Lesson 4: Life Before the Civil War

In the decade-and-a-half prior to the Civil War, the United States saw dramatic changes in industrialization in the North, and a rapid increase in transportation (rail and steamship) all over the country. It was also a time when the country was absorbing new territorial acquisitions, and lifestyle differences and attitudes between North and South were becoming more pronounced.

Students interested in extending the comparison between North and South can compare the Northern community of Franklin, Pa., and the Southern community of Augusta, Va., by exploring the documents in the Valley of the Shadow. Both communities were in the greater Shenandoah Valley, yet had pronounced differences as well as some similarities.

Guiding Questions

What were some of the important technological innovations and social trends before the start of the Civil War?

Learning Objectives

Demonstrate knowledge of life before the Civil War, with an emphasis on differences between the North and South.