U.S. History: Civil War- The Gettysburg Address

This lesson focuses on the drafting of the Gettysburg Address in Pennsylvania, November 1863. Students will analyze a historical document and draw conclusions about what this document was for, who created it, and why. Students will compare the two drafts to each other and discuss the significance of differences in wording. Students will then read the standard version which is inscribed in the Lincoln Memorial.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
8.76
Describe Abraham Lincoln's presidency and his significant writings and speeches, including his House Divided speech in 1858, Gettysburg Address in 1863, Emancipation...
TSS.ELA.4.RL.CS.5
Explain major differences between poems, drama, and stories, and refer to the structural elements when writing or speaking about a text.
TSS.ELA.4.RL.IKI.9
Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes, topics, and patterns of events in stories from different cultures.
TSS.ELA.4.RL.KID.1
Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly; refer to details and examples in a text when drawing inferences from...
TSS.ELA.4.W.PDW.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
TSS.ELA.4.W.RBPK.9
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research, applying grade 4 standards for reading.
TSS.ELA.4.W.TTP.1
Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
TSS.ELA.8.RI.CS.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of a...
TSS.ELA.8.RI.IKI.9
Analyze a case in which two or more texts provide conflicting information on the same topic and identify where the texts disagree on matters of fact or...
TSS.ELA.8.RL.KID.1
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw logical inferences; support an interpretation of a text by citing relevant textual evidence.
TSS.ELA.8.W.PDW.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
TSS.ELA.8.W.RBPK.9
Support interpretations, analyses, reflections, or research with evidence found in literature or informational texts, applying grade 8 standards for...
TSS.ELA.8.W.TTP.1
Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
 
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
 
Learning objectives: 

The learner will:

  • Examine documents as primary sources;
  • Analyze and compare drafts;
  • Describe the significance of changes to the document’s text

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Applying
Extension suggestions: 
  • Have students write a response to the Gettysburg Address. Writing prompt—If you had been in the crowd that day, how would you have felt? Are those feelings different than the ones you have now—looking back over 150 years later?
  • View the video, 273 Words to a New America.
  • For one reaction to the speech, read Edward Everett to Abraham Lincoln [November 20, 1863].
  • And for a lighter approach, view this “Kindergarten Cop” Gettysburg Address scene.

Helpful Hints

Materials:

  • Nicolay Copy of Gettysburg Address
  • "Hay Draft" of Gettysburg Address
  • Standard Copy Inscribed at Lincoln Memorial
  • The Gettysburg Address: Making Comparisons handout
  • Teacher’s copy of The Gettysburg Address: Making Comparisons handout
  • The Gettysburg Address
  • Primary Documents in American History: Gettysburg Address
  • The Civil War In America: November 1863 – April 1865