Presidential Contenders of 1860

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Grade Level:
Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
60 Minutes
Thinking Skills:
Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words.


Students will use information to draw conclusions from maps, charts, and graphs. Students will analyze the information to determine the 1860 election results and the impact of the election results on the Civil War.


The election of 1860 demonstrated the divisions within the United States just before the Civil War. The election was unusual because foru strong candidates ed for the presidency. Political parties of the day were in flux. The dominant party, the DemocratParty, had split into two sectional factions, with each promoting its own candidate.  





1.) To start the lesson, have the students define the following words using the glossary in the classroom text or a dictionary:

A. Sectionalism

B. Electoral vote

C. Popular vote.

2.) Computer Lab: Students will work in groups of two and use internet search programs to find information about the candidates and political parties involved in the election of 1860. This information is used to complete Worksheet #1, “Candidates and Parties,” using the results of the internet search.

3.) Students are to work in small heterogenous groups of 3-4 students. Instruct students to use the data from the map, graphs, and charts to analyze the 1860 election and complete Worksheet #2.

lection and complete Worksheet #2.


Sectionalism, Electoral Vote, Popular Vote. 

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Last updated: October 22, 2016