The Pre-Civil War Era (Classroom Lesson)

The Pre-Civil War Era
A Divided Nation (1849-1861)
Lesson 1
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Slide 1: Slide
History9th Grade

This lesson contains 28 slides, with interactive quizzes, text slides and 1 video.

time-iconLesson duration is: 45 min

Items in this lesson

The Pre-Civil War Era
A Divided Nation (1849-1861)
Lesson 1

Slide 1 - Slide

What do you know about
the The Pre-Civil War Era?

Slide 2 - Mind map

Learning objective
At the end of this lesson you'll understand and will be able to explain the differences between the regions before the Civil War

Slide 3 - Slide

What did you learn so far?
A few questions to refresh your memory

Slide 4 - Slide

When did it happen?
Declaration of Independence

Slide 5 - Quiz

When did it happen?
Boston Tea Party

Slide 6 - Quiz

Pre-Civil War Era
  • Period between the late 18th century and 1861
  • Periode before the Civil War (1861-1865)
  • Economic growth in the Southern States 
  • Rise of the plantation system and the use of slave labor
Click on the image to enlarge

Slide 7 - Slide

Industry in the North
  • Agriculture was difficult in the North
  • Textile factories were build to meet the demand of the grewing population
  • The most important raw material, cotton, was imported from the South
  • The cotton was made into clothes in the North
  • Southern products were sold through the Northern harbors 

Slide 8 - Slide

Agriculture in the South
  • The agrarian economy was feudal and traditional
  • Some grain and wheat were cultivated, but the economic heavy weight rested with the wealthy landowners who grew cotton and tobacco with slaves.
  • Because of these low labor costs, there was little need for factories

Slide 9 - Slide

  • After the War of Independence (1775–1783), slavery seemed to be doomed, also in the South. 
  • The cultivation of tobacco and rice, for which slaves were used, was rarely profitable.
  • Some slaveholders were inspired by the principles of the Revolution and let their slaves go.

Slide 10 - Slide

Cotton Gin
  • Before cotton can be used the fibers have to separated from the seeds 

  • It took a single slave about ten hours to separate a single pound of fiber from the seeds
  • Two or three slaves using a Cotton Gin (Eli Whitney, 1793) could produce around fifty pounds of cotton in just one day

Slide 11 - Slide

How does the Cotton Gin work?
Cotton balls enter the gin
Wire teeth pull the seeds from the bolls
The cotton fiber and seeds are seperated

Slide 12 - Slide

  • The invention of the Cotton Gin caused massive growth in the production of cotton in South: from 3000 bales in 1790 to 400,000 bales in 1820
  • Cotton became a very profitable product (again)
  • As a result, more slaves were needed to pick cotton
  • The number of slaves increased from 700,000 in 1790 to 3.2 million in 1850

Slide 13 - Slide

Revival of slavery
  • Already in 1800, most slaves were working in the cotton
  • A minority was domestic help or laborer on a sugar or reed plantation. 
  • Until 1808, plantation owners imported many slaves from Africa 
  • This was prohibited after 1808, so plantation owners were 'breeding' slaves or used illegal trade routes from Africa for new slaves

    Slide 14 - Slide

    Treatment of slaves (I)
    • Slaves were lawless: slaves were treated as possessions, not as human beings
    • They were not allowed to travel without the permission of their master, did not marry before the law.

    Slide 15 - Slide

    Treatment of slaves (II)
    • The life of most slaves was working 'from sun to sun'. 
    • If they did not do enough, they could be whipped to blood.

    • A normal family life was often impossible.
    • It was very normal that men, women and children were separated, because they were sold to different slaveholders.

    Slide 16 - Slide

    Treatment of free blacks
    • Free blacks were also discriminated
    • They were not allowed to own slaves in many federal states, carry weapons, attend education or testify against whites.
    • In the North, the legislation was more flexible, but they were also discriminated there. 

    Slide 17 - Slide

    • Despite their terrible fate, few slaves openly rebelled

    • The blacks were a minority, had no weapons and were difficult to organize because they lived isolated on the plantations. 
    • Rebellious behavior was punished horribly.
    • Many slaves became christians: in the afterlife a better life was waiting for them
    The revolt of Nat Turner was one of the few slave uprisings

    Slide 18 - Slide

    Looking at Nat Turner's Legacy 

    Slide 19 - Slide

    Slide 20 - Video

    Uncle Tom's Cabin
    • Written by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1852)
    • Describes the life of slaves on the plantations
    • It is an anti-slavery novel
    • The novel had a major influence on the discussion on slavery.
    • It is said the novel "helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War"

    Slide 21 - Slide

    Underground Railroad 
    • A secret network of smuggling routes in the United States to help escape slaves from the South
    • Escaped slaves could leave the Southern States and seek refuge in Northern States that protected runaway slaves.
    • The Underground Railroad consisted of hiding addresses, safe houses and other facilities

    Slide 22 - Slide

    • antebellum
    • slavery
    • plantatation
    • Cotton Gin
    • Underground Railroad

    Slide 23 - Slide

    Underground Railroad

    Slide 24 - Open question

    Important events
    • 1793: Invention Cotton Gin
    • 1853: Uncle Tom's Cabin is published

    Slide 25 - Slide

    Important persons
    • El Whitney
    • Harriet Beecher Stowe

    Slide 26 - Slide

    Write down three things 
    • Harriet Beecher Stowe
    • Harriet Beecher Stowe
    • Harriet Beecher Stowe
    you have learned this lesson

    Slide 27 - Open question

    Write down one question about 
    • Harriet Beecher Stowe
    • Harriet Beecher Stowe
    • Harriet Beecher Stowe
    something you haven't understood so well

    Slide 28 - Open question