Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Analyzing George Caleb Bingham Order No. 11
Erin Garvey
American History
Time Frame:
1 Class
Civil War

Grade Levels:

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:
  • Students will use George Caleb Bingham’s “Order No. 11” painting to analyze varying viewpoints during the “Bleeding Kansas” conflict.

  • Students will be able to identify main ideas and points of view of the Missouri/Kansas border conflict.
  • Students will gain a better understanding of the causes of the Civil War.

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

  • 2a- Knowledge of continuity & change in the history of MO, the US, and the world: H. Identify political, economic & social causes & consequences of the Civil War.
  • 5- Knowledge of major elements of geographical study & analysis & their relationship to changes in society & the nation: I. Uses of Geography- use geography to interpret the past, explain the present & future.
  • 6- Knowledge of relationships of the individual and groups to institutions and cultural traditions: B. Group Membership, D. Effect of laws & events on relationships, E. Effect of personal and group experiences on perceptions.

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
  • Copy of the “Order No. 11”” painting- one for each student.
  • Digital copy to project onto the board.
  • Photo Analysis Worksheet from the Education Staff at the National Archives

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

Full description of activity or assignment.


  • I plan to do this assignment after an explanation of Order No. 11.  The student would have background knowledge as to what is occurring in the painting.  I would then project the painting onto the whiteboard in my classroom.  Also, I would hand out copies to each student, along with copies of the Photo Analysis Worksheet.  I would divide the students into small groups to discuss and fill out their analysis sheets.  After they are done, we would discuss the findings as a whole group.  I would then let the students chose one character from the painting to analyze.  On the back of the photo analysis sheet, I would have the students break down their character in detail, including their emotions at the time of the event and what they think happens to them in the future. Students would then write a letter, posing as the character, using their background knowledge and fully describing what happen to them, their family, what they felt at that time, and what they are doing now.  They can pick any character in the painting, even the Union soldiers to complete the assignment.

Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:
  • Assessment would be both formal and informal.  I would grade them based on their participation in the group and their class discussions.  Did they interact with the other students in their group?  Did they have something to add to the discussions?  Also, you could collect the photo analysis worksheet to make sure they have finished this part of the assignment.  The letter would be graded based on the level of knowledge they included. Did they get into character?  Did they accurately include information from the “Bleeding Kansas” time period?