Warning Signs: Lincoln’s Response to Rising Threats to Freedom, Justice, and Democracy

Throughout the 1850s, Abraham Lincoln witnessed a series of challenges to the republic including extreme polarization and political violence stemming from opposition on matters of freedom, justice, and democracy. Explore how these challenges developed and were met in Lincoln’s time through primary sources, original short films featuring experts, and teacher-developed lesson plans. Topics covered include the Compromise of 1850, the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision, The Kansas-Nebraska Act, and Lincoln’s speeches and debates. Understanding what happened and why provides essential context about the past and lessons learned for challenges we face in our own time.

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