The American Civil War (1861-1865) was not fought over slavery, not at first, although slavery was at the heart of things. It was fought over the right states had to govern themselves. The South wanted strong state governments. The North wanted a strong central government.

The Civil War 1861-1865 for Kids

States in the South did not want Congress telling them what to do. They wanted individual states to have the right to decide major issues for themselves. States in the North wanted Congress to decide major issues, and they wanted individual states to obey any laws created by Congress, whether they agreed with them or not.

Events Leading Up to the Civil War

Causes of the 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


The Draft, Draft riots in New York

Engineers, Herman Haupt

Women & Child Soldiers

African American Soldiers

Teamsters & Supply Trains

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

Civil War Navy and Air Force

The Navy, Ironclads, Monitor vs. Merrimack

The Air Force, Observation Balloonists, Thaddeus Lowe

The War

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

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 - freed all slaves in areas NOT under Union control

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

Maps, Graphs, Timelines

Maps & Graphs (some interactive)

Timelines (some interactive)

Free Essays and Reports:

New Site: FREE Essays and Reports for the Civil War

Free Games & Activities for Kids:

Interactive Games & Activities about the American Civil War for Kids

For Teachers

American Civil War Lesson Plans & Activities

Civil War Powerpoints

Civil War Video Clips

Civil War Clip Art

Free iPad & iPhone apps 


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

President Lincoln Assassinated

Demobilization - Sending soldiers home

Johnson's Reconstruction

Congressional Reconstruction

Formation of the Freedmen's Bureau, a temporary federal agency

Reconstruction Act of 1867 - Military Rule in the South

Scalawags (White Southern Republicans) and Carpetbaggers (White Northern Republicans)

Birth of the Ku Klux Klan

14th Amendment (right of African Americans to citizenship), repeal of Black Codes

Ulysses S. Grant (Republican) Takes Over as President

15th Amendment (right of African American males to vote)

1877, End of Reconstruction with election of President Rutherford Hayes, a former Union general

Educational Games and Activities for Kids about Reconstruction

For Teachers

Post Civil War: Reconstruction Lesson Plans