Lesson Plan: Vance and the Civil War (8th Grade)

The Zebulon B. Vance Birthplace State Historic Site recounts the childhood of North Carolina's Civil War governor. While focusing on Vance's upbringing in Buncombe County, the site also tells the story of his service to the Confederacy as colonel of the 26th North Carolina Troops and as governor of the state during most of the war. In focusing on his childhood, the site also tells the story of slavery in the mountains and how it differed from the more traditional view of slavery in the plantation South. Just as slavery differed in this region, the war itself took on unique, harsh, and harrowing aspects in the mountains of western North Carolina. The information and curriculum activities contained in this educational program will explore this part of the North Carolina Civil War Experience in greater detail.

This education program is one in a series that provide comprehensive, site-based learning experiences concerning the state's Civil War history designed for 8th grade students. The program is a stand-alone unit but its value is multiplied when combined with one or more additional units. Each program contains at least one supplemental lesson plan. These plans work best in support of the on-site activities but can also be used if a site visit is not possible.

Program Goals

The story of Vance Birthplace is a component for meeting the following NCSCS Goals for 8th Grade Social Studies:

4.02 Describe the political and military developments of the Civil War and analyze their effect on the outcome of the war.
4.03 Assess North Carolina's role in the Civil War and analyze the social and economic impact of the war on the state.
4.04 Evaluate the importance of the roles played by individuals at the state and national levels during the Civil War and Reconstruction Period.

The story of Vance Birthplace is a component for meeting the following National Standard for the Social Sciences:

Standard 2 - The course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people.
2A - The student understands how the resources of the Union and Confederacy affected the course of the war.
2B - The student understands the social experience of the war on the battlefield and homefront.

Program Objectives

  1. Students will learn of the role of Zebulon B. Vance as governor of North Carolina during the Civil War.
  2. Students will gain an understanding of how the western region of North Carolina experienced the war and be able to compare and contrast it with other sections of the state.
  3. Students will gain an understanding of the unique aspects of the institution of slavery as it was practiced in western North Carolina.