Antebellum America
Age 12-14: Concept 1 - Semester 1: Unit 4

This unit is focused around the differences between the North and the South during the antebellum period of U.S. history. You will begin by learning about the economic development of both regions including the role of slavery and the cotton trade in contributing to that development in the South. Other economic aspects you will study are the growth of capitalism and the Industrial Revolution. You will also gain knowledge about the abolition movement, the Underground Railroad, and the fight for women's rights. The unit ends with a focus on the heightened tensions between the North and the South over the issue of slavery.

For the final project, you will create a poster session presentation and a five-minute talk to communicate what you discovered about the differences between the North and the South during this time period. This poster presentation will provide you with the chance to explain how you think regional and cultural differences affected the lives of those living in these two regions of the U.S.

Other Items You May Need

The Age 12-14 social studies units utilize a Timeline of American History along with a stack of timeline cards to enhance your child's understanding of the chronology of historical events.
$15.00 #1809 Age 12-14 - American History Timeline Cards
$7.00 #1810 Age 12-14 - American History Timeline


  • Able to read and comprehend novels at an 8th or 9th grade reading level
  • Able to write multiple paragraphs on a topic
  • Can write a five-paragraph essay
  • Usually used by children in the eighth grade

Table of Contents

  • Lesson 1: North and South, 1820
  • Lesson 2: The Rise of Capitalism
  • Lesson 3: Technology and Infrastructure (2 Days)
  • Lesson 4: Immigration and Migration
  • Lesson 5: Education and Women's Rights
  • Lesson 6: Art and Literature
  • Lesson 7: The Agrarian Economy and Slavery (3 Days)
  • Lesson 8: Building Tensions
  • Final Project: A Poster Session (2 Days)

Summary of Skills

Moving Beyond the Page is based on state and national standards. These standards are covered in this unit.
  • Analyze the divergent paths of the American people from 1800 to the mid-1800s and the challenges they faced, with emphasis on the Northeast. (Social Studies)
  • Analyze the divergent paths of the American people in the Northeast and the South from 1800 to the mid-1800s and the challenges they faced. (Social Studies)
  • Analyze the divergent paths of the American people in the South from 1800 to the mid-1800s and the challenges they faced. (Social Studies)
  • Analyze the rise of capitalism and the economic problems and conflicts that accompanied it (e.g., Jackson's opposition to the Bank of the United States; early decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court that reinforced the sanctity of contracts and a capitalist economic system of law). (Social Studies)
  • Describe the development of the agrarian economy in the South, identify the locations of the cotton-producing states, and discuss the significance of cotton and the cotton gin. (Social Studies)
  • Describe the development of the institution of slavery in specific states and nation, and assess its impact on the economic, social, and political conditions. (Social Studies)
  • Discuss the influence of industrialization and technological developments on the region, including human modification of the landscape and how physical geography shaped human actions (e.g., growth of cities, deforestation, farming, mineral extraction). (Social Studies)
  • Examine the women's suffrage movement (e.g., biographies, writings, and speeches of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Margaret Fuller, Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony). (Social Studies)
  • Identify common themes in American art as well as transcendentalism and individualism (e.g., writings about and by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Herman Melville, Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow). (Social Studies)
  • List the reasons for the wave of immigration from Northern Europe to the United States and describe the growth in the number, size, and spatial arrangements of cities (e.g., Irish immigrants and the Great Irish Famine). (Social Studies)
  • Outline the physical obstacles to and the economic and political factors involved in building a network of roads, canals, and railroads (e.g., Henry Clay's American System). (Social Studies)
  • Study the lives of black Americans who gained freedom in the North and founded schools and churches to advance their rights and communities. (Social Studies)
  • Summarize arguments regarding protective tariffs, taxation, and the banking system. (Social Studies)
  • Trace the development of the American education system from its earliest roots, including the roles of religious and private schools and Horace Mann's campaign for free public education and its assimilating role in American culture. (Social Studies)
  • Trace the origins and development of slavery; its effects on black Americans and on the region's political, social, religious, economic, and cultural development; and identify the strategies that were tried to both overturn and preserve it. (Social Studies)
  • Understand the challenges confronted by the government and its leaders in the early years of the republic and the Age of Jackson, and understand the aspirations and ideals of the people of the new nation. (Social Studies)
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