Brother Against Brother

Contributor: Danielle Childers. Lesson ID: 10132

Different people have different opinions about different things, especially from different cultures; that's natural. How you solve differences is different. Learn what happens when perspectives clash!


United States

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • Has there ever been a time when you and your sibling or friend disagreed about something?
  • What did you disagree about?
  • Did you even fight about it?
  • How did you resolve it?

two brothers arm wrestling

Disagreements happen all the time!

Usually, they happen when two people see a situation differently.

For example, you might disagree with your sibling about a toy. You had the toy first, then went to eat something. When you returned, your sibling was playing with it.

You believe you should get the toy back because you were only gone for a minute, but your sibling sees the situation differently. They say you put the toy down, so now they can play with it.

Both of you think you should get to play with the toy because both of you see the situation differently. You both believe you are right in your point of view, which is called perspective.

Different perspectives have caused many disagreements and wars in history.

This lesson is about the Civil War, also called the War Between Brothers, because brothers fought against each other. This war divided families, communities, cities, and the whole country.

Each side was fighting for what they thought was freedom.

Think over these questions.

  • What is your understanding of freedom?
  • Why do you have that perspective?
  • Are you influenced by what your parents think, what you see on TV, or the thoughts of your friends?

It is hard not to be influenced by all those factors. They help form your perspective and that of others. Where you live, what your family believes, and what you are taught go into your perspective.

As you watch the video below to learn more about the Civil War, listen for any new information.

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After viewing the video, consider the following.

  • What was one new thing you learned about the Civil War?
  • Can you believe how many people died during the Civil War?

American Cemetary that holds veterans of the Civil War

Look again at perspective, but this time look into the perspective of the main groups — the majority groups — around the time of the Civil War.

  • the Southern Whites
  • the Northern Whites
  • the abolitionists
  • the Southern Blacks

The South is where slavery was most prevalent because property owners wanted free labor to work on their large farms, called plantations.

  • So, how do you think the Southern Whites felt about freedom?

They believed freedom only belonged to the White man, and slavery should be preserved because that was the sole purpose of Blacks. They thought the government and the Northerners were trying to interfere too much in their lives and abolish slavery.

Many Southerners strongly believed states had the right to decide the issue of slavery for themselves and did not believe the federal government should decide for them. So, the only way to keep their life the same and be free was to secede — separate — from the Union.

  • What do you think the Southern Blacks — the enslaved men and women — believed freedom meant?

They believed that to be free, slavery should be abolished, and they should have the same rights as White men: owning land, freedom to vote, receiving pay for working, etc.

The Northern Whites believed slavery should not be allowed, but they did not believe Blacks were equal to Whites. To them, freedom was about money. Slave labor was cheap, so the Southerners were very wealthy, and the Northerners did not like that.

If slavery were abolished, there would be economic freedom in the job market.

The Abolitionists were considered a radical group in the Civil War era. They were Blacks and Whites who believed slavery was a horrible thing and that all men were equal, no matter what color.

To them, freedom was equal rights for all men and the abolishment (outlawing) of slavery.

A symbolic photograph featuring a silhouette of a chain breaking apart against a backdrop of the rising sun, symbolizing the liberation and freedom achieved through the end of slavery

That is a lot of information to take in!

If you need more guidance on the differing points of view, check out The American Civil War Overview & Causes.

  • Which perspective is closest to yours? Why?

After some thought, move to the Got It? section to meet some individuals from these groups.

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