Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

The Border War: Local, National, and Historical Perspectives
Jeff Miller
Civil War
Time Frame:
90 Minutes
Civil War

Grade Levels:
9, 10, 11, 12

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:
  • Students will receive a multi-faceted presentation in which they are exposed to different interpretations of the Border War.  A basic background of the border war will be presented, followed by an interpretation of the George Caleb Bingham pictures The County Election & Order #11.

  • Students in St. Louis are not often exposed to the Border War and thus have no real background knowledge of why there is a natural rivalry between Kansans and Missourians.  A lesson exploring this topic directly relates to teaching students their local heritage.  A look at the paintings, however, will also link to historical perspectives.

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:

  • Show-Me Standard 2 for Social Studies (continuity and change in the history of Missouri, the United States and the world)
  • Show-Me Standard 7 for Social Studies (the use of tools of social science inquiry)

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
  • Nicole Etcheson, Bleeding Kansas: Contested Liberty in the Civil War Era

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
  • George Caleb Bingham, “The County Election”
  • George Caleb Bingham, “Order #11”

Full description of activity or assignment.
  • The lesson will come as part of a Missouri in the Civil War unit.  The lesson is designed with a thematic rather than chronological focus and therefore would come best at the end of a seminar course where the chronology of the war has already been taught.  The lesson should unfold roughly as follows:
  • Hook: 30 Minutes.  Present the Bingham paintings previously mentioned and analyze with the ATIP (Author, Time and place, Idea, Purpose) method.  Through this process, try to lead students to 1. The chaotic nature of the county election, 2. The inclusion of African-Americans in both paintings, 3. The role of women in Order #11. Show Power Point Presentation provided.
  • Reading/Activity: 60 Minutes.  Break students into groups (3 ideally) and present excerpt of Bleeding Kansas on the Lawrence raid and the ensuing Order #11 (pp. 233-245).   Students will read the excerpt and then work on assignment for the remainder of the period.   Students might be allowed to extend work time in class, or assignment could become homework if teacher desires.
  • Assignment:  Students are to create a visual representation of Quantrill’s Lawrence raid and Order #11 from the perspective of EITHER Bushwackers or Jayhawkers. The parameters of the assignment are designed to be loose within the framework of the reading.  For example, if students wish to depict the prison collapse that supposedly led to the raid on Lawrence, that would be acceptable.  Students will then include a roughly 1 page write up of the work that will include a description of their choice and what their work is meant to convey along with how their work shows one particular perspective and differs from the facts surrounding the event.



Power Point Link


Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:
  • The overall purpose of the assignment is to show understanding of Bushwackers, Jayhawkers, and the events surrounding the raid on Lawrence and Order #11 while also challenging higher order thinking skills with regards to understanding perspectives and the formation of propaganda.  Thus, the described assignment should work as a good assessment.  I would see this assignment as a medium sized classwork/homework grade with the appropriate point value attached.  Students will be scored on their ability to follow the directions and include all of the necessary information, therefore the attached assignment introduction serves as a de facto scoring guide.


 George Caleb Bingham's Order No. 11










 George Caleb Bingham's County Election











Civil War


Border War:  Perspectives in Conflict


Directions:  After the reading from Bleeding Kansas, create a visual depiction of the Lawrence raid and Order #11.  The twist is that you are to create this depiction from the perspective of EITHER a Missouri Bushwacker or Kansas Jayhawker.  Your assignment must include all of the following to earn full points…


  • ·         A depiction of a Bushwacker/Confederate
  • ·         A depiction of a Jayhawker/Unionist
  • ·         A depiction of a power minority (such as African-Americans or women)
  • ·         A 1 page write up of your scene explaining how it depicts your side and what facts are distorted or left out to provide your perspective.