincolns.

Assignment 2: Years 1831-1841

Objective:

Learn about Lincolnís life as a young man in New Salem, his experiences in the Illinois State Legislature, and what some of his early beliefs were about freedom, American government, and the American people.

Reading Assignment:

  1. LGC textó"Young Legislator" pp. 6-11; Lincolnís Speeches and Writings, Chapter 2 pp. 44-45 (quotes 7 and 8); Chapter 3 pp. 49-50 (quotes 10-13).
  2. Use Timeline at abrahamlincoln.cc to visit websites for years 1831-1841.

Chapter 1 (Biography) Questions:

  1. Where was New Salem, Illinois? (it is now a State Parkófind it on a map or via the Internet) How big was the village when Lincoln lived there?
  2. What jobs did Lincoln work at when living in New Salem?
  3. What did Lincoln study while living in New Salem?
  4. What happened when Lincoln ran for the state legislature the first time?
  5. What did Lincoln think about religion when living in New Salem?
  6. What happened the second time Lincoln ran for the state legislature? How many terms did he serve?
  7. Describe one important thing Lincoln accomplished while in the Illinois State Legislature.
  8. Who did Lincoln marry? Where was she from?
  9. What political party did Lincoln belong to when living in New Salem?
  10. What was Lincolnís second job while he was working in the state legislature?

Speeches and Writings Questions:

  1. What did Lincoln say had kept the American government together?
  2. What document did Lincoln say his political feelings sprang from?
  3. What did Lincoln say was the "leading object of government?"

For further reading:

Lincolnís New Salem by Benjamin P. Thomas.

Writing Assignment:

  1. You are a resident of New Salem, Illinois. Write a letter to a friend, telling them about what life is like there.
  2. You are a newspaper reporter that has been given the assignment of reporting about the political accomplishments of Abraham Lincoln.

Assignment 3: Years 1841-1854

Objective:

Learn about Lincolnís life in Springfield, as a lawyer and congressman. Learn what attitudes he developed towards his law career and politics.

Reading Assignment:

  1. LGC textó"Midlife," pp. 13-16. Lincolnís Speeches and Writings, Chapter 4 pp. 53-55 (quotes 5 thru 8); Chapter 5 pp.62-65 (quotes 4 thru 6).
  2. Internetóuse the Timeline at abrahamlincoln.cc to visit websites for years 1841-1854

Chapter 1 (Biography) Questions:

  1. Who were Lincolnís three law partners?
  2. How did Lincoln talk and act towards juries?
  3. What did Lincolnís democratic opponent for congress claim about Lincolnís religious beliefs?
  4. What did Lincoln do while in the US Congress that angered the people from his home district?
  5. What did Lincoln try to do about slavery when he was a congressman?
  6. What was the Eighth Judicial Circuit of Illinois?
  7. What were the names of Lincolnís four children? What happened to their second son?

Speeches and Writings Questions:

  1. In Lincolnís letter to his lazy stepbrother, why did Lincoln say he didnít want to loan him money?
  2. When talking about his confidence in American government in 1854, what did Lincoln say was the difference between American government and preceding governments?
  3. In Lincolnís notes for a law lecture, what did he say about honesty?

For further reading:

A. Lincoln, Prairie Lawyer by John J. Duff; Lincoln Runs for Congress by Donald W. Riddle.

Writing Assignment:

  1. You are a lawyer friend of Lincolnís, traveling with him on the Illinois Eighth Judicial Circuit. Write a letter to a friend of yours in Indiana, describing what life is like and what you and Lincoln do in the courtroom.
  2. You are one of the people living in Springfield, Illinois, that Congressman Lincoln represents in the US Congress in the years 1847-1849. Write to Congressman Lincoln in Washington, telling him what you think about slavery and asking him what he plans to do about it.

Assignment 4: Years 1854-1860

Objective:

Learn about Lincolnís life during his re-emergence into politics in the 1850s and development as a national spokesman against slavery. Become acquainted with some of his more important speeches and statements against slavery.

