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Real Cool History Detectives – Part 1

Week 1: Our Divided Country – The Beginning of the Civil War

The Real Cool History for Kids team welcomes you to the first installment of the Real Cool History Detectives Exploring the American Civil War miniseries. The goal of this exploration is to bring your family an immersive learning experience that will walk with you through the years surrounding the American Civil War. 

In this first week of exploration, we encourage you to prepare for our fourteen-week journey together by reading through all of the miniseries information. We have created the tools you will need to gain the most from this experience. 

Please click on each of the links below to download and print the Miniseries Resources and the Parents’ Guide which contains the overview of the entire miniseries and the instructions for each of the recurring weekly activities (including Week 1). 

Miniseries Resources and Parents’ Guide

Please download and print these FREE resources to be used throughout the Exploring the American Civil War unit.

Week 1 Episode, Resources, and Study Guide

Listen to the NEW episode

Week 1 Resources

* These links will take you to other websites.

Discussion Questions for after Podcast Episode 114: 

  • What does the word “civil” usually mean? (kind, considerate, acceptable behavior)
  • When did slavery become part of the world’s culture and why did many people feel it didn’t belong in America? (Slavery began the Ancient Times, and many people didn’t feel it belonged in a country based on principles of “liberty for all.”)
  • What United States President signed the Missouri Compromise? (President Monroe) 
  • What did this compromise try to accomplish and did it work? (It was meant to balance the number of slave states and free states, and it worked for a little while.)
  • Who was the abolitionist extremist who tried to take over the arsenal at Harpers Ferry and what was he trying to accomplish? (John Brown. He was trying to cause a large-scale slave uprising.)
  • What happened in California to cause a sudden growth in population and how did this affect the journey to statehood? (The Gold Rush of 1848. President Taylor suggested that California skip the steps usually taken to obtain statehood and go straight to becoming a free state.)
  • When California was named a free state, how did the Southern states respond? (They were angry because they. had helped elect President Taylor, a slave owner himself.)
  • Why did the Southern States say they were leaving the Union and did they? (They didn’t want the government telling them they couldn’t own slaves. The slaves were part of their way of life and how they made their money. They did leave when President Lincoln was elected because they believed it was one step closer to the government taking away their right to own slaves or be able to operate their government at the state level.) 
  • Who was elected as President of the United States right before the Civil War began, and was he a staunch abolitionist at that time? (Abraham Lincoln, who was anti-slavery but not a staunch abolitionist yet, was elected as President before the Civil War. His election added to the division with the South.)
  • Where were the first shots of the Civil War fired? Explain what happened. (Fort Sumter, South Carolina. The Confederates ceased control of this Federal fort and demanded the surrender of the Federal (Union) troops inside.)
  • Geography Connection: Find the Appalachian Mountains on a map of the United States of America. Talk about how America grew and spread out to the west coast between 1800 and 1850.

Don’t miss a thing…

America’s Story Connection

America’s Story 2 has several chapters about the time period surrounding the Civil War.

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