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March 4 Lincoln's First Inaugural Address

joe_phelan Posted by joe_phelan in Closer Readings on Mar 1, 2011 12:43:18 PM

As storm clouds of disunion and war were gathering across the nation, president elect Abraham Lincoln delivered his historic first inaugural address on March 4 closing with these words addressed to the secessionists -- "We must not be enemies" . Most students are familiar with the enormous costs and consequences of the Civil War and the reputation of Abraham Lincoln but have not had the opportunity to read his words and reflect on the ideas of this great speech. Use one of these EDSITEment lessons as well as an interactive to bring Lincoln's speech into your classroom.

What better way to set the stage and the tone for the celebration of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War?

Help your students understand the historical context and significance of Lincoln's inaugural address through archival documents such as campaign posters, sheet music, vintage photographs and documents. Learn how the resources in EDSITEment-reviewed sites can help you do the same for any President.

This lesson plan explores the decision-making process that precipitated the Civil War, focusing on deliberations within the Lincoln administration that led to the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in April 1861. Students first review the situation that Lincoln inherited when he took office in March 1861, and summarize his views on the critical issues before him as reflected in his First Inaugural Address.

This lesson examines Lincoln's First Inaugural Address to understand why he thought his duty as president required him to treat secession as an act of rebellion and not a legitimate legal or constitutional action by disgruntled states.

Related Lesson

This lesson plan explores Abraham Lincoln's rise to political prominence during the debate over the future of American slavery. Lincoln's anti-slavery politics will be contrasted with the abolitionism of William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass and the "popular sovereignty" concept of U.S. Senator Stephen A. Douglas. The views of southern Democrats like Jefferson Davis and William Lowndes Yancey will also be examined to show how sectional thinking leading up to the 1860 presidential election eventually produced a southern "secession" and the American Civil War. In addition, the Republican Party platform of 1860 will be compared with the platforms of the two Democratic factions and the Constitutional Union Party to determine how the priorities of Lincoln and his party differed from the other parties in 1860, and how these differences eventually led to the dissolution of the Union.


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