The Civil War (1848-1865)


“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

The above quote was part of a speech delivered over 150 years ago and referred to a specific event that was taking place in American history.  However, like most things in history, this quote can be applied to recurring issues in our lives.  In your notes, copy the diagram below and consider the implications that this quote has on the four perspectives labeled in the diagram and write your thoughts in the respective wedges. 



“I believe this government cannot endure permanently, half-slave and half-free.”

This second quote comes from the same speech and reveals exactly what the speaker, Abraham Lincoln, was referring to with the “house divided” quote.  The speech was delivered in 1858, just two years prior to Lincoln’s election to the presidency and just three years prior to the outbreak of the Civil War.  It would seem, then, that when the Civil War finally did begin that Lincoln would support the idea that the issue of slavery was the cause of the war.  Interestingly enough, however, not all Americans at the time felt that way.  In fact, there were many reasons that Americans of the day would have given for why they felt the North and the South had gone to war.

In this lesson, you will view primary and secondary source material from the Antebellum (pre-Civil War) Period of American history and then use details from those materials to support one of the arguments below. 

Goal:  Why did Americans fight the Civil War?

Argument #1:  The War is about Slavery

Argument #2:  The War is for Free Government

Argument #3:  The War is about Money


Process: Complete each of the activities in the following order.