the road to the civil war a movie starring 8 th graders n.
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The Road to the Civil War.. A Movie starring 8 th Graders!. Today’s Target. Act out significant events that lead to the Civil War including… John Brown’s Raid on Harper’s Ferry The Underground Railroad The Fugitive Slave Laws The Caning of Sumner Lincoln’s Inaugural Address.

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today s target
Today’s Target
  • Act out significant events that lead to the Civil War including…
  • John Brown’s Raid on Harper’s Ferry
  • The Underground Railroad
  • The Fugitive Slave Laws
  • The Caning of Sumner
  • Lincoln’s Inaugural Address
road to the civil war the movie
Road to the Civil War: The Movie
  • You are and your classmates are actors in a movie depicting different events that preceded the Civil War
  • There are four/five scenes (and consequently the same groups), that will be filmed today
  • Read the scene description and bring it life in a short film
  • You must be well-practiced and rehearsed before filming.
  • You will have 10-15 minutes to prepare before filming
scene 1 raid on harper s ferry
Scene 1: Raid on Harper’s Ferry
  • Characters: John Brown, His Follower(s), General Robert E. Lee, and 2-3 Soldiers
  • Scene Description: The scene opens with John Brown and his follower(s) bunkered inside the Arsenal at Harper’s Ferry. (Surrounded by Desks). They are discussing what to do next now that they are surrounded but still they are hopeful they can get guns out of the aresenal to arm escaped slaves and start a rebellion.
  • General Lee and his soldiers are slowing but surely nearing the building yelling things like “Give Up! It’s Over!” Brown and his men decide to surrender. As the follower gets up to raise the white flag he is hit by a stray bullet. Brown stands up to help him and he is hit by a stray bullet as well. The scene ends with General Lee and the soldiers crowding over the two men on the ground and announce that by the order of the President they are under arrest. Brown and his men are arrested. One found dead.
scene 2 the underground railroad1
Scene 2: The Underground Railroad
  • Characters: Harriet Tubman, An Escaped Slave, 1-2 Slave Catchers, 1 dog, at least one abolitionist in Ohio.
  • Scene Description: The scene opens on a cold night February, in the darkness Harriet Tubman and an escaped weave through a Kentucky cornfield near the Ohio River. As they get move slowly and quietly, they can hear slave catchers in the distance yelling things like “Where are you?!”, “We’re going to find you!!” As they near the river, Harriet and slave bolt into a run. Dogs bark – they must be near. Harriet motions to the slave to run faster so they can get to a shallow point in the water. The water is icy and the slave has no shoes but Harriet tells her to run lightly over the ice patches. Blood drips from the slaves’ feet as the slave and Harriet half jump, half swim through the icy water where abolitionists await them on the Ohio side. Once across they run to a safe house and hid in the hen house where they sleep all day. The slave catchers lose their scent near the river and are furious at the loss.
scene 3 the fugitive slave act1
Scene 3: The Fugitive Slave Act
  • Characters: A fugitive slave named Tom, A slave catcher named Joe, A family of Quakers in Pennsylvania who are abolitionists including the father- John, wife – Mary and any others as needed.
  • Scene Description: The scene opens with Mary hiding leftover biscuits out behind the house (desk) for any slaves who might be passing through their farmon the road to freedom. Later that night she hears noises in the nearby woods and knows her food has been used. She watches a man pass quickly the woods with no shoes and she hopes he will be okay. The scene continues the next morning when the local slave catcher, a rough slave catched named Joe rides by the Quaker house in his wagon and asks if they’ve seen or heard any slaves in the area. He’s looking for an escaped young slave from Maryland named Tom. The family report nothing – Mary looks away from the slave catcher. “I know you know something, Mary” he yells, but she looks away and remains silent. Later than night, while the family worked in the field, Joe rides the wagon back by the Quaker house with the fugitive slave in the back. “Look what I found, Mary.” he says. The slave catcher then kicks the slave to the ground out of the wagon and commands Mary’s husband, John, to help get the slave back in the wagon. At first her husband refuses and says he won’t help this moral evil. “If you don’t help me, John, under the Fugitive Slave Act” I can have you put in jail and you will be fined $1000.” With hesitation, frustration and shame, Joe gently lifts the fugitive slave back into the wagon. As the catcher and slave leave, John yells in frustration “This Fugitive Slave Act makes slave catchers of us all. How can it be law.?”
scene 4 the caning of charles sumner1
Scene 4: The Caning of Charles Sumner
  • Characters: Senator Charles Sumner, Representative Laurence M. Keittof SC, Representative Preston Brooks, and 2-4 by standing Senators
  • Scene Description: The scene opens with the Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts reading a speech about how evil slavery is and how all senators and representatives especially Senator Andrew Butler who approve slavery are immoral and foolish. The Senators listening clap. The scene continues two days later. Preston Brooks, a congressman from South Carolina and Butler's nephew, confront Sumner as he sits writing at his desk in the almost empty Senate chamber. Brooks was accompanied by Laurence M. Keitt also of South Carolina. Brooks said, "Mr. Sumner, I have read your speech twice over carefully. It is a libel on South Carolina, and Mr. Butler, who is a relative of mine." As Sumner, who was six feet four inches tall, began to stand up, Brooks began beating Sumner severely on the head with a thick cane with a gold head. Sumner was trapped under the heavy desk (which was bolted to the floor), but Brooks continued to bash Sumner until he ripped the desk from the floor. By this time, Sumner was blinded by his own blood, and he staggered up the aisle and collapsed, lapsing into unconsciousness. Brooks continued to beat Sumner until he broke his cane. Several senators attempted to help Sumner, but were blocked by Keitt who was holding a pistol and shouting, "Let them be!”
  • The scene ends with Brooks leaving the room quietly stating “I resign from the House of Representatives” and the unconscious Senator Sumner being attended to by fellow Senators. Brooks resigned and died later of natural causes. Keitt was censured from the House and died in a Civil War battle.
scene 5 lincoln s 1 st inaugural speech
Scene 5: Lincoln’s 1st Inaugural speech
  • Characters: Lincoln, His wife, frustrated Southerners, Northerners who love Lincoln.
  • Scene Description: Abraham Lincoln's first inaugural address was delivered by President Abraham Lincoln, on Monday, March 4, 1861. The speech was primarily addressed to the people of the South, and was intended to state Lincoln's intended policies and desires toward Southerners. SEVEN states hadALREADY seceded from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America. Lincoln called the Confederate States the “rebellious” states.
  • Written in a spirit of reconciliation toward the rebellious states, Lincoln's inaugural address touched on several topics: first, his pledge to "hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the government"—includingFortSumter, which was still in Federal hand but rested on Confederate land in South Carolina.; second, his argument that the Union was undissolvable, and thus that secession was impossible; and third, a promise that while he would never be the first to attack, any use of arms against the United States would be regarded as rebellion, and met with force. The inauguration took place on the eve of the American Civil War, which began soon after with the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter.
  • Lincoln denounced secession as anarchy, and explained that majority rule had to be balanced by constitutional restraints in the American system of republicanism:
  • "A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people."[1]
  • Desperately wishing to avoid this terrible conflict, Lincoln closed the address with this impassioned plea:
  • " I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."[2]