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Title: Popular Sovereignty and the Lecompton Constitution

Grades: 6-8
Download the Complete Lesson Plan (.pdf, 377KB)

Social Studies:

  • KH8B3I1-8: Explains the concept of popular
    sovereignty under the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
  • CG12B4I4: Examines issues regarding political
Reading8S1B4I8: Explains cause-effect
relationships in appropriate-level expository texts.


  • The Kansas-Nebraska Act allowed popular
    sovereignty to determine the issue of slavery for
    the state of Kansas.


  • cause and effect
  • reading comprehension (organize and analyze
  • problem solving
Focus Questions Assessment Tools
  • How was the issue of slavery to be decided in
  • What threatened the success of popular
    sovereignty in Kansas Territory?
  • Cause and effect graphic organizer
  • Compare, contrast, and analyze graphic
  1. Quickly review the Kansas-Nebraska Act, popular sovereignty, and the steps in developing a constitution in
    Kansas Territory (see the Teaching Instructions section of this lesson).
  2. Use the Student Reading and the cause & effect worksheet, “Making Sense of the Lecompton Constitution,”
    to explore the creation of the Lecompton Constitution.
  3. Assign groups of students to use the 1858 Congressional Debate cards and the worksheet “Congress Must
    Act!” to analyze the Lecompton Constitution in terms of popular sovereignty. Have students share
    possible solutions they believe Congress should have considered.
  4. Tell the class what Congress actually decided and the final outcome for the Lecompton Constitution using
    information in the teaching background portion of this lesson.

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