Skip Navigation

Utah Core  •  Curriculum Search  •  All Social Studies Lesson Plans  •  USBE Social Studies website

Social Studies Curriculum Social Studies - United States History I
Educational Links


(Ca. 1820-1877)

Trends that started with the earliest colonization of America grew into sectional conflicts, and by the election of Lincoln in 1860 the nation was on the brink of civil war. The war had a profound impact on American society and American identity. Events leading to the war and the heavy toll of the war created a severely fractured America. The period of Reconstruction started the process of mending, but created new controversies as concepts of equality, democracy, and citizenship were redefined. The Civil War era and Reconstruction are important aspects of U.S. history, essential to understanding modern America, including race relations and inequality.

Possible Guiding Questions to Consider:

  • Why were efforts at compromise unsuccessful immediately prior to the Civil War?
  • What caused a growing number of people in the North to be opposed to slavery?
  • Was it necessary and worthwhile to wage a war to preserve the Union?
  • What does it take for a brother to take up arms against a brother?
  • What forces made Reconstruction so difficult?
  • Why does the Civil War remain such a defining event for American identity?
  • Why does Lincoln reference ideas in the Declaration of Independence when referring to the Civil War?
  • What is the proper way to memorialize controversial events and people?
  • Before Brother Fought Brother: 1847-1861
    A complex series of events led to the Civil War. The lessons in this unit are designed to help students develop a foundation on which to understand the basic disagreements between North and South. Through the investigation of primary source documents - photographs, census information and other archival documents - students gain an appreciation of everyday life in the North and South, changes occurring in the lives of ordinary Americans, and some of the major social and economic issues of the years before the Civil War.
  • Documenting the American South
    Here's another great collection of primary source materials. The focus here is on first person narratives about the American south, especially in the slavery and Civil War eras.
  • Our Documents - 100 Milestone Documents
    List of 100 milestone documents that chronicle United States history from 1776 to 1965.This site also provides excellent links, including History Day.
  • Valley of the Shadow
    A history of two communities during the American Civil War. Includes primary source documents, teaching materials, pictures, and analysis.

UEN logo - in partnership with Utah State Board of Education (USBE) and Utah System of Higher Education (USHE).  Send questions or comments to USBE Specialist - Robert  Austin and see the Social Studies website. For general questions about Utah's Core Standards contact the Director - Jennifer  Throndsen.

These materials have been produced by and for the teachers of the State of Utah. Copies of these materials may be freely reproduced for teacher and classroom use. When distributing these materials, credit should be given to Utah State Board of Education. These materials may not be published, in whole or part, or in any other format, without the written permission of the Utah State Board of Education, 250 East 500 South, PO Box 144200, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4200.