Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Lincoln and Executive Powers
Janet Rovenstine
American History
Time Frame:
1-2 Class Periods
Civil War

Grade Levels:
9, 10, 11, 12

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:

Students will be looking at the executive role of President Lincoln during his terms as President.  They will be grouped in pairs working through an internet site and answering questions as they go.  They will look at primary sources as well as reading a secondary source online. 

  • Students will work through this assignment to see how a President uses his war powers in times of war. Students will determine if President Lincoln was justified in what he did or did he overstep his boundaries.

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

National Standards:

Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)

Standard 2: The course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people

Standard 2


The course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people.

Standard 2A

The student understands how the resources of the Union and Confederacy affected the course of the war.




Identify the turning points of the war and evaluate how political, military, and diplomatic leadership affected the outcome of the conflict. [Assess the importance of the individual in history]


Evaluate provisions of the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln's reasons for issuing it, and its significance. [Examine the influence of ideas]


Analyze the purpose, meaning, and significance of the Gettysburg Address. [Identify the author of the historical document and assess its credibility]



Kansas State Standards:

History Standard: The student uses a working knowledge and understanding of significant individuals, groups, ideas, events, eras, and developments in the history of Kansas, the United States, and the world, utilizing essential analytical and research skills.

Benchmark 5: The student engages in historical thinking skills.

High School Knowledge and/or Application Indicators High School Instructional Suggestions

The student:

1. (A) analyzes a theme in world history to explain patterns of continuity and change over time.

2. (A) develops historical questions on a specific topic in world history and analyzes the evidence in primary source documents to speculate on the answers.

3. (A) uses primary and secondary sources about an event in world history to develop a credible interpretation of the event, forming conclusions about its meaning (e.g., use provided primary and secondary sources tro interpret a historical-based conclusion.)


Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

Technology Required:

computers with internet access

Full description of activity or assignment.

Students will work in groups of two and look at the internet site, Abraham Lincoln and Executive Power, Center for Civic Education http://new.civiced.org/resources/curriculum/lincoln. As they work through this site, they will click on the above mentioned primary sources and examine each of them.  As they read the secondary material they will be responsible for answering questions to turn in relating to the article and the primary sources. 


Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:

Students will be assessed on completion of answers and answers given to the questions assigned.  A follow-up classroom discussion will be conducted to check for understanding of the assignment.