Teaching Abraham Lincoln Through Film and Television

As President’s Day is coming up, here at Classhook we’ll be publishing several blog posts focused on Different Presidents and how they are shown in various Films, Television Shows, Documentaries, and Informative Videos. The first president we’ll look at is Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday is on the 12th of this month. In this post, we’ll give some examples of clips you can use in your classroom to assist in teaching about Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln is fondly remembered as one of our greatest presidents. But it didn’t always seem to be destined that way. At the start of his presidency, eleven states seceded from the Union, and the Civil War Began. It would not end until over 4 years later, a couple of days before his death. In a two-part episode of Crash Course: US History, John Green does a great job of summarizing the major events in about 20 minutes. In this first clip, he explains the causes of the Civil War and the strategy Lincoln’s army used to win the war.

Crash Course: US History: Civil War Part I

In this second clip, he goes more into detail in Lincoln’s role in the civil war, explicitly his signing of the Emancipation Proclamation that freed slaves escaping from the South during the Civil War.

Crash Course: US History: Civil War Part II

The Emancipation Proclamation is often thought of as Lincoln’s crowning achievement. Our next clip from Nat Geo goes into detail on what the proclamation actually did and what it meant for the war. 

Lincoln: American Mastermind: The Emancipation Proclamation

After the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln wanted a permanent document that would ensure former slaves could remain free. To achieve this, he worked with allies in Congress to pass the 13th Amendment, which would abolish slavery for good. This quest of his was the subject of the 2012 film, Lincoln. Among the notable scenes in Lincoln, is this clip from the film that shows Lincoln talking with Grant after the ConfederateArmy had surrendered.

Lincoln: Lincoln Talks to Grant

In this one, He debates with his cabinet on why the amendment is necessary for this one:

Lincoln: This Amendment Is That Cure

Finally, in one of the last scenes in the movie, he gives his second inaugural address, showcasing his legendary oratory skills: 

Lincoln: Second Inaugural Address

To finish off your lesson, we recommend showing this short clip from Biography.com, that summarizes Lincoln’s legacy nicely.

Biography: Abraham Lincoln

As a bonus treat, here’s a clip from The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, where Lincoln’s famous Log Cabin Building is used for laughs. 

The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: Abraham Lincoln at the Mall

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