Iowa's Influence on pre-Civil War tension and how it contributed to the start of the Civil War
Lesson Plan Item
|Grade||11th Grade||Class||U.S. History||Length of Lesson||1-2 Days|
|Lesson Title||Iowa's Influence on pre-Civil War tension and how it contributed to the start of the Civil War|
|Unit Compelling Question||Was the Civil War avoidable based on the conflicts occurring in America?|
This flag, in the collection of the Carnegie Historical Museum, displays the names of Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin, the Republican nominees for president and vice president in 1860. It was carried in a Wide Awakes rally held in Fairfield, Iowa, attended by close to 25,000 people. The Wide Awakes were a youth organization that supported the Republican Party during the 1860 presidential election. The organization used social events, ideas of brotherhood and even promotional comic books to promote its political ideas among younger voters.
The two decades leading up to the Civil War threatened the very existence of the United States. Sectional divisions between North and South, primarily but not exclusively, over the issue of slavery, created distrust of the national political system on both sides. Iowa quickly became embroiled in the sectional struggles.
When Iowa applied for statehood in 1846, its boundary lines became an issue. Iowans wanted large-state boundaries. The South supported those because it meant fewer western free states carved out of the Louisiana Purchase, consequently fewer Northern senators in Congress. For the opposite reason, Northern interests wanted a small state and more free-state senators. After a two-year struggle, a compromise gave Iowa its current borders. A major disruption emerged in 1854 with the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act that potentially opened lands west of Iowa to slavery and reformed the state's political parties. The Republican Party emerged in the Midwest committed to the non-extension of slavery but not repeal where it existed. As the westernmost outpost of Northern settlers heading to "bleeding Kansas," the town of Tabor in southwest Iowa became a supply post for anti-slave forces. The militant John Brown who led an failed slave revolt in Harper's Ferry, Virginia, that inflamed the South trained his small force for months in Iowa. All across the state, the network of the underground railroad helped slaves escaping across Iowa's southern to safety enroute to Canada.
While many Iowans were opposed to an extension of slavery to western territories, only a small percentage were abolitionists committed to ending slavery in the South. Quaker and Congregationalists from New England were strongest in their opposition to the South's "peculiar institution", but the large majority of Iowans were staunchly opposed to equal rights for blacks. The state passed some extremely harsh "black codes" to discourage African-American settlement. When fighting broke out at Ft. Sumter in the Charleston, SC, harbor, Iowans rallied to Lincoln's call to save the Union but they were not signing up to abolish slavery. It took four years of fighting to change attitudes to the point that black men were granted the vote in 1868.
~ Dr. Tom Morain, Graceland University
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|Lesson Themes||No themes are assigned for this lesson.|
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|Author||Eric Jones||Reviewer||Dr. Lisa Millsaps, University of Northern Iowa||Created||03/27/2019||Last Edited||08/22/2019|
|Lesson Plan Development Notes: Teaching Methods, University of Northern Iowa, Fall 2018|