Reading assignment:

  1. LGC textó"Spokesman," pp. 18-22. Chapter 6, pages 72-73 (quote 4); pp. 86-88 (quotes 27-31)
  2. Internetóuse Outline at abrahamlincoln.cc to visit websites for years 1854-1860. Also, review Outline of the Civil War from greatamericanhistory.com, II. Political and Social Catalysts for the War. (http://members.tripod.com /~greatamericanhistory/gr02006.htm#[II])

Chapter 1 (Biography) Questions:

  1. What was the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and what did it accomplish?
  2. What was the Kansas-Nebraska Act and what effect did it have on people like Lincoln?
  3. Who developed Popular Sovereignty? What did Popular Sovereignty say?
  4. What did the Supreme Courtís Dred Scott decision say? Was it good or bad for the antislavery movement?
  5. Did Stephen A. Douglas support the Dred Scott decision? Did Abraham Lincoln?
  6. How many times did Lincoln and Douglas debate each other in the Great Debates?
  7. What did Lincoln think the primary moral issue of those days was?
  8. Did Stephen A. Douglas think that the writers of the Declaration took into consideration the black race when they said "all men are created equal?" Did Abraham Lincoln think they did?
  9. Who won the senate race between Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln?
  10. Why did Lincoln have an advantage over his political opponents in the 1860 presidential election?
  11. What did the political platform that Lincoln won election to the presidency say?
  12. What did the southern states do as a result of Lincoln winning the presidency?

Speeches and Writings Questions:

    1. What does Lincoln say about the rights of black people in his Peoria, Illinois speech of 1854?
    2. What did Lincoln think would be a good idea to try on those people arguing in favor of slavery?
    3. What were the two definitions of liberty Lincoln said existed in his day?

For further reading:

Prelude to Greatness by Don E. Fehrenbacher, California.

Writing assignment:

  1. You are a newspaper reporter that just heard Lincolnís speech in Peoria, Illinois, in October of 1854. Write an article that describes what Lincoln said about slavery for your newspaper.
  2. You are an abolitionist from Massachussetts that is thinking about supporting Lincoln for the presidential election in 1860. Ask him the important questions that you would like to have answers to before you decide if you will vote for him.

Assignment 5: Years 1861-1863

Objective:

Learn about Lincolnís life during his first two years as president and development as an effective leader in his effort to preserve the Union. Become acquainted with some of his more important speeches and statements about leadership.

Reading assignment:

  1. LGC textó"The Leader," pp. 22-28. Chapter 7, pp. 92-93 (quotes 9-10); pp. 97-98 (quote 19); 99-100 (quotes 22 and 23)
  2. Internetóuse Outline at abrahamlincoln.cc to visit websites for years 1861-1863. Also, review Outline of the Civil War from greatamericanhistory.com, IIIB. Abraham Lincoln: (http://members.tripod.com /~greatamericanhistory/gr02006.htm#[IIIB1])

Chapter 1 (Biography) Questions:

  1. What was the first major crisis Lincoln faced after taking office as president? What did he do about it?
  2. What was the result of Lincolnís call for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to put down the rebellion?
  3. What happened at the first battle of Manassas, Virginia? What were the results of that battle?
  4. What general did Lincoln put in charge of the Unionís Army of the Potomac after the battle of Manassas?
  5. What did Lincoln do to try to make up for his lack of knowledge of military strategy?
  6. What tragic event saddened Lincoln and his wife Mary in February, 1862?
  7. What was McClellanís main fault?
  8. What Union brigadier general captured two Confederate forts in Kentucky?
  9. What happened in the Seven Days Battles? What was the name of the Confederate general that took over command of the Southís eastern armies?
  10. What did Lee do after defeating General Pope at the battle of Second Manassas?
  11. What was the name of the famous black abolitionist that argued in favor of freeing the slaves and allowing blacks to become soldiers in the Union army?
  12. Why had Lincoln, up to the summer of 1862, been reluctant to free the slaves?
  13. Why did Lincoln decide to free the slaves?
  14. After what battle did Lincoln issue the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation? What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?
  15. What general did Lincoln replace McClellan with? What general came after him?

Speeches and Writings Questions:

    1. What did Lincoln say his "paramount struggle" was?
    2. In the Gettysburg Address, what did Lincoln say was the duty "of the living" to accomplish?
    3. Why did Lincoln say that he determined "slavery must die?"

For further reading:

The Inner Life of Abraham Lincoln by Francis Carpenter.

Writing assignment:

  1. You are a northern citizen that wants to write a letter to Lincoln in the Spring of 1862 and tell him how well you think he is doing as president. You may want to say something about his sonís death and how you feel about it, as well as how the armies are doing and what you think he should do about slavery.
  2. You are writing to a brother, father, or husband that is in the Union or Confederate Army. Tell them what you think of what they are doing and try to encourage them. Talk about your life at home without them.

