Learn American History through 50 pop songs

A House Divided (1861-1865)

Synopsis

As the debate over slavery continued, the North and the South became increasingly at odds over the political, economic, and societal direction the United States should take. As these arguments intensified, the nation soon stood divided and President Abraham Lincoln struggled with how to keep the Union as one.

Lyrics

© Copyright 2010 by Mr. and Mrs. Gillenwater

“A house divided,” Abe Lincoln cried
Against itself cannot stand
We must preserve this land as only one thing
We must preserve this land or else as all the other

“Lincoln is in,” a Southern man cried
Now we have no voice
We have no choice, now the South is out “Lincoln is in,” a Southern man cried
Now we have no voice, now the South is out

“We are not enemies,” Abe Lincoln cried
Though passions have been strained
As one we must remain, forever unbroken
As one we must remain, be our bonds of affection

“The die is cast,” the Southern woman cried
No vain regrets
The stake is life or death, no doubt about it
“The die is cast,” the Southern woman cried
No vain regrets
The stake is life or death, sad forebodings are useless

The Confederate States of America, seven southern states
Defending their age old traditions, waging a Southern revolution
To preserve their deep rooted way of life
Including their slave holding rights… the American Civil War

“The Union is broken,” the Southern states cried
Now we must leave
One by one we will secede, forsaken and denied
“The Union is broken,” the Southern states cried
Now we must leave
One by one we will secede, un-blue, we’ll start anew

“Federal forts taken!” Abe Lincoln cried
My hand has been forced
To take a bloody course, to wage a civil war
To take a bloody course, brother will slay brother

“Now we stand alone,” the Southerners cried
Now we need a man, a man who’ll take a stand
We need one of our own
“Now we stand alone,” the Southerners cried
Now we need a man, a man who’ll take a stand
Jefferson Davis will save us

Deep in the night, Abe Lincoln cried
All knowing tears he shed, for those soon to be dead
So many Blue and Gray
For those soon to be dead… and Abraham would be the last one

Vocabulary

Abe Lincoln— Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led the United States through its greatest internal crisis, the American Civil War, preserving the Union and ending slavery.

Confederate States of America— The Confederate States of America was the government set up from 1861 to 1865 by eleven southern slave states that had declared their secession from the US. Secession means to withdraw from an organization or a union, and in this case these states withdrew from the United States and formed their own nation, the Confederate States of America.

The American Civil War— The American Civil War (1861–1865), also known as the War Between the States, was a civil war in the United States of America. Eleven Southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America. Led by Jefferson Davis, the Confederacy fought against the Union, which included all the free states and five border slave states.

The Union— The Union was a name used to refer to the twenty-three states during the American Civil War who fought against the states who had seceded, the Confederacy.

Jefferson Davis— Jefferson Davis was appointed president of the Confederate States of America.

Tiered Questions

Tier 1 Questions

What was the Union? Who was their president?

What was the Confederate States of America? Who was their president?

Tier 2 Questions

What do you think the line “brother will slay brother” means?

Tier 3 Questions

Do you think the states that seceded had a right to leave the Union?

Test Prep Questions

1) What is the most accurate title for this map?

  • (1) Closing the Frontier
  • (2) Results of Reconstruction
  • (3) A Nation Divide
  • (4) Compromise of 1850

2) “A house divided against itself cannot stand. . . . I do not expect the Union to be dissolved; I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other. . . .”

— Abraham Lincoln, 1858

The “divided house” referred to in this speech was caused primarily by

  • (1) expansionism
  • (2) war with Mexico
  • (3) slavery
  • (4) the suffrage movement

3) Which phrase best completes the title for the partial outline shown below

  • I. Reasons for the ______________________
  • A. Increasing sectionalism
  • B. Disagreements over states’ rights issues
  • C. Breakdown of compromise
  • D. Election of 1860
  • (1) Start of the Revolutionary War
  • (2) Adoption of the Bill of Rights
  • (3) Failure of the Whiskey Rebellion
  • (4) Secession of Southern States from the Union

4) “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.”

— Abraham Lincoln, 1858

According to this quotation, Abraham Lincoln believed that

  • (1) slavery was immoral and should be abolished immediately
  • (2) sectional differences threatened to destroy the Union
  • (3) the Southern states should be allowed to secede
  • (4) to save the nation, the North should compromise with the South on slavery

DBQ 1

Historical Context: Historians who have evaluated presidential leadership have generally agreed that George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt were great presidents because each successfully addressed a critical challenge faced by the nation during his administration.

Task: Using information from the documents and your knowledge of United States history, answer the questions that follow each document.

Select two presidents mentioned in the historical context and for each

  • Describe a challenge that faced the nation during his administration
  • Explain an action taken by the president to address this challenge
  • Discuss the impact of this action on the United States

Based on the information on this map, state one problem the United States faced under President Abraham Lincoln.

According to this proclamation, what is one action President Abraham Lincoln took to enforce the laws of the United States?

According to William McKinley, what is one impact of President Abraham Lincoln’s actions on the United States?