Abraham Lincoln and Executive Power

This lesson traces the rise of Abraham Lincoln from his humble beginnings to the presidency. It examines Lincoln’s ideas and decisions regarding slavery and the use of presidential power to preserve the Union during the Civil War. After the lesson, students should be able to explain how Lincoln overcame daunting disadvantages to become a great president, analyze and evaluate his decisions in response the critical constitutional issues of the Civil War, and understand and appreciate his legacy to American constitutionalism and citizenship.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 9, 10

Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation eLesson

To remember Abraham Lincoln, who died 148 years ago on April 15, 1865, this week’s eLesson will focus on the Emancipation Proclamation. Presidents Buchanan, Lincoln, and Johnson believed that the Constitution protected the institution of slavery. Lincoln came to the conclusion that, in order to preserve the Constitution and the Union it created, he must apply a new understanding of the principles on which the nation was built.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

The Lincoln-Douglas Debates

In the years leading up to the Civil War, the issue of slavery divided the Democratic Party and newly formed Republican Party. One of the most prominent Democrats was the U.S. Senator from Illinois Stephen Douglas. When he ran for re-election in 1858 against Republican Abraham Lincoln, the two men held a series of debates. In the activity, students read statements made by Douglas in the debates, discuss how Lincoln would respond, and create responses to each statement.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Abraham Lincoln’s Fragment of the Constitution & the Union (1861): The Purpose of the Union

This lesson will examine Abraham Lincoln’s brief but insightful reflection on the importance of the ideal of individual liberty to the constitutional structure and operation of the American union.

  • Resource Type: Essays, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Lincoln and the “Writ of Liberty”

The actual right of habeas corpus is not stated anywhere in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. The authors of these documents apparently believed that habeas corpus was such a fundamental liberty that it needed no further guarantee in writing. The only mention of the writ of habeas corpus in the Constitution relates to when it can be taken away from judges. On September 24, 1862, Lincoln issued a proclamation unprecedented in American history. He suspended the writ of liberty everywhere in the United States.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Executive Branch/Presidency
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

The Meaning of Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving is a venerable and much beloved American holiday. But what do we celebrate on Thanksgiving? In this ebook, we examine the meaning of Thanksgiving Day, with selections by American authors such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Jack London, Langston Hughes, Sarah Orne Jewett and O. Henry, to name just a few. Each selection includes a brief introduction by the editors with guiding questions for discussion. Also features lesson plans and a model conversation.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources, Video
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Commemorating Presidents’ Day Resources

Teach your high school students about the constitutional legacy of George Washington, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan this Presidents’ Day. These free, ready-to-use lessons will engage your students in learning about these important presidents and how they shaped the history and Constitution of our nation. Each lesson was written and reviewed by scholars and contains questions to test student knowledge.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans
  • Subject: Executive Branch/Presidency
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Close Reading Activity for the Gettysburg Address

The Gettysburg Address has been memorized, recited, and admired. Countless readers have discussed its rhetorical devices, literary merit, and political reception. But few have attended to the thought of Lincoln’s speech and the deeper purposes that it serves. Students will be able to: understand the meaning and central ideas of the Gettysburg Address; cite textual evidence to analyze a primary source; examine the structure of a primary source text; memorize an important historical speech.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12