Students learn to annotate a historical speech to identify and articulate the author’s point of view.

This lesson should precede a reading activity on the Emancipation Proclamation.

Common Core Standards

LS 1.A: Key Ideas and Details

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

LS A.1: Text Types and Purposes

Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content. a. Introduce claim(s) about a topic or issue, acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically. b. Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant, accurate data and evidence that demonstrate an understanding of the topic or text, using credible sources. c. Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

Literacy Skills Standard 1 & 2

The student will develop and demonstrate Common Core Social Studies reading literacy skills.

  • Students will identify key issues involved in working through emancipation, including the consequences (pros and cons) of the Lincoln administration changing its position from preventing slavery in new territories/states to eradicating slavery in states in rebellion.
  • Students will identify key figures (in addition to Lincoln) involved in the process of emancipating slaves and how emancipation would affect different areas of the government (military, financial, international relations, etc.)
  • How did President Lincoln and his cabinet members work through the issue of emancipation?
  • What were their various positions and did they change their approaches to the issue of slavery?

Lesson Activity One

The Cabinet – A Team of Rivals
  • Within their groups, students are assigned Cabinet roles
  • Review meaning of “emancipation” and review Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address
  • Quick introduction by Instructor of Lincoln’s Cabinet officials, their roles, and influences.
    • Andrew Johnson, Vice-President
    • William Seward, Secretary of State
    • Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War
    • Edward Bates, Attorney General
    • Montgomery Blair, Postmaster General
    • Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of Treasure
    • Gideon Welles, Secretary of Navy

Lesson Activity Two

Debating Emancipation
  • Students read information on Internet-connected devices relating to their specific assigned Cabinet member and form arguments regarding Emancipation
  • Students debate w/in their groups the issue of Emancipation based on the date, and their individual beliefs and roles at the time.

Lesson Activity Three

Emancipation Proclamation or Inauguration Affirmation
  • Each group decides if they will “affirm” Lincoln’s stance in his Inaugural address that he would not attack the institution of slavery in states where it already existed; or if they will issue an “Emancipation Proclamation.” Decisions will be based on majority rule.
  • Students must then write an official Declaration based on their decision, stating the path that will be taken by the Administration and the reasoning to support it. This will serve as the “Assessment” for this lesson. They should write with a unified voice, as if they were the one man, Lincoln, writing based on the decisions of the group
  • The following day’s lesson will be a reading of Lincoln’s actual Emancipation Proclamation. Lesson: