Matters of Education

Learning Happens Everywhere

Slave Options

Length of Time:   One Class Period


At its core, history is about choices—which ones were available, who got to make them and what impact did they have. To make sense of the history of the Civil War and slavery, our approach is to access this topic through this notion of choice. Who was making the decisions? How did so few people decide the destiny of so many? It is also imperative to recognize the power of the seemingly powerless to make choices about that which they could, to take chances, to control those aspects of their lives that they could.

This lesson is a template that you may expand or adapt to your students’ needs and interests. The questions included are just a starting point.

Essential Questions

How were the choices regarding slavery affecting the entire nation?

Common Core Standards

English/Language Arts: History/Social Studies. 9-12

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.9 Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.9 Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.

Content Standards