Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864

The Draft Riot Mystery

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. Students are invited to solve a mystery, using historical clues, about the real story of the Draft Riots.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Immigration, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery and Resistance, Social Class, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
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The Election of 1860 Featured Image

The Election of 1860 Role Play

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. A role play based on the election of 1860 allows students to explore the political debates of the time and the real reasons for the Civil War.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Slavery and Resistance, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
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Thomas Jefferson Advertisement Runaway Slave | Zinn Education Project

Freedom on the Move: Rediscovering the Stories of Self-Liberating People

Archive. Digital collection and crowdsourcing project that provides access to information, through thousands of print advertisements, about freedom-seekers and their would-be enslavers in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Time Periods: 18th Century, Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799, 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Labor, Laws & Citizen Rights, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery and Resistance
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collage of six Black abolitionists in the United States.

‘If There Is No Struggle…’: Teaching a People’s History of the Abolition Movement

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 16 pages. Rethinking Schools. In this role play, students become members of the American Anti-Slavery Society, facing many of the real challenges to ending slavery.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery and Resistance
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Poetry of Defiance: How the Enslaved Resisted

Teaching Activity. By Adam Sanchez. Through a mixer activity, students are introduced to the various ways that enslaved people resisted the brutal exploitation of slavery. The lesson culminates in a collective class poem highlighting the defiance of the enslaved.
Time Periods: Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799, 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Language Arts, Slavery and Resistance
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Reading Between the Lines: An Art Contest Helps Students Imagine the Lives of Runaway Slaves (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Reading Between the Lines: An Art Contest Helps Students Imagine the Lives of Runaway Slaves

Teaching Activity. By Thom Thacker and Michael A. Lord. 4 pages. Rethinking Schools. An art contest is used as the basis from which students can examine primary historical documents (advertisements for runaway slaves) to gain a deeper understanding of the institution of slavery in the North.
Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, 18th Century, Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799, 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery and Resistance
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Reclaiming Hidden History: Students Create a Slavery Walking Tour in Manhattan (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Reclaiming Hidden History: Students Create a Slavery Walking Tour in Manhattan

Teaching Activity. By Alan J. Singer. Rethinking Schools. How a teacher and his students organized a tour of the hidden history of slavery in New York.
Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, 18th Century, Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799, 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery and Resistance
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Roudanez: History and Legacy

Archive. The work of Dr. Louis Charles Roudanez, founder of the first Black daily newspaper in the U.S., the New Orleans Tribune, with articles, excerpts, videos, and a timeline.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876, Industrial Revolution: 1877 - 1899
Themes: African American, Reconstruction, Media, Slavery and Resistance
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The War to Free the Slaves (Material) | Zinn Education Project

A War to Free the Slaves?

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. Students examine excerpts from Lincoln’s first inaugural address, the rarely mentioned original Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution that Lincoln promised to support, and the Emancipation Proclamation to explore some of the myths about the Civil War.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery and Resistance
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Frances Harper, William Sylvis, Isaac Myers, and John Roy Lynch pictured. They were leaders of the Reconstruction Era in US history

When the Impossible Suddenly Became Possible: A Reconstruction Mixer

Teaching Activity. By Adam Sanchez and Nqobile Mthethwa. 25 pages. A mixer role play that explores the connections between different social movements during Reconstruction.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876
Themes: African American, Reconstruction, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery and Resistance
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Black Abolitionists (Profile) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Who Fought To End Slavery? Meet the Abolitionists

Teaching Activity. By Adam Sanchez, Brady Bennon, Deb Delman, and Jessica Lovaas. This mixer role play introduces students to the stories of famous and lesser-known abolitionists, through biography and investigation.
Time Periods: Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Organizing, Slavery and Resistance
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Civil War and Class Conflict

Teaching Activity. By Gayle Olson-Raymer. 16 pages. Questions and teaching ideas for Chapter 10 of Voices of a People's History of the United States" on "The Other Civil War—the class conflict fought by the poor in the north and south.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: Labor, Social Class
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California map

The Expansion of Empire

Teaching Activity. By Gayle Olson-Raymer. 15 pages. Questions and teaching ideas for Chapter 12 of Voices of a People's History of the United States on internal dissent over American expansionist policies.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876, Industrial Revolution: 1877 - 1899
Themes: Imperialism, US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
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The First Slaves

Teaching Activity. By Gayle Olson-Raymer. Questions and teaching ideas for Chapter 2 of Voices of a People's History of the United States on early American slavery, resistance, and rebellion.
Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery and Resistance
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Frederick Douglass | Zinn Education Project

Frederick Douglass: “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro”

Film clip. Voices of a People's History. Frederick Douglass' speech "The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro" (1852) is read by Danny Glover.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery and Resistance
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Indian Removal

Teaching Activity. By Gayle Olson-Raymer. 18 pages. Questions and teaching ideas for Chapter 7 of Voices of a People's History of the United States on the American policy of "Manifest Destiny" and Native American resistance to their own displacement.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876, Industrial Revolution: 1877 - 1899
Themes: Imperialism, Native American, Racism & Racial Identity
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John Brown’s Last Speech

Film clip. Voices of a People's History. Dramatic reading John Brown’s Last Speech delivered on November 2, 1859, by Josh Brolin.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: Organizing, Slavery and Resistance
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Slavery and Defiance

Teaching Activity. By Gayle Olson-Raymer. Questions and teaching ideas for Chapter 9 of Voices of a People's History of the United States on black and white resistance to slavery before the Civil War.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery and Resistance
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