LEARNING GUIDE TO:
Abraham and Mary Lincoln:
A House Divided
Age: 10+; No MPAA Rating; Documentary; 2001; 360 minutes; Color; Available from Amazon.com.
Description: This PBS documentary describes the life of Abraham Lincoln and Mary, his wife, from birth to death. The films are suitable for those who know little about Abraham and Mary Lincoln and also for those who are fairly knowledgeable about our 16th President and his wife.
Benefits of the Movie: "Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided" is not limited to political events and the history of the period, but also presents information about the background, personalities, and family life of Mary and Abraham Lincoln. It provides a rounded picture of this famous and star-crossed couple.
Possible Problems: None.
Parenting Points: "Abraham & Mary Lincoln: A House Divided" is excellent for viewing with a child in middle school or high school who is studying the Civil War. This documentary shows the human side of Abraham and Mary Lincoln. After seeing the film, share with your child Walt Whitman's poem, Oh Captain! My Captain! It is important that children understand the sentiment Whitman presents in his poem. It is also important that they understand how poetry illustrates feelings that otherwise are difficult to express and that they share the beauty of poetry with their parents.
QUICK DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
Suggested Response: It was about both. Different people had different interpretations.
Suggested Response: It did not free the slaves in states in which the Union had control. It was therefore only enforceable in areas newly recovered by the Union.
For a movie worksheet for this film, see Film Study Worksheet for a Documentary.
Volumes One and Two:
Volumes Three and Flour:
Volumes Five and Six:
VOLUMES ONE AND TWO:
1. [ Standard Questions ]
2. Why did Mary Todd's father remarry soon after his wife's death?
Social-Emotional Learning Discussion Questions:
1. Why did Mary Todd become conversant in politics?
2. Explain the dynamics of the relationship between Mary Todd and her father.
3. What was the source of Abraham Lincoln's ambition?
4. Why would an event like losing one's mother early in life predispose two people to feel a special bond?
VOLUMES THREE AND FOUR
1. What was Lincoln's unpromising start as President?
2. Do you agree that Lincoln showed great self confidence in his choice of cabinet officers? Give the reasons supporting your conclusion.
3. The United States was called an "experiment in democracy." Can you explain that statement?
4. What was Lincoln's plan to give the Union the moral high ground in the struggle over Fort Sumter?
5. What were the international and national political effects of the Emancipation Proclamation?
6. How did the Emancipation Proclamation change Lincoln?
7. How did the Emancipation Proclamation change the Civil War?
8. What was the Contraband Relief Organization and what did it do?
9. What is the name of the battle that was the bloodiest day in American History?
10. What did Mary Lincoln do that was unheard of for the United States at that time?
11. Who was Elizabeth Keckly and what was her contribution to American History?
12. [ Standard Questions ]
Social-Emotional Learning Discussion Questions:
1. How did Elizabeth Keckly help Mary Lincoln direct some of her grief at the loss of her son to activities that were beneficial to Mary and helpful to others? Describe how helping others can serve to assuage grief. For an additional example of this see Learning Guide to "Cry the Beloved Country".
FAMILIES IN CRISIS/MARRIAGE
2. Describe the dynamics of the marriage between Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln during the early years in the White House. How was it functional and how was it dysfunctional?
VOLUMES FIVE AND SIX
1. [ Standard Questions ]
2. What was Lincoln's political role during the War?
3. What caused Lincoln to see African-Americans in a new light?
4. Describe Lincoln's first meeting with Frederick Douglass and the affect that meeting had on Lincoln.
5. Why were there riots in New York after the publication of the Emancipation Proclamation?
6. What does the Gettysburg address tell us about Lincoln's evolving view of the justification for the Civil War?
7. Do you think that Lincoln acted correctly in permitting Emily Todd Helm, his wife's half sister, to live at the White House despite her Southern sympathies?
8. Read the book of Job from the Bible. It is short. Tell us why, in the depths of the war, when it seemed as if there was nothing the Northern generals could do right, Lincoln would read this part of the Bible for solace.
There are no Social-Emotional Learning Discussion Questions for Volumes Five and Six.
Select questions that are appropriate for your students.
Become a TWM Fan on
Reminder to Teachers: Obtain all required permissions from your school administration before showing any film.
Give us your feedback! Was the Guide helpful? If so, which sections were most helpful? Do you have any suggestions for improvement? Email us!
Are you concerned that time will be wasted if you are absent from class? Worry no more . . . Check out TeachWithMovies' Set-Up-the-Sub.
Click here for TWM's lesson plans to introduce cinematic and theatrical technique.
Teachers who want parental permission to show this movie can use TWM's Movie Permission Slip.
CHARACTER COUNTS QUESTIONS RELATING TO ALL VOLUMES
(Teachwithmovies.com is "Six Pillars Partner" of Character Counts and uses The Six Pillars of Character to organize ethical principles.
Discussion Questions Relating to Ethical Issues will facilitate the use of this film to teach ethical principles and critical viewing. Additional questions are set out below.
(Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule; Be tolerant of differences; Use good manners, not bad language; Be considerate of the feelings of others; Don't threaten, hit or hurt anyone; Deal peacefully with anger, insults and disagreements)
1. How did Lincoln learn to respect African-Americans?
(Do what you are supposed to do; Persevere: keep on trying!; Always do your best; Use self-control; Be self-disciplined; Think before you act -- consider the consequences; Be accountable for your choices)
2. Lincoln said, in the depths of the war when it looked as if the North was losing and that he would not be reelected president:
I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end when I come to lay down the reins of power and I have lost every friend on earth, I shall have at least one friend and that friend shall be down inside me.Would you lose all of your friends in order to keep the one deep down inside yourself?
3. Describe as many of the ways as possible that Lincoln acted in conformity with this Pillar.
(Play by the rules; Take turns and share; Be open-minded; listen to others; Don't take advantage of others; Don't blame others carelessly)
4. Does it seem fair that black soldiers would put their lives on the line for the Union and yet return to slavery after the war?
Teachwithmovies.com is a "Six Pillars Partner" of Character Counts "Six Pillars Partner" and uses The Six Pillars of Character to organize ethical principles.
Character Counts and the Six Pillars of Character are marks of the CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition, a project of the Josephson Institute of Ethics.
|MOVIES ON RELATED TOPICS: See the films on the Civil War in the U.S. History and Culture section of the Subject Matter Index.|
Links To The Internet: The Time of the Lincolns, A Companion Site to the Film from PBS. This is an outstanding web site with additional information and lesson plans.
|OTHER LESSON PLANS: Suggestions for Active Learning from PBS.|
© by TeachWithMovies.com, Inc. All rights reserved. Note that unless otherwise indicated any quotations attributed to a source, photographs, illustrations, maps, diagrams or paintings were copied from public domain sources or are included based upon the "fair use" doctrine. No claim to copyright is made as to those items. DVD or VHS covers are in the public domain. TeachWithMovies.org®, TeachWithMovies.com®, Talking and Playing with Movies, and the pencil and filmstrip logo are trademarks of TeachWithMovies.com, Inc.