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The Kansas-Nebraska Act.
The Red Scott Decision.
The Lincoln-Douglas Debates.
This activity has got it all!
This "A Nation Divided: Bleeding Kansas, Dred Scott, and the Lincoln-Douglas Debates" Activity includes:
1) A comprehensive overview of the divisions in American society created by the fight over slavery in western territories. Students will begin by explaining how several factors helped intensify the debate over slavery after 1850, including President Franklin's Pierce's support of stricter fugitive slave laws, the need for new land to accommodate the expanding nation, and the publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe's book . Then, your class will examine the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Students will explain why Stephen A. Douglas proposed the act, define popular sovereignty, and list the reasons why Northerners would have opposed the act and why Southerners would have supported it. Next, your students will pretend to be an average American in 1854 and write their Senator in support of or opposition to the legislation. Then, your students will examine the civil unrest in Kansas that became known as "Bleeding Kansas". Your class will identify who the "Border Ruffians" were, provide proof of voter fraud in the Kansas election, and theorize on whether violence could have been prevented. Students will then complete a flowchart that visualizes the steps that led to violence and bloodshed in the Kansas territory. Students will then read excerpts from Supreme Court's opinion in the Dred Scott case and answer questions to demonstrate their understanding on how the Court's decision was pivotal in the debate over the spread of slavery. Lastly, your class will examine the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Your students will read excerpts from the arguments of Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln from their debate on August 21, 1858. Then, students will use what they've read to answer questions that help define the stance of both men and why they believed their argument provided the best solution to solve the debate over slavery.
The great thing about this activity is that it gives you many different ways to use it. You can have the students work individually on the activity or they can discuss in pairs. You can set it up as a class discussion or debate or have students walk around the room discussing the subject matter. The options for this activity are endless.
2) A detailed answer key to the lesson activity to save you time and help guide student comprehension.
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If you like this activity, check out our Civil War Unit activity bundle that includes activities for all of the objectives in this unit.
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