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Lesson Plans

Title: Sectionalism, Popular Sovereignty, and Secession

Grades: Middle and High School
Download the Complete Lesson Plan (.pdf, 524KB)

Kansas History Standards (Middle and High School):

  • KH8B3I3 describe the influence of pro- and
    antislavery ideas on territorial Kansas


See lesson plan.



  • Understand the sequence of national events that
    resulted in the Civil War.


  • Using primary sources (federal documents)
  • Timeline
  • Mapmaking
Focus Questions Assessment Tools
  • Why did the Civil War begin in 1861?
  • If the Kansas-Nebraska Act had not been passed,
    what affect would that have had on
  • Students will retrace the events that led from
    sectionalism to secession and briefly describe
    how the events affected the people of Kansas
  1. Distribute lesson packets to groups of students. Students need to read the Background Information pages
    and the primary source documents before proceeding with this lesson.
  2. Working as groups, have students map the regions affected by the Missouri Compromise, the Compromise
    of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the Dred Scott Decision.
  3. Lead a class discussion on how history would have been different if any of these legislative or legal issues
    had been different. Students will then write their own essays on this topic.
  4. Using the Background Information pages, the primary source documents, and the Mapping Activity pages,
    student groups will create a historical timeline for events from 1820 to 1861.

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