Assignment 6: Years 1863-1865

Objective:

Learn about Lincolnís life the last 3 years of his presidency, his development as a respected statesman, and his faith in God. Become acquainted with some of his most famous speeches such as the Second Inaugural Address.

Reading Assignment:

  1. LGC textó"The Statesman," pp. 29-34. Chapter 8, p. 102 (quote 1); pp.107-108 (quote 13); pp. 112-114 (quote 24).
  2. Internetóuse Lincoln Timeline at abrahamlincoln.cc to visit websites for years 1863-1865; also, look at The Outline of the Civil War at greatamericanhistory.com under the subject of Abraham Lincoln.

Chapter 1 (Biography) Questions:

  1. What famous Confederate general died as a result of wounds sustained at the Battle of Chancellorsville?
  2. What did Lincoln do about soldiers sentenced to be shot for desertion?
  3. What Union general continued to win victories along the Mississippi River? What Confederate city surrendered to him on July 4, 1863?
  4. Who did Lincoln replace General Joseph Hooker with as commander of the Army of the Potomac?
  5. What famous battle in Pennsylvania ended on July 3, 1863? What was the outcome of this battle?
  6. After what battle did Lincoln bring General Grant eastward to take command of all Union armies?
  7. When Grant went east to command the Union armies, what Union general took command in the West? What Confederate general did he face?
  8. Who was Lincolnís opponent in the presidential election of 1864? What did Lincoln fear would happen if the Democrats won the presidency?
  9. What crucial military victory by William T. Sherman assured Lincoln victory in the presidential election of 1864?
  10. Who did most of the Union soldiers vote for in the 1864 presidential election? Why did they vote for him?
  11. How did the nature of the fighting between the armies under the command of Grant and Lee change in the summer of 1864, when they reached the Petersburg, Virginia area?
  12. What did Sherman and about 60,000 men of his army do after taking Atlanta in September, 1862?
  13. Who were the opposing commanders of Union and Confederate armies at the Battle of Nashville, Tennessee? What was the outcome of that battle?
  14. What was the outcome of Leeís attack on the Unionís Fort Stedman near Petersburg, Virginia? What did the Confederate government do on April 2, 1865?
  15. On what day did Lee surrender to Grant?
  16. What tragic event took place on April 14, 1865?
  17. Speeches and Writings Questions:

    1. Why did Lincoln say he "never joined a church?"
    2. In Lincolnís proclamation of a National Fast Day for March 30, 1863, why did he say the country was being punished by the "calamity of civil war?" What did he propose the people should do as a result of this?
    3. In Lincolnís Second Inaugural Address, how did Lincoln say God was punishing the country for slavery?

For further reading:

The Religion of Abraham Lincoln by William Wolf (originally entitled "The Almost Chosen People").

Writing Assignment:

  1. You recently heard President Lincoln present his Second Inaugural Address. Write a letter to your best friend, telling him or her what Lincoln said in this speech and what you think about it.
  2. As a resident of Washington, D. C., on the morning of April 15th, 1865, you heard the church bells polling in the morning and then found out that President Lincoln had died. Write a letter to your parents describing what had happened and how you feel about it.


Lesson Plan for Study of Abraham Lincolnís Life, Speeches & Writings

Appropriate for Grades 9-12

StudyWeb

Overview:

Americans have been fascinated with Abraham Lincoln for over a century. No doubt this is primarily a result of his leadership during the Civil War--the greatest crisis of our nation's history. This war, which threatened to tear the Union in two, could have been the beginning of the end of democratic government on Earth. But Lincoln, the uneducated country lawyer from Americaís heartland, stepped forward to not only save the nation, but to also accomplish what no one else had been able to do--abolish slavery.

We also esteem Lincoln as a leader of faith, integrity, and determination. We recognize him as one who fought his way up to the highest office of the landóand did so without the benefit of wealth or formal education. We value his state papers, speeches, and letters as eloquent testimony of statesmanship and noble character. For decades since Lincolnís death, people have acknowledged that his life is an excellent example of what determination, faith, and industry can accomplish in America.

