I was hoping to write this entry on Tuesday, but I spent part of my day at an educator job fair (which was a complete waste of time in my opinion, considering that no one is hiring), making my own pancakes at Slappy Cakes (and drinking a mimosa), and working on school work. However, I was able to stop by my local bookstore on the way home to pick up a special edition of TIME magazine featuring the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War.
With the celebration underway, I spent a week with my students participating in a mock Senate Meeting on sectional conflict. The class was divided in slave and free areas and they proposed bills, which would help spread progress ("king cotton" or Industrial Revolution) into the new frontier. The students who were part of the slave area quickly realized that they were largely opposed, as the free area continuously proposed bills on tariffs and export taxes, as well as moving the capital, and constructing a National Road to the frontier. The slave area constantly called out, "this isn't fair, they have more people than us!" Or, "the vice president always sides with the free area." This is reality people, life isn't fair; and politics are definitely not!
In the end the House proposed a bill that a state could leave the Union with proper cause and with 51% of their state votes. The free area, which stands for the majority, ruled against the passage of this bill. Outraged, the slave area made a motion to secede and start their own nation, without the oppression of unfair laws. The free area quickly made a motion in turn to bring the slave area back to the Union, which the majority seconded and agreed to declare war on the slave area.
In the next couple of weeks we will be discussing the regional differences of the North and South and what caused the United States to escalate into a war between the states, and the Civil War itself. Students will test their knowledge in a game of Civil War "Risk," which will allow them to move their troops from town to town on their country map. Which ever side captures the most cities wins the civil war.
Even though the American Civil War is taught every year in 8th grade and 11th grade classrooms around the U.S., regional conflict still presides, and in some cases, the Civil War is still being fought.
The following is a video from TIME, featuring those who are still living the Civil War through reenactments today.