Unit 5: Crisis and Civil War

The Crisis and Civil War unit covers three weeks of class time and deals with the final showdown on slavery and federal versus state power. Covered here are the westward expansion that led to the Mexican-American War; the way the new territories put new pressures on slavery compromises and finally, with the election of Abraham Lincoln, the secession of the Southern states and the Civil War.  Time period: 1840 through 1865.
The Crisis and Civil War unit contains three week-long sections:
the Manifest Destiny section examines the expansion of territory in the 1840's.
the Crisis section focuses on the dramatic events of the 1850's, leading to the breakup of the Union.
the Civil War section examines military, economic and social impacts of the conflict.

Go to each section's home page to see a further breakdown into daily lesson plans.

  • During the Antebellum Era, population and economic pressures kept Americans moving westward - eventually resulting in the Mexican-American War. 
  • During the 1850's, the various slavery compromises became unworkable. A succession of weak Presidents were unable to bring the nation together.
  • The first major war fought during the Industrial Age, the American Civil War sees the end of state's rights and the beginning of true federal power.