Learning Lincoln On-line

Topic Sets to Study the Civil War Home Page


Topic Eighteen:  The Lincolns in Washington D.C. & Washington D.C. During the Civil War & General Chronology




#1  Abraham Lincoln served as a U.S. Congressman for one term.  He and his family moved to Washington during these two years.  During that term important political issues arose.  Answer these questions:  Why did Lincoln and his supporters want to abolish slavery in Washington, D.C.? Why didn't they call for the abolition of slavery in other states?  Another issue was the start of the Mexican War.  Lincoln made a "spot resolution" to determine the legality of the war.  Go to the Library of Congress and read the article.  Look at the LOC description of the "spot resolution," and describe what the main goal of the resolution.  Click Here for your information.      To read about the "spot resolution," Click Here

#2  A Washington D.C. planning and building history helps to understand why our nation defended it so fiercely during the Civil War.  Read about the history of its' building and describe the main people involved and highlights of its' construction.  Click here for the article that will give the answers.

3.  Why was Washington D.C. considered a southern city? Describe the geography of the city and our nation's capitol.  Go to Washington.org to find your answers.

4.  The Lincolns had Eddie, Tad, Willie and Robert.  Find out which boy favored (looked like) father Abraham.  Also find out what the phrase "Lincoln's tolerance--related to his boys" means and provide an example of tolerance in White House.  Go to AbrahamLincolnsClassroom.org to find your answers.


5.  The Lincoln boys liked to play in the unfinished attic of the White House.  Describe how they played up there.  Go to MrLincolnsWhitehouse.org site to read about the attic.

6.  The Lincoln boys were raised in Washington D.C.  They had a good friend named.  How did Julia Taft describe Washington D.C.?  Describe the Taft children (names and ages).  How were the Taft boys and Lincoln boys similar?  Julia had a special personal relationship with Abraham and Mary.  What experiences did Julia like to tell about the Lincoln parents?  Julia had a special story about "Abram, as Mary called him."  What was this story.  Go to MrLincolnsWhitehouse.org site to get your answers.

7.  The U.S. Capitol was being remodeled (enlarged) and all was put on hold when the Civil War started.  In 1862, work on the entire building was continued.  Describe what was finished during the Civil War.  Also, describe other improvements or changes to the Capitol during the Civil War.  Who was the architect of the Capitol during the Civil War time-frame?  Go to the Architect of the U.S. Capitol Site for answers.

8.  Where did the President and the family like to go to relax and get away from the White House during the summer?  Go to Wikipedia to find the answers.

9.  Where did the President, himself, escape to for quiet and solace, to be able to think about the commands and events he would have to give and decide upon?  Mr. Bernard tells of this at:  Click Here

10.  Washington D.C. in 1860 was a small southern city.  What was its' population?  After the war started what was its' population and who made up the majority of its people?  Go to Wikipedia to find the answers.

11.  What was life in the city like during the Civil War?  Why was it described at detestable?  Go to Wikipedia to find out what the city was like.

12.  When did actual combat from the war nearly enter into Washington--In fact, Lee came close to challenging, if not capturing, Washington’s defenses — both the field army and the field fortifications — after the Battle of Second Manassas.   Describe the events of that battle and near take-over.  How was Fort Stevens involved?  Go to CivilWar.org for the answers.

13. Ford Theatre in Washington D.C. had an interesting history.  What was the theatre before becoming an entertainment theatre?  Who started the theatre (namesake)? Was the theatre where the President was killed the original Ford Theatre?  Go to the official Ford Theatre site and use the timeline to find the answers.

14. Washington D.C. allowed slavery for a time.  When was slavery abolished in the capitol?  What was the The DC Compensated Emancipation Act?  What did it mean to slave owners in the city?  Go to DC.gov to get the answers.

15. Washington D.C., during the Civil War was perhaps the most protected city in the world.  What did the U.S. Army do to protect the "southern" city?  Go to the NPS for answers.


(Click here for the student version)


Questions #1-5

Capitol Building during the Lincoln Inauguration, 1861


President Lincoln at Fort Stevens, Washington D.C.



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