Civil War & Secession Primary Source Analysis Activity

Rated 4.91 out of 5, based on 73 reviews
73 Ratings
Students of History
Grade Levels
7th - 10th
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF
  • Google Apps™
9 pages
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Students of History
Includes Google Apps™
The Teacher-Author indicated this resource includes assets from Google Workspace (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).

What educators are saying

It's always great to be able to look at primary sources, but especially when it comes to the reason driving secession. This was very clear and easy to use with my students.
Good and engaging resource that had my students working hard. They really had to use their critical thinking skills.


This awesome lesson has your students analyzing 4 primary sources related to the Confederacy's secession prior to the Civil War.

This activity can be completed in cooperative learning groups or individually and with the printed copies or digitally with the included Google Docs version!

The lesson plan includes:

• A 2-page worksheet students use to analyze the primary sources
• An excerpt from a speech by the Confederate Vice President
• Mississippi's Declaration of Secession
• 2 primary source political cartoons
• Extension activity for class debate on secession
• A link to the digital Google Docs version
• A directions page and answer key

This is an awesome lesson to help your students better understand the real reasons the South seceded from the Union by analyzing actual primary source documents from the era.

The resource can also be downloaded as part of the Civil War and Reconstruction Complete Unit Bundle. This includes over 50 resources for teaching the Civil War!

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Total Pages
9 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
90 minutes
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social studies.
Compare the point of view of two or more authors for how they treat the same or similar topics, including which details they include and emphasize in their respective accounts.


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