Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Kansas in the American Civil War
Cheryl McConnell
American History
Time Frame:
2 Days
Civil War

Grade Levels:

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:
  • In this activity the student will use two primary sources of a famous painting and a picture that depict what was going on in Kansas and Missouri during the border wars. 

  • I know that my students do not have any idea of the fact that the Civil War actually started in Kansas and Missouri at the time long before Fort Sumter. 

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

  • Kansas Standard (Application) compare and contrast points of views during the Civil War Era (e.g. abolitionists vs. slaveholders,  Robert E. Lee vs. Ulysses S. Grant, Abraham Lincoln, vs. Jefferson Davis and Harriet Beecher Stowe vs. Mary Chestnut).

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

  • 2 photgraphs one of the Order #11 Binham’s painting and the Lawrence Massacre. 

George Caleb Bingham Order No 11Massacre on Lawrence

Full description of activity or assignment.

Teacher: I will put the students into groups of four have them two study the Bingham painting and have the other two study the Lawrence Picture.  I will have them produce a 2 page fact page on what they feel the characters are feeling, saying, what they hear, what they see going in the pictures. 


Students: they will produce a two page comparison and contrast fact page of what the pictures say to them. 

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


DIRECTIONS: This form is designed to help you evaluate a student’s skill in comparing and

contrasting. Read the statements below. Then indicate the number from the following scale that

reflects your assessment of the student’s mastery of this skill.


1 = Weak 2 = Moderately Weak 3 = Average 4 = Moderately Strong 5 = Strong


1. The student attempts comparisons from appropriately parallel categories of items.

1 2 3 4 5

2. The student chooses only a very few specific items to be compared.

1 2 3 4 5

3. The student determines what characteristics the selected items have in common.

1 2 3 4 5

4. The student identifies similarities and differences in the selected common areas.

1 2 3 4 5

5. The comparison employs the appropriate information or facts.

1 2 3 4 5

6. The comparison shows an understanding of the appropriate concepts or topics.

1 2 3 4 5

7. The comparison is presented in a clear, precise manner using the senses of what the characters might be feeling.

1 2 3 4 5

8. Overall, the comparison demonstrates the student’s full potential in applying this skill.

1 2 3 4 5

Additional Comments: