Students in this lesson work to explain the effects of the Civil War on South Carolina’s economy. This lesson involves a pre-assessment, guided inquiry, and a formative post-assessment. The pre-assessment (Gallery Walk) allows the student to activate background knowledge. The guided inquiry allows the student to affirm or adjust the responses given in the pre-assessment, and the post-assessment (The Wind Blows If… Game) allows the teacher to determine the students’ understanding of the material.
Click here to download the full lesson with attached handouts. South Carolina after the Civil War
“The plantation system collapsed as a result of the loss of slave labor because of the freeing of the slaves through the war and the 13th Amendment. However, the agricultural, cotton economy of pre-war South Carolina survived because of the development of the system of sharecropping. There was no cash available to pay wages for farm workers so the sharecropping system was developed to make use of the available free African American labor force. The landowner provided acreage, seed and equipment such as hoes and plows, and the freedman provided the labor in exchange for a portion, or share, of the crop that was produced. This mutually beneficial arrangement allowed the freedman some control over his labor and provided manpower for the land owner. As time went on, however, the system mired the sharecropper, whether white or African American, in poverty and indebtedness.
As a result of the war, there was massive destruction of cities, towns, factories, and railroads. A fire in Charleston in 1861 and the bombardment of the city left it in ruins. The burning of Columbia as a result of Sherman’s March left the capital city and many towns along Sherman’s route destroyed. The few factories that were in the South had converted to war production, but the money paid by the Confederate government was worthless once the war ended so they went out of business. Some factories had been destroyed. Railroads and bridges had been destroyed by both armies to prevent the enemy from using them to transport soldiers and supplies. Confederate money was worthless and so was not available to finance rebuilding, pay taxes, or pay workers. There was also a shortage of men due to heavy war casualties. It is important that students understand that the purpose of Reconstruction was not to rebuild the destroyed economic infrastructure of the South, but rather to reconstruct the political Union. The United States government did not then think that it was the responsibility of national government to rebuild the South’s economy. That was the responsibility of states and individuals.”
South Carolina Social Studies Support Document, Grade 3, 2008 http://ed.sc.gov/agency/Standards-and-Learning/Academic-Standards/old/cso/social_studies/social.html
South Carolina Standards
3-4.6 Explain how the Civil War affected South Carolina’s economy, including destruction of plantations, towns, factories, and transportation systems.
4-6.6 Explain the impact of the Civil War on the nation, including its effects on the physical environment and on the people—soldiers, women, African Americans, and the civilian population of the nation as a whole.
- The students will explain the effects of the Civil War on South Carolina’s Economy
Time Required Recommended Grade Level
1 class period Elementary
- 4 posters (each with one question written on it)
- 4 different colored markers (This will allow you to know which group’s responses are correct and/or incorrect.)
- Various photographs from the South Carolina and the Civil War Collection.
- Confederate and United States money from the era
- A roll of masking tape
- Write learning objective on board
- Download necessary pictures from the University of South Carolina Digital Collections website. The pictures are a part of the South Carolina and the Civil War Collection.
- Write each of the following questions on a piece of poster paper
- Divide students into groups of three or four. (Students could be assigned tasks within their cooperative groups. Each group needs a recorder to write the group’s response, a reporter to share everyone’s responses during the lesson, a leader to ensure the group is on-task and everyone is being allowed to contribute, a manager to retrieve and return the markers, and a cheerleader to compliment others for working diligently.)
- Print out questions for Gallery Walk.
- What did South Carolina look like immediately following the Civil War?
- What kinds of things were destroyed?
- What caused the destruction?
- What happened to the factories in our state during and after the Civil War?
- Read the objective written on the board, “Today you will explain the effects of the Civil War on South Carolina’s economy. To help you get started, I’ve written a question on each of the four posters located in the corners of the classroom. It is your job to work with your cooperative group to answer each question. You will have 2 minutes/question.” (Students could be assigned tasks within their cooperative groups. Each group needs a recorder to write the group’s response, a reporter to share everyone’s responses during the lesson, a leader to ensure the group is on-task and everyone is being allowed to contribute, a manager to retrieve and return the markers, and a cheerleader to compliment others for working diligently.)
- Conduct a Gallery Walk—10 minutes (2 minutes/question)
- Guided Inquiry— 25 minutes
Read the first question aloud. Then ask the reporter holding the poster for question 1 to read the responses of the cooperative groups. I am going to show you some pictures that were taken immediately after the war. The pictures show downtown Columbia at this time. Think about how you would feel if you lived in Columbia at this time.