Purpose:

The purpose of this lesson twofold: 1) learn basic information about Abraham Lincolnís life, and 2) read what he said and wrote about democracy, freedom, and faith in God. These objectives will be accomplished by reading a short biography (30 pages) of Lincoln and selected excerpts of some of his most famous speeches, state papers, and letters. Although all of the material is contained in one book, Lincoln on God and Country by Gordon Leidner, (156 pages, White Mane Publishers, Shippensburg, PA, Retail $19.95, available August 2000; go to www.abrahamlincoln.cc/lgcbook.htm )supplemental material that can be accessed on the Internet is also provided for those educators that want to give students access to additional information.

Objectives:

The student will be able to:

  1. Understand the basic facts of Lincolnís life and how his lifeís experiences influenced his beliefs about democratic government, freedom, and faith in God.
  2. Understand how Lincoln became a great leader in spite of the disadvantages of poverty and lack of a formal public education.
  3. Understand the meaning and intentions of some of Lincolnís most famous speeches.
  4. Understand how Lincolnís religious beliefs and outlook on freedom changed as he matured.

Activities:

  1. Students will read a short biography and selected speeches/writings of Lincoln in order to become aquainted with his life and thoughts.
  2. Students will answer questions about his life, speeches, and writings.
  3. Students will answer essay questions that seek an integral understanding of the basic facts about Lincolnís life and his speeches/writings.
  4. Students will use online resources to find in-depth answers to questions about Lincoln and the issues that he faced.

Resources/Materials Needed:

The book Lincoln on God and Country by Gordon Leidner serves as a single-source textbook. It contains a short biography of Lincoln (Chapter 1), Lincoln quotes (Chapters 2-8), plus introduction and closing chapters that provide interpretive material for the student. Each Lincoln quote in chapters 2-8 is introduced with a short editorial comment to provide the student with background and context. In the event that Leidnerís book is not accessible, other Lincoln history books and books of Lincoln quotations can be adapted by the teacher, but the lessons assume the student has access to Leidnerís book.

Also, supplemental information is provided by Internet sites such as "Great American History" (greatamericanhistory.com) and "Abraham Lincoln Online" (http://www.netins.net/showcase/creative/lincoln/education/edbio.htm).

Assignment 1:

Objective: Introduce the student to Lincolnís youth and the guiding principles of his life.

Reading assignment:

  1. In Lincoln on God and Country (LGC) textóread the Preface (vi-viii), Introduction (ix-xi) pp. 3-6 of Chapter 1, all of Chapter 2.
  2. Internetóuse the Abraham Lincoln Outline (abrahamlincoln.cc/timeline.htm) years 1809-1831 to find websites on Lincolnís youth. Also, go to Abraham Lincoln Online at http://www.netins.net/showcase/creative/lincoln/education/edbio.htm. Review the content of these sites and familiarize yourself with information available on Lincolnís life.

Chapter 1 (Biography) Questions:

  1. What state was Lincoln born in? How long did he live in the state of his birth?
  2. What state did his parents move to next? Why did they move?
  3. What did Lincolnís parents think of slavery?
  4. How much education did Lincoln receive in school? Where, instead of school, did Lincoln receive most of his education?
  5. What was the main book Lincoln learned from? What were some other books Lincoln read?
  6. What church did the Lincolns attend in Indiana?
  7. When the Lincoln family decided to leave Indiana, what state did they move to?
  8. How old was Lincoln when he moved away from his family?

Chapter 2 (Lincolnís speeches/writings) Questions:

  1. What did Lincoln believe the authors of the Declaration of Independence meant when they talked about the equality of men?
  2. How did Lincoln think the authors intended the Declaration of Independence to benefit future generations?
  3. What did Lincoln perceive to be the "real issue" in his debates with Stephen A. Douglas?
  4. What did Lincoln believe was the primary cause of Americaís "great prosperity?" Explain.

Essay Question:

How could Lincolnís personal experiences in his youth and as a young man have shaped his opinion about the nationsí founders and the Declaration of Independence?

For further reading:

Lincolnís Youth: Indiana Years by Louis A. Warren.

Herndonís Life of Lincoln by William H. Herndon.

Assignment 2:

Objective: Learn about Lincolnís life in New Salem, his experiences in the Illinois State Legislature, and what some of his early beliefs were about American government and the American people.

Reading Assignment:

  1. LGC textóChapter 1, pp. 6-13; Chapters 3 and 4.
  2. Use Timeline at abrahamlincoln.cc to visit websites for years 1831-1841.

