Lesson 2: People and Places in the North and South

More Americans lost their lives in the Civil War than in any other conflict. How did the United States arrive at a point at which the South seceded and some families were so fractured that brother fought brother?

A complex series of events led to the Civil War. The lessons in this unit are designed to help students develop a foundation on which to understand the basic disagreements between North and South. Through the investigation of primary source documents —photographs, census information and other archival documents—students gain an appreciation of everyday life in the North and South, changes occurring in the lives of ordinary Americans, and some of the major social and economic issues of the years before the Civil War.

Guiding Questions

What differences existed between ordinary Americans living in the North and those living in the South in the years before the Civil War?

What important issues are reflected in the differences between life in the North and the South? What kinds of changes were taking place in the United States at the time?

Learning Objectives

After completing the lessons in this unit, students will be able to: List three differences and three similarities between life in the North and the South in the years before the Civil War.

Discuss how these differences contributed to serious disagreements between the North and South.