A Civil War Gazette

A Civil War Gazette
Mary Lincoln: Law, Politics and Govt

Skill: Middle School
Time Required: Three or four class periods


Mary Todd Lincoln lived both during the time when national stresses and strains built up to the Civil War and during the time when the aftermath of the War changed the United States forever.  She personally experienced many of these strains, especially when she was accused of favoring the South because her relatives were Confederate sympathizers.  She was, however, always a supporter of emancipation.


The purpose of this lesson is to allow students to discover and explain the background as well as the process of the ratification of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution.

Materials Required:

Access to the Internet Access to print research materials Mary Todd Lincoln biography


The classroom is the newsroom of a major news broadside, The Civil War Gazette which will be published to assist students develop an understanding of the background and process of ratification of the Emancipation Proclamation, and the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution.  There needs to be a News Editor, a Features Writer(s), a Political Correspondent(s), and a Photojournalist(s) for each of the following issues of concern:

  • The Emancipation Proclamation
  • The Thirteenth Amendment
  • The Fourteenth Amendment
  • The Fifteenth Amendment 

At least one page of coverage should be dedicated to each of these.  The teacher may assign students to each news team or students may select on their own.  News stories, feature articles, “interviews,” and photos or sketches can assist in the explanation of these momentous documents in American History.

Extending the Lesson:

The teacher may choose for students to utilize technology (such as PowerPoint) to display their research rather than the creation of a Gazette.

Sources & Resources:


(Map of free and slave states, historical information, original text) 
(Background history on the 13th Amendment, full text of Sections 1 and 2)
(Abolition of slavery, origin and purpose of the Amendment)
(Essay:  “Life After the Thirteenth Amendment” and references to the 14th and 15th Amendments)

(Sections of the Amendment, including Due Process and Equal Protection clauses)
(Links to members of the Radical Republicans, Lincoln’s Reconstruction Plan, and issues revolving around the 14th Amendment) 



proposal and ratification


This lesson was created by Dr. Averil McClelland and developed by Bette Brooks, Kent State University.