7.8 - A Nation Divided

From EngageNY

Westward expansion, the industrialization of the North, and the increase of slavery in the South contributed to the growth of sectionalism. Constitutional conflicts between advocates of states’ rights and supporters of federal power increased tensions in the nation; attempts to compromise ultimately failed to keep the nation together, leading to the Civil War.

Early United States industrialization affected different parts of the country in different ways. Regional economic differences and values, as well as different conceptions of the Constitution, laid the basis for tensions between states’ rights advocates and supporters of a strong federal government.
  • Students will examine regional economic differences as they related to industrialization.
7.8b As the nation expanded geographically, the question of slavery in new territories and states led to increased sectional tensions. Attempts at compromise ended in failure.
  • Students will examine attempts at resolving conflicts over whether new territories would permit slavery, including the Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
  • Students will examine growing sectional tensions, including the decision in Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857) and the founding of the Republican Party.
7.8c Perspectives on the causes of the Civil War varied based on geographic region, but the election of a Republican president was one of the immediate causes for the secession of the Southern states.
  • Students will examine both long- and short-term causes of the Civil War.
  • Students will identify which states seceded to form the Confederate States of America and will explore the reasons presented for secession. Students will also identify the states that remained in the Union.
  • Students will examine the role of New York State in the Civil War, including its contributions to the war effort and the controversy over the draft.
7.8d The course and outcome of the Civil War were influenced by strategic leaders from both the North and South, decisive battles, and military strategy and technology that utilized the region's geography.
  • Students will compare the advantages and disadvantages of the North and the South at the outset of the Civil War.
  • Students will examine the goals and content of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
  • Students will examine how the use of various technologies affected the conduct and outcome of the Civil War.
  • Students will examine the enlistment of freed slaves and how this helped to change the course of the Civil War.
  • Students will examine the topography and geographic conditions at Gettysburg and Antietam, and analyze the military strategies employed by the North and the South at Gettysburg or Antietam.
7.8e The Civil War affected human lives, physical infrastructure, economic capacity, and governance of the United States.
  • Students will examine the roles of women, civilians, and free African Americans during the Civil War.
  • Students will examine the aftermath of the war in terms of destruction, effect on population, and economic capacity by comparing effects of the war on New York State and Georgia.
  • Students will explain how events of the Civil War led to the establishment of federal supremacy.

Supporting Materials


Forward, 54th!

Written and directed by Mary Hall Surface, the play Forward, 54th! was commissioned by the National Gallery of Art in 2013 in honor of the exhibition Tell It with Pride: The 54th Massachusetts Regiment and Augustus Saint-Gaudens' Shaw Memorial. The Gallery staged 24...


The Civil War: Episodes 1-5

This is the first half of a 6 disc set.

Disc 1
Episode One: The Cause (1861)

The stage is set for war as the nation begins to tear apart. Commanding center stage are towering figures—Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E....


The Civil War: Episodes 6-9

This is the second half of a 6 disc set.

Disc 4
Episode Six: Valley of the Shadow of Death (1864)

It's a chess game between two masters. The Union's General Grant and the Confederacy's General Lee are a study in contrasts as they vie for victory. In...


Tillie Pierce: Teen Eyewitness to the Battle of Gettysburg

Imagine being fifteen years old, facing the bloodiest battle ever to take place on U.S. soil: the Battle of Gettysburg. In July 1863, this is exactly what happened to Tillie Pierce, a normal teenager who became an unlikely heroine of the Civil War (1861-1865). Tillie and other women and girls...

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EngageNY.org is developed and maintained by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) to support the implementation of key aspects of the New York State Board of Regents Reform Agenda.

This is the official web site for current materials and resources related to the Regents Reform Agenda. The agenda includes the implementation of the New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS), Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (TLE), and Data-Driven Instruction (DDI). EngageNY.org is dedicated to providing educators across New York State with real-time, professional learning tools and resources to support educators in reaching the State’s vision for a college and career ready education for all students.