Chapter 1 (Biography) Questions:

  1. What jobs did Lincoln work at when living in New Salem?
  2. What did Lincoln study while living in New Salem?
  3. What happened when Lincoln ran for the state legislature the first time?
  4. What did Lincoln think about religion when living in New Salem?
  5. What happened the second time Lincoln ran for the state legislature? How many terms did he serve?
  6. Describe one important thing Lincoln accomplished while in the Illinois State Legislature.
  7. Who did Lincoln marry? Where was she from?
  8. What political party did Lincoln belong to when living in New Salem?

Chapters 3 and 4 (Lincolnís speeches/writings) Questions:

  1. What did Lincoln perceive to be the only "real" threat to the survival of the national government? How did he propose the people guard against this threat?
  2. With whom did Lincoln believe the question as to whether or not the Union and liberties of the country would be preserved? Provide a quote of Lincolnís that demonstrates this belief.
  3. What did Lincoln believe were the primary duties of government? What did he think government should NOT do?
  4. Why did Lincoln believe the system of labor in New England was superior to slavery?

Essay Question:

Why did Lincoln believe the sovereignty of the Union had precedence over the sovereignty of the individual states? How did he justify his belief?

For further reading:

Lincolnís New Salem by Benjamin P. Thomas.

Lincolnís Preparation for Greatness: The Illinois Legislative Years by Paul Simon.

Assignment 3:

Objective: Learn about Lincolnís life in Springfield, as a lawyer and congressman. Learn what attitudes he developed towards his law career and politics.

Reading Assignment:

  1. Chapter 1, pp. 13-18; all of Chapter 5.
  2. Internetóuse Outline at abrahamlincoln.cc to visit websites for years 1841-1853.

Chapter 1 (Biography) Questions:

  1. Who were Lincolnís three law partners?
  2. How did Lincoln talk and act in front of juries?
  3. What did Lincolnís democratic opponent for congress claim about Lincolnís religious beliefs?
  4. What did Lincoln do while in the US Congress that angered the people from his home district?
  5. What did Lincoln try to do about slavery when he was a congressman?
  6. What was the Eighth Judicial Circuit of Illinois?
  7. What were the names of Lincolnís four children? What happened to their second son?

Chapter 5 (Lincolnís speeches/writings) Questions:

  1. Compare and contrast the political position Lincoln took between his first and third campaign for the Illinois State Legislature. Why were they so different?
  2. How could Lincolnís documented guidelines for Lawyers have served to make him a popular lawyer?
  3. What were two of Lincolnís methods of using humor to weaken his political opponentsí position?
  4. What did Lincoln mean when he talked about seeing two drunken men fight themselves out of their own coats and "into that of the other?" What was the political analogy?

Essay Question:

How did Lincolnís training and experiences as a lawyer help him in his political career?

For further reading:

A. Lincoln, Prairie Lawyer by John J. Duff.

Lincoln Runs for Congress by Donald W. Riddle.

Honorís Voice by Douglas L. Wilson.

Assignment 4:

Objective: Learn about Lincolnís life during his re-emergence into politics in the 1850s and development as a national spokesman against slavery. Become acquainted with some of his more important speeches and statements against slavery.

Reading assignment:

  1. LGC textóChapter 1, pp. 18-22; Chapter 6.
  2. Internetóuse Outline at abrahamlincoln.cc to visit websites for years 1854-1860. Also, review Outline of the Civil War from greatamericanhistory.com, II. Political and Social Catalysts for the War. (http://members.tripod.com/~greatamericanhistory/gr02006.htm#[II])

Chapter 1 (Biography) Questions:

  1. What was the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and what did it accomplish?
  2. What was the Kansas-Nebraska Act and what effect did it have on people like Lincoln?
  3. Who developed Popular Sovereignty? What did Popular Sovereignty say?
  4. What did the Supreme Courtís Dred Scott decision say? Was it good or bad for the antislavery movement?
  5. Did Stephen A. Douglas support the Dred Scott decision? Did Abraham Lincoln?
  6. What did Lincoln think the primary moral issue of those days was?
  7. Did Stephen A. Douglas think that the writers of the Declaration took into consideration the black race when they said "all men are created equal?" Did Abraham Lincoln think they did?
  8. Why did Lincoln have an advantage over his political opponents in the 1860 presidential election?
  9. What did the political platform that Lincoln won election to the presidency say about slavery?
  10. What did the southern states do as a result of Lincoln winning the presidency?

