Unit 1: The Civil War and Reconstruction

Chapter 1

It is here, the inevitable, the war for the nation. Will the United States live up to the promise of the Constitution? The question over state's rights will finally be settled, either the United States will be united under a single central government, or the states will dominate the continue to drive the direction of the nation. The greatest impact will be on slavery.

Once the Civil War is over, the battle for civil and equal rights begins. The backdrop is the rebuilding of the nation: economicaly, politically, and socially. The events that take place here will impact the development of the United States for generations, even through today. Will they get it right? Will we ever?

In this unit we will focus on the causes and battles of the Civil War and the impact it has on people and everyday lives, and the effort to rebuid the United States after the greatest crisis on the nation's history.

Unit Topics

Topic Primary Objective Secondary Objective
1A Slavery and the Civil War SS.912.A.2.1Review causes and consequences of the Civil War.
1B Reconstruction SS.912.A.2.1Review causes and consequences of the Civil War. A.2.2,Assess the influence of significant people or groups on Reconstruction. A.2.3,Describe the issues that divided Republicans during the early Reconstruction era. A.2.4,Distinguish the freedoms guaranteed to African Americans and other groups with the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. A.2.5,Assess how Jim Crow Laws influenced life for African Americans and other racial/ethnic minority groups. A.2.6Compare the effects of the Black Codes and the Nadir on freed people, and analyze the sharecropping system and debt peonage as practiced in the United States.

1A: Slavery and the Civil War



The slideshows are best if viewed full screen.

Causes of the Civil War

Use this presentation with (5) The Causes of the Civil War Guided Notes

Strengths and Weaknesses

Use this presentation with (9) Strengths and Weaknesses

The Civil War in One Day

Use this presentation with (11) The Civil War in One Day

Online Textbooks

Red Americans Textbook Cover

"The Americans" Textbook

The links below will provide you with additional information from this unit.

USHistory.org Free Online Textbook

Each link is to the beginning of a chapter. There are several sections within each chapter; I would like to link to each section, however it becomes too cumbersome for the webpage. Instead, click "Next" on each page to get to the next section of the online textbook.
Digital History UH Icon

Digital History Free Online Textbook

Each link is to a topic in this unit. Within each link there are MANY sections as well as many resources and activities you can investigate to further enrich and deepen your understanding.


Podcasts can be an engaging form of information that can supplement what you learn in class. I will include episodes to podcasts I have heard and enjoyed that I believe you could benefit from or that you will find interesting related to each topic.

My favorite US History/History Podcasts include:

History This Week

American History Tellers

1B: Reconstruction




The Presidents: James Buchanan

Watch the video and answer these multiple choice questions. (7) The Presidents - James Buchanan

The Presidents: Abraham Lincoln

Watch the video and answer these multiple choice questions. (10) The Presidents - Abraham Lincoln

Khan Academy - The Civil War

If you are not familiar with Khan Academy, you should be! It is a GREAT resource for ALL subjects. They have videos and activities to supplement what your teacher is doing in class. Below is a playlist of the videos from Khan Academy regarding the Civil War. It is a good resource to get some more information or to help you study what we covered in class.

Hip Hughes - The Emancipation Proclamation

Ok, let me start by saying, I love this guy! I wish I could do the green screen stuff like him (and had the time to do it!) His style keeps you listening and watching. Here he debunks the myth of the Emancipation Proclamation - Abraham Lincoln frees the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation.

America: The Story of Us - The Civil War

From the History Channel video, this segment documents the Civil War in the context of part of the American Identity. It demonstrates new technologies of war and their catastrophic effects. It will also chronicle some of the important events, such as Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" and Sherman's March. Use the Video Guide as you watch to get the main points of each segment. Complete each topic as well as the crossword puzzle on the second page.

Crash Course American History #18: The Election of 1860 & the Road to Disunion

From the Publisher
In which John Green teaches you about the election of 1860. As you may remember from last week, things were not great at this time in US history. The tensions between the North and South were rising, ultimately due to the single issue of slavery. The North wanted to abolish slavery, and the South wanted to continue with it. It seemed like a war was inevitable, and it turns out that it was. But first, the nation had to get through this election. You'll learn how the bloodshed in Kansas and the truly awful Kansas-Nebraska Act led directly to the decrease in popularity of Stephen Douglas, the splitting of the Democratic party, and the unlikely victory of a relatively inexperienced politician from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln's election would lead directly to the secession of several southern states, and thus to the Civil War. John will teach you about all this, plus Dred Scott, Roger Taney, and John Brown.

Crash Course American History #19: Battles of the Civil War

Warning: Not much content here, pretty much just a list of some of the battles of the Civil War.

Crash Course American History #20: The Civil War, part 1

From the Publisher
In which John Green ACTUALLY teaches about the Civil War. In part one of our two part look at the US Civil War, John looks into the causes of the war, and the motivations of the individuals who went to war. The overarching causes and the individual motivations were not always the same, you see. John also looks into why the North won, and whether that outcome was inevitable. The North's industrial and population advantages are examined, as are the problems of the Confederacy, including its need to build a nation at the same time it was fighting a war. As usual, John doesn't get much into the actual battle by battle breakdown. He does talk a little about the overarching strategy that won the war, and Grant's plan to just overwhelm the South with numbers. Grant took a lot of losses in the latter days of the war, but in the end, it did lead to the surrender of the South.

Crash Course American History #21: The Civil War, part 2

From the Publisher
In which John Green teaches you how the Civil War played a large part in making the United States the country that it is today. He covers some of the key ways in which Abraham Lincoln influenced the outcome of the war, and how the lack of foreign intervention also helped the Union win the war. John also covers the technology that made the Civil War different than previous wars. New weapons helped to influence the outcomes of battles, but photography influenced how the public at large perceived the war. In addition, John gets into the long term effects of the war, including the federalization and unification of the United States. All this plus homesteading, land grant universities, railroads, federal currency, and taxes. Check out the US National Archives Flickr. They have an awesome collection of Matthew Brady Civil War photography here.


Copyright M. Caggia 2022