University of Alabama professor Lesley Gordon discusses the Lost Cause and provides and overview of the memory of the Civil War.
This lesson plan opens with reflective questions that ask students to reflect on historical storytelling and how historical narratives can shift. Students then watch, analyze, and respond to an introductory video that presents an overview of Civil War memory and the Lost Cause myth. Next, students engage in an engagement activity, where they choose to study two of five topics that detail specific aspects of Civil War memory, including the three phases of the Lost Cause myth, the roles of veterans, and the construction of monuments. The lesson concludes with three reflective video clips that detail the roles of northerners and African Americans, before students respond to a summative writing prompt.
This lesson offers several options for you to use with your students whether you are teaching in class, using a hybrid model, or engaging through distance learning. It can be completed in steps as a class or students can move at their own pace and complete the activities independently.
You can post links to the videos in the lesson along with the related handout and engage in discussion to share responses on a discussion board or learning management system.
You can also save and share the following Google resource for students to use with this lesson.
Handout: Graphic Organizer (Google Doc).
In Google, choose "File" then "Make a Copy" to get your own copy. You can make any needed adjustments in the instructions such as which activities students need to complete, when it is due, etc. and then make it available to them via Google.
Pose the following brainstorming questions to your students, directing them to record their responses in their graphic organizer, share with a partner, and then with the class if they choose.
Play this introductory video clip [Clip #1] (5:05) of University of Alabama professor Lesley Gordon discussing the Lost Cause and providing an overview of the memory of the Civil War. Direct your students to answer the following questions on their graphic organizer.
Direct your students to their graphic organizers to view and define the vocabulary terms that will appear in the lesson in the chart in their graphic organizer handout. The vocabulary words are also listed to the right on this webpage. We recommend having your students define and present the terms in a jigsaw activity to save time.
Depending on time and resources, you may consider having your students define and present the terms in a Frayer's Model activity, where each student takes one or two items. Students can then post their models around the room for reference throughout the lesson. Note: This is not an all-encompassing list of terms included in each video. We recommend you previewing the video clips to determine any necessary additions/subtractions to this list for your specific students.
Direct students to the engagement section of their graphic organizers. Have students choose (or you can assign) two of the five listed topics that focus on specific aspects of Civil War memory. Instruct your students to view the video clips, take notes, and answer the related questions in their graphic organizers. Direct your students to prepare a presentation to share their findings with the class when finished. Note: each clip features University of Alabama professor Lesley Gordon.
Clip #2: Mourning and Death (1:10).
Clip #3: Causes of Loss (2:46).
Clip #4: Virginia (4:00).
Clip #5: Scapegoat (1:11).
Clip #6: Organized Groups (2:29).
Clip #7: Women (3:11).
Clip #8: Veterans (3:30).
Clip #9: Memorial Day (1:25).
Clip #10: Monument Building (4:03).
Clip #11: 1951 Monument (3:15).
Allow time for your students to prepare and share their presentations from the engagement section of the lesson. Then, direct your students to view the following three clips that offer reflective thoughts.
Have your students record their notes and answers to the questions in their graphic organizers and share with a partner, small group, or the class.
Clip #12: The Union (4:01).
Clip #13: African Americans (2:53).
Clip #14: Gettysburg Anniversary (2:59).
After your students are finished with the reflective clips, direct them to complete the final culminating writing prompt in their graphic organizers, and have students share their responses, comparing their perspectives with their classmates' perspectives: Having now learned about the shifts of the Lost Cause and Civil War memory, describe how historical memory can change. Be sure to include evidence from the video clips and your research to support your response.