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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: Democracy & Citizenship, Immigration, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery, Social Class, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
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The Election of 1860 Role Play

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 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, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
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‘If There Is No Struggle…’: Teaching a People’s History of the Abolition Movement

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 16 pages. 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
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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. An art contest is used as the basis from which students can examine primary historical documents (advertisements for runaway slaves) to gain a deeper understanding of the institution of slavery in the North.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
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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
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Reconstruction Mixer Collage (Updated) | Zinn Education Project

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, Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery
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Who Freed the Slaves (Material) | Zinn Education Project

Who Freed the Slaves?

Student Handout. By Bill Bigelow. This timeline can be used as a resource for lessons on the Civil War, President Lincoln, the 54th Regiment, and the end of slavery.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
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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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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
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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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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
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The First Decoration Day

Article. By David W. Blight. 2011. The people's history of Memorial Day.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
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Why I’m Rooting for Tommy Lee Jones

Article. By William Katz. 2013. Why Tommy Lee Jones winning an Oscar for his performance as Congressman Thaddeus Stevens in Lincoln can highlight Stevens' fight for equality.
Time Periods: 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876
Themes: Slavery
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Black Reconstruction in America

Book – Non-fiction. By W. E. B. Du Bois. Introduction by David Levering Lewis. 2014. 623 pages. Originally published in 1935, Du Bois’ Black Reconstruction was the first book to challenge the prevailing racist historical narrative of the era and in sharp, incisive prose, tell the story of the Civil War and Reconstruction from the perspective of African Americans.
Time Periods: 18th Century, 19th Century, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876, Industrial Revolution: 1877 - 1899
Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Racism & Racial Identity
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