- Project digitized pictures of Columbia from this time period from the University of South Carolina Libraries Primary Sources for K-12 Pilot Project
- “Do you think your responses to the first question were on target? Why or why not?” (Place checks by the correct responses, and address any misconceptions at this time.)
- Read the second question aloud. Then ask the reporter holding the second question to read the responses. “Let’s look at each picture and your responses, again, to see what was destroyed during the war.” (Place a check by the guesses that were correct, and record any missing information on the poster with the question. Lead students in determining there was massive destruction of cities, towns, factories, railroads, and bridges. The economy of SC was destroyed. There were few places to work, and trading was limited due to the bridges and railroads being destroyed.)
- Read aloud question 3. Ask the reporter to read the answers recorded. “Did the Union or the Confederate soldiers cause the destruction?” (Allow students to vote with a show of hands. Then explain both sides caused the destruction.) “Why would the Confederate Army destroy Southern bridges and railroads? Discuss possible reasons with your cooperative group.” (Explain how railroads and bridges were destroyed to prevent the enemy from using them to transport soldiers and supplies. Check correct responses and address any misconceptions.) “Who or what destroyed the city of Columbia?” (Provide researched historical background. Please note that not all historians agree that Sherman burned Columbia. Research to find various re-tellings of what happened then provide students with several points of view not just one.)Which city did South Carolinians believe Sherman was going to attack? (They should know it was Charleston from previous lessons.) “Let’s take a look at Charleston.”
- Project pictures of destruction from Charleston, including the fire in 1861. “Did Charleston and Columbia look similar? Justify your answer.” (Explain that a fire in Charleston in 1861 and the bombardment of the city left it in ruins, like Columbia.)
- Read aloud question 4. Ask the reporter with that question to read aloud the responses.
- Project pictures of factories during the time period. “What class of people owned the factories in SC? Where the majority of the elite class on the Union side or the Confederate side?” (Explain how the few factories that were in the South had converted to war production, but the money paid by the Confederate government was worthless once the war ended so they went out of business. Confederate money was worthless and so was not available to finance rebuilding, pay taxes, or pay workers. Now would be a good time to show the students Confederate and United States money from the time period.) “Why would factory owners have a difficult time hiring people, even if they could rebuild?” (Explain there was a shortage of workers due to the quantity of men dying in the war.)
The Wind Blows If… Game (This is a variation of the game, “The Wind Blows For” .)
Place 2-inch pieces of masking tape in a large circle on the floor. There should be enough tape, so all BUT ONE may have a spot to stand. The student without a spot must stand in the middle of the circle. The teacher should read aloud question 1. If the student knows the answer, he should move to a new spot AT LEAST TWO SPOTS AWAY. This will allow the teacher to see who does/does not know the answer. If more than 20 percent of the students do not know the answer, the teacher needs to reteach this material. Since the goal of the game is to not be the one left in the middle, the student without a spot must answer the question. If his answer is correct, he may “do a little dance” to celebrate. If it is not correct, he may call on someone to help him by asking another student to get in the middle, while he takes his spot. The game continues in the same format until all of the questions have been asked and answered.
- List three things that were destroyed in SC during the Civil War? (Bridges, railroads, factories, cities, towns, farms, etc.)
- How were the bridges and railroads destroyed in SC? Why did they destroy them? (Confederate and Union troops destroyed the bridges and railroads, so the other side could not use them to transport soldiers or supplies.)
- How did the destruction of bridges and railroads effect South Carolina’s economy after the war? (Trading was difficult due to transportation issues.)
- Name two major cities in SC that were destroyed during the war. (Charleston and Columbia)
- How did farms, cities, and towns being destroyed impact the state’s economy? (There were no jobs because of the destruction.)
- What did Sherman do on his March to the Sea? (Sherman burned farms, cities, and towns, including Columbia.)
- What happened to our state’s factories during and after the Civil War? Be specific. (Many of our state’s factories were ruined and could not be rebuilt due to the lack of funds. Confederate money was worthless. The few remaining factories had difficulty hiring because of the quantity of men who died in the war and the owner’s inability to be able to pay the workers.)
Lesson Extension Options
Draw a t-chart. On one side of the chart write “cause”. On the other side write “effect”. Ask students to write or draw two “effects” of the Civil War on SC’s economy, i.e. destroyed bridges, railroads, factories, etc. Now, ask students to think about what caused these things to happen. Write or draw those “causes” on the right-hand side. Students should share their work with others in their cooperative group and discuss responses. Misconceptions must be addressed, if they still persist.
Digital Collections Information
This lesson plan is based on images and/or documents derived from the South Carolina and the Civil War Collection available from the University of South Carolina’s Digital Collections Library.