Teaching Students About Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas

Teaching students about Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas is essential for any study on the Civil War or American politics. Here are some tips for teaching students about these historical figures:

1. Review the Context – Both Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas were key players in the mid-19th century American political scene, and students will benefit from an understanding of the political, social, and economic climate of the time.

2. Focus on the Debates – Lincoln and Douglas famously squared off in a series of seven debates during the 1858 Illinois senatorial campaign. Review the topics they discussed and discuss their respective viewpoints on issues such as slavery, states’ rights, and the role of the federal government.

3. Analyze Primary Sources – Primary sources such as speeches, letters, and newspaper articles can provide valuable insights into the thoughts and actions of Lincoln and Douglas. Encourage students to examine and analyze primary sources related to these historical figures.

4. Highlight Achievements – Abraham Lincoln is widely regarded as one of America’s greatest presidents, but Stephen Douglas also achieved significant political success during his career. Highlight each figure’s accomplishments and contributions to American history.

5. Foster Critical Thinking – Encourage students to think critically about the legacy of Lincoln and Douglas. Discuss the impact each figure had on American politics and society, and ask students to reflect on how their legacies continue to shape the country today.

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