Civil War

The Teach Tennessee History website is designed to assist teachers in implementing the 2015 Tennessee State Social Studies Standards.  Please use the menu links to the left to access the following resources for the Civil War:

ETHS Teaching Materials:  Click on ETHS Teaching Materials to find student-friendly essays and classroom activities developed by ETHS staff.  The essays and activities are designed based on the Tennessee Social Studies Standards. The downloadable teacher packets also include primary sources and images when available.

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Additional Resources: Click on Additional Resources to find additional activites and links to useful websites. 


Standards 5.0-5.19

Prior to Civil War

Students summarize the events leading up to the Civil War.

5.1 Compare and contrast the myth of the Antebellum South to the realities of the region including the harshness of slavery, increased immigration to urban areas, and growth of railroads. (C, G, P)

5.2 Interpret the sectional differences between the North and the South in economics, transportation, and population. (C, E)

5.3 Use primary sources to analyze multiple samples of abolition leaders’ writings and their stance on slavery, including: (C, P)

  • Sojourner Truth
  • Frederick Douglass
  • The Grimke sisters
  • William Lloyd Garrison
5.4 Draw on information from multiple print or digital resources explaining the events that made slavery a national issue during the mid-19th century, including:(C, E, G, P)
  • Missouri Compromise
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin
  • Compromise of 1850
  • Brook’s attack on Sumner
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act
  • John Brown’s Raid
  • Dred Scott case

Primary Documents and Supporting Texts to Read: excerpts from Ain’t I a Woman, Sojourner Truth; excerpts from Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe

Primary Documents and Supporting Texts to Consider: excerpts from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass; excerpts from the writings of the Grimke sisters; excerpts from the writings of William Lloyd Garrison

The Civil War and Reconstruction (1860-1877)

Understand the causes, course, and consequences of the Civil War, and explain the successes and failures of Reconstruction.

5.5 Evaluate each candidate in the campaign of 1860 and analyze how that campaign reflected the sectional turmoil of the country. (H, P, TN)

5.6 Explain with supporting details why Tennessee was divided on the issue of secession and the events that led it to eventually leave the Union to include: state convention vote of 1861, the Free and Independent State of Scott, Hurst Nation, East Tennessee mostly pro-Union and divided families. (H, P, TN)

5.7 Determine the meaning of the terms of this period with a visual representation, including:(G, C)

  • Union and Confederate States
  • Yankees and Rebels
  • Blue and Gray
  • Johnny Reb and Billy Yank

5.8 Analyze the geographic, social, political, and economic strengths and weakness of the North and South. (E, G, H, P)

5.9 Identify the Border States and the efforts of both sides to secure them to their cause. (G.H)

5.10 Create a visual display to explain the Union’s Anaconda Plan for defeating the Confederacy and how the geography of the South formed the Eastern, Western, and Trans-Mississippi theaters of war. (G, H, P)

5.11 Explain the significance and outcome of the major battles and identify their location on a map or visual representation, including: (G, H, TN)

• Fort Sumter
• First Battle of Bull Run
• Fort Henry and Donelson

• Shiloh
• Antietam
• Gettysburg
• Vicksburg
• Franklin
• Nashville
• Appomattox Court House 

5.12 Draw on informational text to explain the roles of the military and civil leaders during the Civil War, including: (C, H, P)

• Abraham Lincoln

• Jefferson Davis

• Ulysses S. Grant

• Robert E. Lee

• Frederick Douglas

• Clara Barton

5.13 Read and write an informative piece summarizing the Gettysburg Address to determine its meaning and significance. (H)

5.14 Use concrete words, phrases, and sensory details to describe the experience of the war on the battlefield and home front. (H, C)

5.15 Explain the contributions of Tennesseans during the war, including: (H, TN)

• Nathan Bedford Forrest

• Sam Watkins

• Andrew Johnson

• Matthew Fontaine Maury

• Sam Davis

5.16 Evaluate and debate the rationales for the Emancipation Proclamation. (C, P)

5.17 Explain why Lincoln chose Andrew Johnson as his running mate in the election of 1864. (H, P, TN)

5.18 Describe the physical, social, political and economic consequences of the Civil War on the southern United States. (E, G)

5.19 Draw on information from multiple print or digital resources to describe the impact of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln on the nation. (H)



Standards 8.72-8.81

Civil War (1830-1865)

Students analyze the multiple causes, key events, and complex consequences of the Civil War.

8.72 Identify on a map the boundaries constituting the North and the South and delineate and evaluate the geographical differences between the two regions, including the differences between agrarians and industrialists. (E, G, P)

8.73 Describe the influence of industrialization and technological developments of the regions, including human modification of the landscape and how physical geography shaped human actions-growth of cities, deforestation, farming and mineral extraction. (E, G, H, P)

8.74 Evaluate each candidate and the election of 1860 and analyze how that campaign reflected the sectional turmoil in the country. (G, P, TN)

8.75 Explain the geographical division of Tennessee over the issue of slavery and secession, including Governor Harris, the secession convention vote of 1861, anti-secession efforts, and Scott County. (P, TN)

8.76 Describe Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and his significant writings and speeches, including his House Divided speech in 1858, Gettysburg Address in 1863, Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and inaugural addresses in 1861 and 1865. (C, H, P)

8.77 Explain the roles of leaders during the Civil War, including Ulysses S. Grant, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and soldiers on both sides of the war, including Tennesseans David Farragut, Nathan Bedford Forrest and William Brownlow. (C, E, H, P, TN)

8.78 Describe African-American involvement in the Union army, including the Massachusetts 54th Regiment and the 13th U.S. Colored Troops in the Battle of Nashville. (C, H, TN)

8.79 Cite textual evidence analyzing the life of the common soldier in the Civil War, including Sam Watkins and Sam Davis. (C, H, TN)

8.80 Trace the critical developments and events in the war, including geographical advantages and economic advantages of both sides, technological advances and the location and significance of the following battles:

  • Anaconda Plan
  • First Battle of Bull Run
  • Fort Henry and Fort Donelson
  • Shiloh
  • Antietam
  • Stones River
  • Fredericksburg
  • Chancellorsville
  • Gettysburg
  • Vicksburg
  • Chickamauga
  • Lookout Mountain
  • Franklin
  • Nashville
  • Sherman’s “March to the Sea”
  • Appomattox Court House

8.81 Assess the impact of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln on both the North and the South. (C, E, H, P)

Primary Documents and Supporting Texts to Read: excerpts from the “House Divided” speech in 1858, Gettysburg Address in 1863, Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, and Inaugural Addresses in 1861 and 1865, Abraham Lincoln; excerpts from The Respective of Co. Aytch, Sam Watkins