About This Lesson
The lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration file "Lincoln Home National Historic Site" (with photographs); maps of the site and surrounding community; and excerpts from primary source documents, including: critical speeches given by Abraham Lincoln, newspaper accounts of Lincoln's nomination and election, and archival photographs of the historic site. The lesson was written by James A. Percoco, a social studies teacher at West Springfield High School in Virginia and History Educator-in-Residence, American University, Washington, DC. It was edited by Timothy P. Townsend, Historian at
Lincoln Home National Historic Site and the Teaching with Historic Places staff. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into the classrooms across the country.
Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: This lesson plan focuses on Abraham Lincoln's life in Springfield, Illinois, especially when he gained national prominence during the 1860 presidential election. This lesson could be used in American history, social studies, and geography courses in units on the history of the presidency, mid-19th century party politics, the prelude to the Civil War, or on Abraham Lincoln's life and presidency.
Time period: 1831-1865
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12
Objectives for students
1) Describe the community in which Lincoln and his family lived, and learn how the citizens felt about him.
2) Explain the role that the Lincoln home played in Lincoln's personal and political life.
3) Outline the national issues that inspired Lincoln to act decisively in politics and propelled him to the White House.
4) Interview a local politician and compare and contrast this person to what they have learned about Lincoln, and write a "newspaper article" on a current political event in their community.
Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a smaller, low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger version.
1) four maps showing where Lincoln lived, slave and free states in the U.S. in 1860, and presidential election results in 1860;
2) four readings about Lincoln in politics including excerpts from key Lincoln speeches, and newspaper accounts of Lincoln's farewell address and funeral in Springfield;
3) four photographs of the Lincoln home;
4) one drawing of the Lincoln front parlor.
Visiting the site
The Lincoln home, the centerpiece of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, has been restored to its 1860s appearance, revealing Lincoln as husband, father, politician, and President-elect. It stands in the midst of a four block historic neighborhood which the National Park Service is restoring so that the neighborhood, like the house, will appear much as Lincoln would have remembered it. The Lincoln Home Visitor Center, located at 426 South Seventh St., is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except January 1st, Thanksgiving, and December 25th. Access to the Lincoln Home is available with a free ticket for a specific tour time and tickets are distributed at the Visitor Center Information Desk. School groups, charter tours, or other large groups must reserve tours in advance by contacting the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Visitor Center also offers an orientation film, temporary exhibits, a Museum Shop, Springfield area information, and restrooms. Exhibits are also located within the historic Lincoln neighborhood, including "What a Pleasant Home Abe Lincoln Has" in the Dean House, which focuses on the Lincoln family's life in Springfield; and "If These Walls Could Talk" in the Arnold House, which focuses on historic preservation. For more information, contact the Superintendent, Lincoln home National Historic Site, 413 S. Eighth Street, Springfield, Illinois 62701-1905 or visit the park's web site.