Lesson Plan

Commander in Chief

President Lincoln met with Major General George B. McClellan days after the Battle of Antietam.
President Abraham Lincoln met with Major General George B. McClellan days after the Battle of Antietam.
NPS

Overall Rating

Add your review (0 reviews)
Grade Level:
Kindergarten-Twelfth Grade
Subject:
Anthropology, Civil War, Economics, Geography, Government, History, Pioneer America, Sociology, Westward Expansion
Duration:
1 Hour
Group Size:
Up to 24
Setting:
classroom
National/State Standards:
National Council for Social Studies (NCSS): The Eight Standards

U.S. History: 1, 1A, 2, 2D, 2E, 3A, 6
Geography: I, II, IV, V, VI
English: I, II, III

Overview

With the outbreak of civil war on April 12, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln quickly began to establish himself as Commander in Chief by establishing exectuve control over Union forces in the field and developing an overall strategy to quell the rebellion.  He expanded the war powers of the presidency under the Constitution by ordering a blockade of southern ports, appropriating monies without Congressional approval, and later, suspended the writ of habeas corpus, having thousands arrested. 

Objective(s)

Students will research the actions taken by President Lincoln in order to preserve the Union and explain how said actions altered the role of future Presidents as Commander in Chief of the United States armed forces.



Background

The attack on, and subsequent surrender of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, hurled the nation into civil war. In office only five weeks, and with Congress out of session, President Abraham Lincoln quickly began to establish himself as Commander in Chief.  As a lawyer,
he believed the Constitution granted him the ability to exercise special war time powers.  He
established executive control over Union forces in the field and began developing an overall
strategy to quell the rebellion. 

On April 15, the day after the surrender of Fort Sumter, President Lincoln issued a
proclamation to block the execution of the laws of the seven seceded states, and issued a
call for states to furnish 75,000 troops "to suppress" the rebellion. Citing the war powers
of the executive branch under the Constitution, President Lincoln ordered a blockade of
southern ports, appropriated monies without Congressional authorization, and later, on
April 27, suspended the writ of habeas corpus, having thousands of Confederate sympathizers arrested and jailed without any formal charges being brought against them.

In a special session of Congress on July 4, 1861, President Lincoln made it clear that he considered the prosecution of the war to be a function of the executive branch by the special war time powers granted to him by the Constitution, and he expected little interference from the other branches of government. He extended the period of the 90-day enlistment of the 75,000 volunteers to three years, and authorized public monies to private individuals for the purpose of arming and supplying the expanding army and navy.

Throughout the Civil War President Lincoln maintained a level of control over many aspects of the conduct of the war. He studied military strategy and often openly offered suggestions to his generals in the field as to how they should conduct their campaign. He freely removed generals that failed to produce positive results on the battlefield, as exemplified by the removal of Major Generals George B. McClellan and Don Carlos Buell. He spent hours at the War Department sending and receiving telegrams to and from his generals in the field in hopes of prodding them into action.  

The actions taken by President, and Commander in Chief, Abraham Lincoln during the
Civil War expanded the power of the executive branch of the government of the United 
States and established the President as being supreme over the legislative and judicial 
branches of the government.  However, in the decades following Lincoln's death that 
power and influence was slowly eroded away by Congress and the Supreme Court. But
his actions during the war preserved the Union and abolished slavery in the United 
States.   



Materials

For this lesson students will need a copy of Lincoln's Gettysburg Speech, account from the book Meeting Mr. Lincoln, Executive Mansion Letter, journal entry example sheet, and journal entry worksheet.



Procedure

  • Start the lesson with appropriate lecture notes.
  • Instruct students on requirements for journal entry.
  • Hand out examples of the journal entry.
  • Critique the journal entry.
  • Elaborate on why it is considered to be a good example.
  • Hand out selected reading material.
  • Instruct students to annotate the reading material.
  • Students will create an outline of what information they will use in the journal entry as required by the blank journal entry worksheet.
  • Instruct students on how to document using APA Chicago style footnotes.
  • Allow students time to work on assignment.
  • Provide for peer grading opportunities.
  • Wrap up the lesson with a discussion on what information they obtained from the reading material.
  • Summative assignment will be the completed journal entry.

Assessment

 

4

3

2

1

Required Elements

 

Includes at least one quotation from research material and includes at least six biographical details from ABLI life. All five Journal entries cover at least four different genres. Outline notes are included for all Journal entries.

Includes at least one quotation from research material and includes at least six biographical details from ABLI life. All five Journal entries cover at least three different genres. Outline notes are included for all or most artifacts.

Missing one to two required elements. May have no quotation from the novel or fewer than six artifacts. Outline notes are included for most artifacts.

Missing three or more required elements (i.e., the quotation from the novel and six biographical details. Outline notes are incomplete or not included for the artifacts.

Topic/Content

 

Journal entries clearly relate to the main topic. Covers topic completely and in depth. Encourages readers to know more.

 

Journal entries clearly relates to the main topic. Includes essential information and enough elaboration to give readers an understanding of the topic.

 

Journal entries clearly relates to the main topic. Includes some essential information with few facts or details.

 

Journal entries have little or nothing to do with the main topic. Includes little essential information and only one or two facts

 

Creativity

 

A lot of thought was put into making the Journal entries interesting and fun as shown by creative style and outline notes.

 

Some thought was put into making the Journal entries interesting and fun as shown by the creative style and outline notes.

 

Some thought was put into making the Journal entries interesting and fun, but some of the things made it harder to understand/enjoy.

 

Little thought was put into making the Journal entries interesting or fun.

 

Bibliographical Resources

 

Includes properly cited sources and complete information. Students will use Chicago style APA footnotes.

 

Documentation is included for all sources, but some bibliographical information is missing.

 

Documentation for some sources is missing and/or incomplete.

 

No documentation is included.

 

Mechanics

 

Grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization are correct. No errors in the text.

Journal must be 1 page in length. 12 Font Times new roman.

Spacing no more than 1.5 with footnotes included at the bottom of the page.

 

Includes 2-3 grammatical errors, misspellings, punctuation errors, etc.

 

Includes 3-4 grammatical errors, misspellings, punctuation errors, etc.

 

Includes more than 5 grammatical errors, misspellings, punctuation errors, etc.









Park Connections

http://www.nps.gov/features/waso/cw150th/index.html

http://www.nps.gov/gett/historyculture/civil-war-timeline.htm

 

 

 



Additional Resources

Victoria Radford, Meeting Mr. Lincoln: Firsthand Recollections of Abraham Lincoln by People, Great and Small, Who Met the President (Ivan R. Dee, 1998) p. 64 - 72.

http://www.myloc.gov/Exhibitions/gettysburgaddress/Pages/default.aspx

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/alhtml/malhome.html

 



Vocabulary

President, Commander in Chief, Civil War, strategy, Constitution, Presidential war powers, habeas corpus, freedom, conflict