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How Images Can Affect Perspectives of the Lincoln Conspirators

Lesson Author
Required Time Frame
One to four 45-minute class periods
Grade Level(s)
Lesson Abstract
To assist students in developing analytical skills that will enable them to evaluate primary sources and images such as documents, photographs, political cartoons and posters related to the Lincoln conspirators.
  • This lesson can be integrated into the classroom through any or all of the following strategies: activities by individual students through cross-curricular activities with Language Arts and/or cooperative learning endeavors.
  •  Students will use computer technology to analyze Internet websites containing primary sources that contain a variety of visual images of the Lincoln conspirators
Rationale (why are you doing this?)
  • To assist students in developing analytical skills that will enable them to evaluate primary sources and images such as documents, photographs, political cartoons and posters related to the Lincoln conspirators
  • To introduce students to the Stanford History Educational Group’s Reading Like A Historian teaching strategies to help them investigate historical questions by employing the following reading strategies: Sourcing, Contextualizing, corroborating and close reading
Lesson Objectives - the student will
  • Evaluate historical data through the use of primary source documents, posters, photographs and political cartoons
  • Develop a sense of historical understanding of the Lincoln conspirators
  • Analyze how images helped shape the historical perspectives of the Lincoln conspirators
District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met

Nebraska District Standards

  • SS8.4.3: Students will analyze and interpret historical and current events from multiple perspectives
  • SS 8.4.4.a: Students will analyze sources on Nineteenth-Century American History through determination of credibility, contextualization and corroboration
  • SS8.4.5.b: Obtain, analyze and cite appropriate sources for research about Nineteenth-Century U.S, incorporating primary and secondary sources e.g. (Cite sources using a prescribed format)
  • SS8.4.5.c: Gather historical information about the United States (e.g. document archives, artifacts and newspapers
  • SS8.4.5.d Present an analysis of historical information about the United States (e.g. pictures, posters, oral written narratives and electronic presentations)

Common Core

Key Ideas and Details

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.3 Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.

Craft and Structure

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.5 Analyze in detail how a complex primary source is structured, including how key sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text contribute to the whole.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.6 Evaluate authors’ differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors’ claims, reasoning, and evidence.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.8 Evaluate an author’s premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.9 Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.
    Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed



    Cooney, Charles F. (ed.). “At the Trial of the Lincoln Conspirators. The Reminiscences

    of General August V.


    Kautz”.  Civil War Times Illustrated. (August, 1973. Pp. 22-31


    Fowler, Robert H.  “Album. Illustrating the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln.”  Civil War Times Illustrated. 1965. Pp. 2-64.




    Hanchett, William.  The Lincoln Murder Conspiracies. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1983.


    Kauffman, Michael. American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies. New York: Random House, 2004.


    Kunhardt, Dorothy Meserve and Philip B. Kunhardt Jr. Twenty Days. New York: Castle Books, 1965.


    Swanson. L. James.  ManHunt: The Twelve-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer.  New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2006


    Swanson, James. L. and Weinberg, Daniel R.  Lincoln’s Assassins: Their Trial and Execution. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2001.





    Assassination of President Lincoln and the Trial of the Assassins


    Lincoln Assassination.Com


    Linder, Douglas O.  Famous Trials.  University of Missouri at Kansas City.


    Linder, Douglas O. Famous Trial of the Lincoln Conspirators.  1865.


    National Archives. Document Analysis Worksheets





    SOCC. Visual Image Analysis  (Chart)


    Stanford History Education Group. Beyond the Bubble.


    Stanford History Education Group.  Reading Like A Historian



    The Conspirator.  (Mary Surratt) Educational resource Guide.  The American Film Company


    The Lincoln Assassination Conspiracy Trial: Links & Bibliography