Chapter 6 (Lincolnís speeches/writings) Questions:

  1. Why was Lincoln considered a "moderate" on the slavery issue? How did he differ from the extremists on both sides of him?
  2. How did Lincoln believe African Americans equal to whites? Unequal?
  3. What was Lincolnís strategy for abolishing slavery?
  4. What was Lincolnís primary complaint about Stephen A. Douglasís attitude towards slavery? What was Douglasís primary complaint about Lincolnís attitude towards African Americans?

Essay Question:

Select two or three excerpts from Lincolnís writings that give the best synopsis of how he felt about slavery. Would these arguments be considered an adequate attack on slavery today? Why or why not? Select one or two excerpts that describe how Lincoln felt about the equality of blacks and whites. Compare how these arguments were received by white audiences in Lincolnís day with the majority of Americans today.

For further reading:

Prelude to Greatness by Don E. Fehrenbacher.

The Lincoln-Douglas Debates by Harold Holzer.

Lincolnís Rise to Power by William Baringer.

Assignment 5:

Objective: Learn about Lincolnís life during his first two years as president and his development as an effective leader in the effort to preserve the Union. Become acquainted with some of his more important speeches and statements about leadership.

Reading assignment:

  1. LGC textóChapter 1, pp. 22-28. Chapter 7.
  2. Internetóuse Outline at abrahamlincoln.cc to visit websites for years 1861-1863. Also, review Outline of the Civil War from greatamericanhistory.com, IIIB. Abraham Lincoln: (http://members.tripod.com/~greatamericanhistory/gr02006.htm#[IIIB1])

Chapter 1 (Biography) Questions:

  1. What was the first major crisis Lincoln faced after taking office as president? What did he do about it?
  2. What was the result of Lincolnís call for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to put down the rebellion?
  3. What general did Lincoln put in charge of the Unionís Army of the Potomac after the battle of Manassas?
  4. What brigadier general captured two Confederate forts in Kentucky?
  5. What happened in the Seven Days Battles? What was the name of the Confederate general that took over command of the Southís eastern armies?
  6. What did Lee do after defeating General Pope at the battle of Second Manassas?
  7. What was the name of the famous black abolitionist that argued in favor of freeing the slaves and allowing blacks to become soldiers in the Union army?
  8. Why had Lincoln, up to the summer of 1862, been reluctant to free the slaves?
  9. Why did Lincoln decide to free the slaves?
  10. After what battle did Lincoln issue the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation? What did the Emancipation Proclamation do?

Chapter 7 (Lincolnís speeches/writings) Questions:

  1. In his first message to Congress, how did Lincoln justify his decision to use military force to keep the southern states in the Union?
  2. At the beginning of the Gettysburg Address, what historical document was Lincoln referring to? How did the Gettysburg Address serve to integrate the purposes of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution?
  3. In Lincolnís letter dated April 4, 1864, who does Lincoln give credit for the removal of slavery? Why not himself?
  4. In the same letter, explain the meaning of Lincolnís analogy about sacrificing a limb to save a life.

Essay Question:

Why did Lincoln wait until the summer of 1862 to add the elimination of slavery to the war goals? How did he justify his decision to eliminate slavery?

Further reading:

Lincoln the President: Springfield to Gettysburg, by J. G. Randall.

The Inner Life of Abraham Lincoln by Francis Carpenter.

The Presidency of Abraham Lincoln by Phillip Shaw Paludan.

Lincoln and the Generals by Thomas Williams.

Assignment 6:

Objective: Learn about Lincolnís life the last 3 years of his presidency, his development as a respected statesman, and his faith in God. Become acquainted with some of his most famous speeches such as the Second Inaugural Address.

