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 Students will analyze a historical document and draw conclusions about what this document was for, who created it, and why.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...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.8.1
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.8.3
Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.8.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.8.6
Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.4.4
Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.1
Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.2
Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.8
Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.1
Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.10
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction at the high end of the grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.6
Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.8
Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.8.9
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...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.1
Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.3
Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts,...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.5
Explain major differences between poems, drama, and prose, and refer to the structural elements of poems (e.g., verse, rhythm, meter) and drama...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.9
Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics (e.g., opposition of good and evil) and patterns of events (e.g., the quest) in...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.9
Compare and contrast stories in the same genre (e.g., mysteries and adventure stories) on their approaches to similar themes and topics.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.1
Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.5
Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.9
Analyze how a modern work of fiction draws on themes, patterns of events, or character types from myths, traditional stories, or religious works such...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.8.1
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts,...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.8.3
Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance and sufficiency of the evidence and...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.8.4
Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.8.6
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grade 8 Language...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.1
Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.10
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two)...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.5
With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing. (Editing for conventions...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.6
With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.7
Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.9
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.5
With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.6
With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.1
Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.5
With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.7
Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.8
Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.9
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
GLE 0401.1.2
Demonstrate knowledge of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, and usage of words and phrases.
GLE 0401.3.1
Write for a variety of purposes and to a variety of audiences.
GLE 0401.3.2
Write in a variety of modes and genres (e.g., narration, description, personal expression, imaginative writing, response to literature, response to subject...
GLE 0401.3.3
Know and apply the steps of the writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, evaluating, and publishing.
GLE 0401.4.1
Conduct research to access and present information.
GLE 0401.4.2
Collect, organize, and determine the reliability of researched information.
GLE 0401.4.3
Present research results in a written report.
GLE 0401.8.1
Use active comprehension strategies to derive meaning while reading and check for understanding after reading.
GLE 0401.8.3
Know and understand the basic characteristics of the genres studied.
GLE 0501.3.1
Write for a variety of purposes and to different audiences.
GLE 0501.3.3
Know and apply the steps of the writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, evaluating, and publishing.
GLE 0501.8.2
Experience various literary genres, including fiction and nonfiction, poetry, drama, chapter books, biography/autobiography, short stories, folk tales, myths,...
GLE 0801.1.1
Demonstrate control of Standard English through grammar usage, and mechanics (punctuation, capitalization, and spelling).
GLE 0801.2.7
Participate in work teams and group discussions.
GLE 0801.3.3
Organize ideas into an essay with an introduction, developing paragraphs, conclusion, and appropriate transitions.
GLE 0801.3.4
Refine strategies for editing and revising written work.
GLE 0801.4.2
Gather relevant information from a variety of print and electronic sources, as well as from direct observation, interviews, and surveys.
GLE 0801.4.3
Make distinctions about the credibility, reliability, consistency, strengths, and limitations of resources, including information gathered from websites.
GLE 0801.5.5
Explore the concept of premises, including false premises.
SPI 0401.1.13
Recognize and use grade appropriate vocabulary within context.
SPI 0401.3.8
Select appropriate time-order or transitional words to enhance the flow of a writing sample.
SPI 0401.5.5
Make inferences and draw appropriate conclusions from text.
SPI 0401.8.2
Identify characters, setting, and plot in a passage.
SPI 0801.1.16
Use context clues and/or knowledge of roots and affixes to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.
SPI 0801.1.19
Recognize and use grade appropriate and/or content specific vocabulary.
SPI 0801.1.2
Identify the correct use of verbs (i.e., action/linking, regular/irregular, agreement, perfect tenses, verb phrases) within context.
SPI 0801.2.4
Determine the most effective methods of engaging an audience during an oral presentation (e.g., making eye contact, adjusting speaking rate).
SPI 0801.2.7
Select the most appropriate strategies for participating productively in a team (e.g., gain the floor in orderly ways, meet or set deadlines for completing each...
SPI 0801.2.8
Identify the functions and responsibilities of individuals within an organized group (i.e., reporter, recorder, information gatherer, leader, timekeeper).
SPI 0801.3.11
Identify individual written selections as technical, narrative, persuasive, and/or descriptive in mode.
SPI 0801.3.5
Select appropriate time-order or transitional words/phrases to enhance the flow of a writing sample.
SPI 0801.3.8
Select vivid words to strengthen a description (adjective or adverb) within a writing sample or passage.
SPI 0801.3.9
Select illustrations, explanations, anecdotes, descriptions and/or facts to support key ideas.
