The American Civil War for Kids - Events Leading Up To, The Civil War, also called the War of Northern Agression and the War Between the States 1861-1865 and Reconstruction for Kids and Teachers Illustration

The American Civil War for Kids

Many people believe that the American Civil War of 1861-1865, also know as the War Between the States and the War of Northern Aggression, was fought over slavery. The question of slavery became a key issue as the war continued. But the American Civil War was fought over states' rights. State representatives in the US Congress would not compromise on the distribution of power in government, what rights states had to govern themselves.

  • States in the South wanted strong state governments. They did not want Congress telling them what to do. They wanted individual states to have the right to decide major issues for themselves. One of the rights the Southern states wanted was the right to own slaves.

  • States in the North wanted a strong central government. They wanted Congress to decide major issues. They wanted individual states to obey any laws created by Congress, even if those laws were in conflict with laws created by individual states, including state laws that had to do with slavery.

By 1861, the Union (northern states) and the Confederacy (southern states) were at war over the issue of states' rights.

Events Leading Up to
the American Civil War

Causes of the Civil War

The American Civil War -
Army & Camp Life

Comparison, Typical Confederate and Union Soldiers

Camp Life

Music, Bugles, Songs, Bands

Marching & Drilling

Leisure Time Activities, Baseball, Entertainment

Soldiers Payroll, Sutler Stores

Food & Foraging

Letters and Packages



Troop Mascots

Punishment, Trials, Courts-Martial


A Military Draft - North and South compared

Response: Draft Riots in New York, 1863

Engineers, Herman Haupt

Women & Child Soldiers

African American Soldiers

Teamsters & Supply Trains

Slaves in Camp, Racism in both the Union and Confederate Armies

The American Civil War -
Navy and Air Force

The Navy, Ironclads, Monitor vs. Merrimack

The Air Force, Observation Balloonists, Thaddeus Lowe

The War - Battles, Prison Camps, Speeches, Famous People and more

Major Battles

Medical Care, Clara Barton

Prison Camps

Ciphers, coded messages

Speeches, Proclamations, Primary Sources

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

People of the Civil War


The Home Front during the American Civil War

The South: Civilian Life, Inflation, Poverty, Starvation

The North: Civilian Life, Economic Boom, Dawn of the Industrial Age

Fund Raisers, Sanitary Fairs



The Economics of Slavery

The Triangle Trade

The Constitution and Bill of Rights on Slavery

The Missouri Compromise of 1820

Slave Life

The Underground Railroad

 Harriet Tubman

The Abolitionist Movement and Frederick Douglass

Fugitive Slave Laws

The Liberator - "AND I WILL BE HEARD"

The Compromise of 1850

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

The Dred Scott Decision by the U.S. Supreme Court (1858)

1860 Democratic and Republican Conventions, Lincoln elected president

1860, South Carolina Secedes, More Southern States follow, Border States

Emancipation Proclamation of 1863

1865, the Civil War ends;  the 13th Amendment is added to the U.S. Constitution ending slavery forever

Reconstruction, What happened after the Civil War was over? (1865-1877)

Post Civil War

Civil War Maps and Timelines

Maps (some interactive)

Timelines (some interactive)

Civil War Games & Activities for Kids:

Interactive Games & Activities about the American Civil War for Kids

Free Essays and Reports:

New Site: FREE Essays and Reports


For Teachers

Free Use American Civil War Lesson Plans, Classroom Activities, Simulations, Debates, Role Play, Projects, Maps

Free Use Video Clips