Reading Assignment:

    1. LGC textóChapter 1, pp. 29-34; all of Chapter 8.
    2. Internetóuse Outline at abrahamlincoln.cc to visit websites for years 1863-1865

Chapter 1 (Biography) Questions:

  1. What did Lincoln do about soldiers sentenced to be shot for desertion?
  2. What Union general continued to win victories along the Mississippi River? What Confederate city surrendered to him on July 4, 1863?
  3. What famous battle in Pennsylvania ended on July 3, 1863? What was the outcome of this battle?
  4. When Grant went east to command the Union armies, what Union general took command in the West? What Confederate general did he face?
  5. Who was Lincolnís opponent in the presidential election of 1864? What did Lincoln fear would happen if the Democrats won the presidency?
  6. What crucial military victory by William T. Sherman assured Lincoln victory in the presidential election of 1864?
  7. Who did most of the Union soldiers vote for in the 1864 presidential election? Why did they vote for him?
  8. What was the outcome of Leeís attack on the Unionís Fort Stedman near Petersburg, Virginia? What did the Confederate government do on April 2, 1865?
  9. On what day did Lee surrender to Grant?
  10. What tragic event took place on April 14, 1865?

Chapter 8 (Lincolnís speeches/writings) Questions:

  1. Why did Lincoln say he "never joined a church?"
  2. In Lincolnís proclamation of a National Fast Day for March 30, 1863, why did he say the country was being punished by the "calamity of civil war?" What did he propose the people should do as a result of this?
  3. Provide two or three examples of Lincolnís belief in Godís predestination of manís events.
  4. In Lincolnís Second Inaugural Address, what did Lincoln say was Godís punishment on the country for allowing slavery?

Essay Questions:

  1. What was Lincolnís perception of the nature of God?
  2. What did he believe his responsibilities were to God and the people?

For further reading:

The Religion of Abraham Lincoln by William Wolf (originally entitled "The Almost Chosen People").

Redeemer President by Allen Guelzo.

Assignment 7:

Objective: To understand the long-term impact Lincoln had on democratic government.

Reading Assignment:

  1. LGC textóChapter 9
  2. Internetógo to Abraham Lincoln Onlineís educational links at http://www.netins.net/showcase/creative/lincoln/education/politic.htm.

Short Answer Questions:

  1. What did Lincoln mean by the statement his generation must prove that "popular government is not an absurdity?" How could democracy be an absurdity?
  2. How did Lincoln say the presidential election of 1864 benefited the country?
  3. What impact did Lincoln believe his generation would have on future generations?
  4. What example did Lincoln offer that democratic government gave all an equal chance?
  5. To Lincoln, what was the evidence that the people were committed to maintaining the Union?
  6. How did Lincolnís perception of the intentions of God impact his belief about what he and his generation must do?

Essay Questions:

  1. How could the successful separation of the Confederacy and dissolution of the Union have weakened both the chances of survival of and propagation of democratic government?
  2. What would have been possible long-term repercussions to both North and South if the South had won the war?

For further reading:

The Fate of Liberty by Mark Neely

We Cannot Escape History by James McPherson

Assignment 8:

Objective: To understand Lincolnís heart and mind on the subjects of freedom, equality for man, and faith in God.

Reading Assignment:

  1. Review the Introduction (pp. ix-xi) and Preface (pp. vi-viii); read the Afterword (pp. 121-124).
  2. Internetógo to the website Abraham Lincoln Online (http://www.netins.net/showcase/creative/lincoln/education/educate.htm) and research links called out there for interpretation of Lincoln.

Short Answer Questions:

  1. What disparity between the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence caused significant conflict in American social life in the 1800s?
  2. Why was Lincoln torn between loyalty to these two documents?
  3. What can one learn about Lincoln when comparing his writings and speeches from early in his career to those of his later years? How are their styles different?
  4. Why is it so important to understand Lincolnís religious beliefs in order to understand Lincoln himself?
  5. Why do contemporary critics of Lincoln question his sincerity in his desire to free the slaves?
  6. Does Lincoln deserve the title "Great Emancipator?" What arguments could you put forward support this sobriquet?
  7. Why are Lincolnís religious beliefs so difficult to understand?
  8. How does Lincolnís life serve as an example of what is possible in a democracy?

Essay Questions:

  1. Does Lincoln deserve to be called a friend of the slave?
  2. How did Lincolnís religious beliefs change over his lifetime?
  3. How did Lincolnís attitude towards freedom for African Americans change during his lifetime?
  4. In Lincolnís day, would he have been considered a racist? Provide support, if you can, to both sides of the argument and then draw your own conclusions. Would your conclusions be the same if Lincoln were alive today, holding the same opinions and saying the same things?
  5. How could American history have changed if Abraham Lincoln had not been assassinated?

For further reading:

Lincoln in Text and Context: Collected Essays by Don E. Fehrenbacher

Drawn by the Sword by James McPherson





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