The Civil War Curriculum | Goal 2 | Middle School

Kepis1860-1861: The Country Goes To War

By the Civil War Trust, Endorsed by History™History (tm) Logo

Grades: Middle School

Approximate Length of Time: 50 minutes

Goal: Students will be able to explain the state of the nation and list the sequence of events leading to the Civil War.


1. Students will be able to complete a timeline of events from the election of Lincoln to the First Battle of Manassas.
2. After reading primary source documents from leaders and from citizens, students will be able to discuss how individuals felt about the coming war.
3. Students will be able to identify the Southern states, Northern states, and border states on a map of the United States.


1. Entrance Pass
2. The Country Goes to War PowerPoint
3. The Country Goes to War PowerPoint Student Note Sheet
4. The Country Goes to War PowerPoint Student Note Sheet (Teacher Version)
5. 1860 U.S. Map Worksheet
6. Labeled 1860 U.S. Map (for teacher use)
7. Pencils in 3 Different Colors
8. Exit Pass

Anticipatory Set/Hook:

Using the Entrance Pass, have students provide three significant events or developments that led up to the American Civil War.


Print out the PowerPoint prior to class.

Activity 1

1. Hand out The Country Goes to War PowerPoint Student Note Sheet.
2. Present The Country Goes to War PowerPoint.
3. The students should complete the note sheet during the presentation.

Activity 2

1. Hand out the 1860 U.S. Map Worksheet and have students fill in the Northern states, Southern states, and border states using different colors as a class. See Labeled 1860 U.S. Map as a guide.
2. Have the students answer the follow-up question.


1. Ask students how they think people felt after the Battle of Manassas? Do students think citizens were worried? What might they be worried about? What might soldiers be worried about?
2. Hand out the Exit Pass and have students fill out three reasons why battles happen in certain areas.

Assessment in this Lesson:

1. Entrance Pass completed with three events or developments that pushed the United States toward civil war.
2. A completed The Country Goes to War PowerPoint Student Note Sheet.
3. A colored and labeled map of the U.S. in 1860 with follow-up question.
4. Completed exit pass with three reasons why battles take place in certain areas.

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