Begin by sharing information about Lincoln’s early life and his exposure to slavery. You can do this by lecture format or by making copies of the materials and have students read them silently, discussing as a class or in small groups as they finish.
Make copies of the biographical information furnished. Divide the students into six groups. Give each group a copy of the time line, Lincoln’s quotes on slavery, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the history of one of the people from Kentucky. Each student will need one blank chart. Have each group read the biographical material and complete their section of the chart and prepare to share their information with the class. As each group shares their information with the whole class, all students should be completing the ‘views on slavery’ chart. When groups are done sharing, place on the board all the definitions of the views on slavery. Discuss the different views on slavery with the students and make sure they understand the differences and how Kentuckians connected to Lincoln had a wide variety of beliefs on the subject. As a final discussion question, ask the students to describe how Lincoln’s early life in Kentucky and his exposure to slavery determined his views regarding slavery as an adult. Discuss how these early experiences influenced his decisions regarding slavery when was President of the United States.
Imagine that you are a newspaper or magazine writer from Kentucky living during the Civil War. Write an article on Abraham Lincoln and the issue of slavery. If you use direct quotes, make sure to put them in quotation marks. You will need to cite sources for your quotes. Photography was a new technology during the Civil War. You may use images from the Library of Congress which has a large collection of Civil War era photos.
Students should familiarize themselves with one or more of the debates by viewing the transcripts online. They can compose their own speeches using the resource material as a guideline. The entire class can have a debate tournament with prizes awarded to the top three finishers.
Last updated: April 14, 2015