Election of 1864 High School Inquiry Lesson Plan

Grades: High School

Approximate Length of Time: 3 hours

Goal: Students will be able to discuss the events that contributed to Lincoln’s 1864 re-election.


  1. Students will be able to complete a graphic organizer, finding key information within primary and secondary sources.
  2. Students will be able to address a question about a historic event, providing evidence from primary and secondary sources.

Common Core Standards:

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.

Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.

Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.

Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.

Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.

Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

NCSS Standards for Social Studies:

2—Time, Continuity, and Change
3—People, Places, and Environment
5—Individuals, Groups, and Institutions
6—Power, Authority, and Governance
10—Civic Ideals and Practices


This is an inquiry lesson where students will do research to answer the inquiry question about a major turning point in the American Civil War. Students will develop a hypothesis, search for evidence in multiple primary and secondary sources, and complete a graphic organizer. Through this process, students will develop a strong answer to the inquiry question posed at the beginning.

Inquiry Question:

What events, actions, and/or ideas helped Lincoln win the presidential election of 1864?


  • Primary Source Documents Packet
  • Secondary Source Documents Packet
  • Graphic Organizer
  • Final Essay
  • Highlighters


  1. Have students begin with a hypothesis to answer the inquiry question.
  2. Students will then read through the Document Packets, highlighting and taking notes as well as filling out the Graphic Organizer as they progress.


Students will answer the inquiry question either orally or in essay form. They should use evidence from their primary and secondary sources. They can use the documents, their notes, and their graphic organizer. Students can do additional research to bolster their argument.

Students can share their responses with the class.

Assessment in This Lesson:

  1. A completed graphic organizer
  2. Notes taken on graphic organizer, documents, or other notes sheets
  3. A complete answer to the inquiry question with quotes from the provided documents