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The Rhetoric of Abraham Lincoln DBQ

85 min
  • Students will examine Abraham Lincoln’s views on the American founding as revealed in his rhetoric.
  • Students will analyze to what extent Lincoln’s rhetoric reveals that he considered the Civil War a second American founding.
  • Students will analyze primary source documents by answering comprehension questions.
  • Students will practice answering DBQ essay specific examples from the text.

Handout A: Document Packet

  • Fragment on the Constitution and Union, January 1860
  • Address at Cooper Union, February 27, 1860
  • First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861
  • Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863
  • Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863
  • Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865

Students can work individually, in pairs, or small groups as they analyze documents. The final reflection questions should be completed individually.

Direct students to the key question for this lesson at the top of Handout A: To what extent does Lincoln’s rhetoric reveal that he considered the Civil War a second American founding?

Students will then read Document 1: Lincoln’s fragment on the Constitution and Union, January 1860, and answer the accompanying questions.

Students will read the remaining documents in Handout A and answer the accompanying comprehension questions.

Each student will outline their response to the following prompt: To what extent does Lincoln’s rhetoric reveal that he considered the Civil War a second American founding? The essay must make specific citations to the texts to support each claim which is made in the essay.

Student will conduct a peer review of the essay outline written by a partner using the DBQ rubric from the College Board as a guide.