Election of 1860 & Civil War: Student Debate Simulation! Lincoln, Douglas, Breckinridge, Bell! Google 1:1 Compatible!
This lesson is included in the larger The Civil War Unit, located here:
Civil War: 14 engaging, Common Core lessons to teach American Civil War Unit!
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In this 3-5 day lesson on the buildup to the Civil War, student-led "political parties" will engage in a structured debate regarding the Election of 1860. Students will play the role of Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglas, John Breckinridge, and John Bell as they face off in the final election before the American Civil War. Following the debate, students will be engaged in an electoral college activity to determine the winner of the election.
In the debate, one student team will be representing Abraham Lincoln, one team will be Stephen A Douglas, one will be John Breckinridge, and one will be John Bell. Teams should be 5-7 students.
Each team will have:
2 Student Debaters (these students will take turns answering questions from the perspective of their candidate. These students are in charge of completing a script with several questions already created that get to the heart of the issues in 1860. See the preview!)
2 Supporters (these students are to take an issue of something who would support that candiate, such as a slave, woman, factory worker, etc. They are to write a "testimonial" where they express their satisfaction with this candidate. Again, see preview!)
1-3 Campaign Managers (these students are in charge of creating the campaign visual aids! They will make buttons, campaign signs, flyers, small flags, etc, that the support of their candidate. Their visual aids should show their candidates stance on the important issues, too!)
**All students will read their Candidate's Bio together to get the necessary information for their part!
This resource includes a paper in-class version and a 1:1 Google compatible version to be used in conjunction with Google Classroom. Just follow the included instructions for how to access the Google version, then share the resource through Google or assign via Google Classroom. This will allow students to type directly into the document!
--Upon Completion of Debate--
Students will calculate the electoral votes of this Election (provided students already have an understanding of the Electoral College). There is an worksheet with questions for students to follow, along with student maps, and the electoral and popular vote for each state in 1860.
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