Abe Lincoln in Illinois

by Robert E. Sherwood

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Read the text of the Lincoln-Douglas debates and rate each speaker in terms of how well he argues his point.

Research the life of a rural postmaster in the 1830s and write out an agenda that would show what a typical day was like.

The tension between Lincoln and his wife, Mary, in Scene 9 is just a slight example of their tumultuous relationship. Write a scene that shows them arguing at home during the last year of his presidency, using historic facts to support your characterizations.

Write a brief report on the Underground Railroad, which helped blacks escape from slavery in the South into freedom.

Much is made in this play of how the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dred Scott case changed the rights of slave owners and mobilized the opposition to slavery. Find testimony from people of the 1850s (besides Lincoln) stating what this decision meant to their lives.

Lincoln had less than a half year of formal schooling in his life. Find out what level of education has been attained by recent presidents, from the 1940s on.

The ‘‘milksick’’ that Lincoln’s mother died of was later diagnosed as a disease that came from drinking the milk of cows that had ingested white snakeroot. Find out the story behind how this was discovered and how this illness affects the body.

Write a paper that imagines what the United States would have been like if Lincoln had allowed the Confederate states to secede from the Union.

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