Lesson Plan

Ohio Content Standards:

Grade 7 Skills and Methods 1 & 3

Grade 8 History 9 a & g, History 10, Skills and Methods 1 & 2, People in Societies 2 & 4

Grade 12 History 1 & 2, Government 1 & 2

Duration of Lesson:

Three-class periods/ 50 minutes each or one block

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will collaboratively analyze and compare editorial cartoons focusing on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era drawn by both American and foreign cartoonists.
  • Students will determine the perspective of the cartoon.
  • Students will identify the cartoonists' intentions and evaluate the effectiveness of each cartoon's message.
  • Students will synthesize and present their final interpretations.


Students will be divided into groups and asked to analyze and evaluate editorial cartoons dealing with the Civil War era and Abraham Lincoln. Students are expected to determine the perspective of the artists. Students will present their findings to the class.


  • Editorial cartoons 1-8 with publishing information and accompanying overhead transparencies (for teacher)
  • National Archives Cartoon-Analysis-Worksheet.pdf
  • Editorial cartoons 1-8 without publishing information (for students)


Teachers should use these questions to facilitate a class discussion.

  1. How did unrest in the Democratic Party affect the outcome of the election of 1860?
  2. How did the impression of Lincoln differ both nationally in the North and the South and overseas in the United Kingdom?
  3. What is the role of the president during wartime?
  4. What are the tools that editorial cartoonists use to make their point?
  5. A review of the tools used by editorial cartoonists.

Instructional Steps:

  1. Complete pre-assessment discussion.
  2. Divide class into 8 groups and assign a cartoon to each group.
  3. Hand out cartoon analysis worksheet. Each student should complete the Cartoon Analysis Worksheet for his or her groups cartoon.
  4. Display overhead projection for one cartoon. Have class briefly analyze projection and have group assigned cartoon explain their findings.
  5. Use same process for remaining groups.
  6. Written response to post-assessment question.


Short answer question: Using examples from the cartoons discussed in class, how did the impression of Lincoln differ both nationally in the North and the South and overseas in the United Kingdom?


The Coming Man's Presidential Career, á la Blondin

"The Coming Man's Presidential Career, á la Blondin"

The President's Inaugural

"The President's Inaugural"

Old Mother Lincoln

"Old Mother Lincoln"

Progressive/Democracy - Prospect of a Smash Up

"Progressive/Democracy - Prospect of a Smash Up"

The American Difficulty

"The American Difficulty"

The New Orleans Plum

"The New Orleans Plum"

Lincoln's Two Difficulties

"Lincoln's Two Difficulties"

Long Abraham Lincoln a Little Longer

"Long Abraham Lincoln a Little Longer"