SPI 0801.4.2
Identify levels of reliability among resources (e.g., eyewitness account, newspaper account, supermarket tabloid account, Internet source).
SPI 0801.5.9
Make inferences and draw conclusions based on evidence in text.
SPI 0801.8.13
Determine the influence of culture and ethnicity on the themes and issues of literary texts.
SPI 0801.8.14
Identify the authors purpose for writing.
SPI 0801.8.5
Analyze the development of similar themes across two or more literary texts.
SPI 0801.8.7
Identify and analyze examples of literary elements that shape meaning within context (i.e., flashback, foreshadowing, irony, mood, symbolism, tone).
SPI 0801.8.8
Analyze figurative language (i.e., idiom, metaphor, simile, personification, hyperbole, pun) within context.
TSS.ELA.4.FL.F.5
Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
TSS.ELA.4.RI.CS.5
Describe the overall structure of events, ideas, and concepts of information in a text or part of a text.
TSS.ELA.4.RI.IKI.9
Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
TSS.ELA.4.RI.KID.1
Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly; refer to details and examples in the text when drawing inferences...
TSS.ELA.4.RI.KID.3
Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific...
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.RL.KID.3
Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in a text, such as a character's thoughts, words, or...
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.PDW.5
With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
TSS.ELA.4.W.PDW.6
With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing, as well as to interact and collaborate...
TSS.ELA.4.W.RBPK.7
Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
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.RW.10
Write routinely over extended time frames for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences; promote writing fluency.
TSS.ELA.4.W.TTP.1
Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
TSS.ELA.4.W.TTP.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information.
TSS.ELA.4.W.TTP.3
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using an effective technique, such as descriptive details and clear event sequences.
TSS.ELA.5.RI.IKI.9
Integrate information from two or more texts on the same topic in order to build content knowledge.
TSS.ELA.5.RL.IKI.9
Compare and contrast stories in the same genre on their approaches to similar themes and topics.
TSS.ELA.5.W.PDW.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
TSS.ELA.5.W.PDW.5
With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
TSS.ELA.5.W.PDW.6
With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing, as well as to interact and collaborate...
TSS.ELA.8.L.CSE.1
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage.
TSS.ELA.8.L.KL.3
When writing and speaking, adjust style and tone to a variety of contexts; when reading or listening, analyze stylistic choices to determine context.
TSS.ELA.8.L.VAU.5
When reading, listening, writing, and speaking, explain the function of figurative language, word relationships, and connotation/denotation and use them ...
TSS.ELA.8.L.VAU.6
Acquire and accurately use grade-appropriate general academic and domainspecific words and phrases; develop vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or...
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.CS.5
Analyze in detail the structure of a specific paragraph or section in a text, including the role of particular sentences in developing and refining a key...
TSS.ELA.8.RI.CS.6
Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.
TSS.ELA.8.RI.IKI.8
Delineate and evaluate the rgument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims and the...
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.RI.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.RI.RRTC.10
Read and comprehend a variety of literary nonfiction at the high end of the grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
TSS.ELA.8.RL.CS.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word...
TSS.ELA.8.RL.CS.5
Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style.
TSS.ELA.8.RL.CS.6
Analyze how similarities and differences in the points of view of the audience and the characters create effects such as suspense, humor, or dramatic irony.
TSS.ELA.8.RL.IKI.9
Analyze how contemporary texts are shaped by foundational texts or literary archetypes and how authors allude to traditional works, myths, or religious...
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.RL.RRTC.10
Read and comprehend a variety of literature at the high end of the grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
TSS.ELA.8.SL.CC.1
Prepare for collaborative discussions on 8th grade level topics and texts; engage effectively with varied partners, building on others' ideas and...
TSS.ELA.8.SL.CC.3
Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance and sufficiency of the evidence; identify...
TSS.ELA.8.SL.PKI.4
Present claims and findings in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence; sound, valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye...
TSS.ELA.8.SL.PKI.6
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
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.PDW.5
With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new...
TSS.ELA.8.W.RBPK.7
Conduct research to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on multiple sources and generating additional related, focused...
TSS.ELA.8.W.RBPK.8
Use search terms effectively; integrate relevant and credible information from print and digital sources; quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of...
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.
TSS.ELA.8.W.TTP.2
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of...
TSS.ELA.8.W.TTP.3
Write narratives (fiction and nonfiction) to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective techniques, relevant descriptive details, and...
 
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