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In this activity students compare and contrast a political cartoon and a letter to the editor from 1862 that describe ordinary soldiers who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War.

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Item Type: Teaching Activity
Date: 2008

This activity compares a runaway slave ad and an abolitionist poster to explore the causes and effects of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law. The law changed how many northerners viewed slavery and intensified conflicts that brought the nation closer to Civil War.

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Item Type: Teaching Activity
Date: 2009

In this activity students analyze visual and textual evidence about "contraband" African-American slaves during the Civil War era. They compare the roles of African Americans, the Union military, and the policies of the Republican party in emancipating slaves. They determine the extent to which African Americans freed themselves versus the extent…

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Item Type: Teaching Activity
Date: 2011

In this activity students will examine how attitudes towards slavery and the Civil War changed between 1860 and 1865. What began in the minds of President Lincoln and most northerners as a war to preserve the union changed, over the course of the war, into a war to free the slaves. This transformation occurred in large part because of the actions…

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Item Type: Teaching Activity
Date: 2009

In this activity students examine sheet music and letters from draft rioters to examine Union attitudes about the military draft during the Civil War.
In this activity students read three letters written by African-American soldiers during the Civil War to determine why black soldiers felt compelled to join the Union Army.

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Item Type: Teaching Activity
Date: 2009

In this activity students research roles as either Irish immigrants or African-American residents in the midst of the New York City Draft Riots that took place in July 1863. Students gather evidence from primary sources to develop their characters, based on actual census records, and then enact a role play debating whether to stay in the city or…

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Item Type: Teaching Activity
Date: 2008

Between July 13 and 16, 1863, the largest riots the United States had yet seen shook New York City. In the so-called Civil War draft riots, the city's poor white working people, many of them Irish immigrants, bloodily protested the federally-imposed draft requiring all men to enlist in the Union Army. The rioters took out their rage on their…

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Item Type: Laws/Court Cases
Date: 1863

This Civil War photograph shows Private Hubbard Pryor, an escaped slave from Georgia, before and after his enlistment in the 44th U.S. Colored Troops, a Union Army regiment of African-American soldiers. Congress passed legislation allowing some African Americans to serve in the Union Army in August 1862, and when Lincoln announced the Emancipation…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1864

This map identifies which states and territories of the United States allowed slavery and which did not in 1860, on the eve of the Civil War. The slaveholding border states included Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware.

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Item Type: Map
Date: 1996