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Duration
30-60 minutes
Topic(s)
  • Civil War
  • Constitution
  • Politics
Grade(s)
  • 6-12

  1. Divide students into small groups.
  2. Tell them: As President Lincoln worked toward balancing the goals of preserving the Union and ending slavery, he turned to the press to explain the challenges he faced and to defend his methods. The issue came to a head in a striking and unusual exchange of "open letters" between abolitionist and publisher Horace Greeley and the ever-pragmatic Lincoln.
  3. Project the Lincoln-Greeley newspaper images on the board or share the lesson link for students at individual computers. (Click on each image below to view or to download a pdf of it.) Have students examine each newspaper and complete the worksheet. Have each group share their answers. Possible prompts are in Discussion Questions.

  • Did you find Greeley’s letter persuasive? Why or why not?
  • How is Greeley's letter organized? Do you think this organization is effective?
  • Do you think the length of Lincoln's letter is a strength or a weakness? Why?
  • What is the role of the press during war? How has technology affected news coverage of war today?
  • How do these front pages compare with a modern newspaper front page? Where do editorials and letters typically appear in today's newspapers?
  • How does their placement compare with the website of an online news source?

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