Sunday, April 10, 2011

Curriculum Resource: The 150th Anniversary of the US Civil War

This weeks begins the official start of the American Civil War Sesquicentennial (150th Anniversary).  While academics debate when the war became inevitable, all agree that it definitely began with the Confederate takeover of the federal forces in command of Fort Sumter in South Carolina, which took place on April 12-13, 1861.

This is a sad, often touchy, but critical event in American history.  Fortunately, because of the sesquicentennial, there are even more resources to help you explain this pivotal time in US history to your middle schooler.

The following are some resources to add to your Civil War education:

The official website for the Civil War Sesquicentennial has a daily calendar, articles on major themes, and a compilation of sesquicentennial events in 20 eastern states.

The New York Times is running a blog entitled Disunion, which recounts the events leading up to and during the Civil War on a day by day basis.

The Washington Post is also running a great series on the Civil War, including an article about Five Myths About Why the South Seceded.

And, of course, I've already written in a previous post about the many Civil War re-enactments and special events taking place in our National Parks and Historical Places.

This week, however, the focus is on Fort Sumter.  If you can't make it there in person, get an idea about the place with this video by the National Park Service.

As I said earlier, this is a tough subject to cover with your children or students.  But I think it is a good time to take advantage of the extra activities being run by many federal and state organizations to help give our middle schoolers a better appreciation of this critical time in our national history.

UPDATE (4/11/11):
Today's Washington Post has an interesting article about how differently the Civil War is taught across the country.

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