Sectional Crisis Before the Civil War Comprehensive Unit: Interactive Slides, Student Questions, & Primary Source



If you are an American history teacher and need a great PowerPoint (or Google Slides) on the Sectional Crisis in the United States before the outbreak of the American Civil War, you are in the right place! This lesson will teach high school students about all the events that would lead to shots fired; events include the Missouri Compromise, Compromise of 1850, Harper’s Ferry raid, and much more. It will also introduce some influential people from history including Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln, and other significant figures from the time period.

This is a useful PowerPoint (or Google Slides) you can use to present to your class or give to them to study on their own (students could read the slides and the notes). The design is professional and with the right amount of words on each slide (i.e. NO death by PowerPoint). The content is very detailed in the notes, so if you are busy, you can simply open the slides in front of the class and read the notes (it is suggested you review the slides before class though). Furthermore, it includes a guide sheet that you can print and use when presenting. The information in the guide sheet and PPT notes include additional information that is not on the slides (in other words, it will make you look smart!). This way, the teacher can add interesting little comments or data to each slide. You can either print the whole guide sheet, or just the pages you need help with.

You can make changes to the PPT, if you deem it necessary. This presentation can be used in Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides (if you want to use Google Slides, just click the link on the provided file).

Content in PPT includes:

  • Brief history of slavery
  • Missouri Compromise
  • Tallmadge Amendment
  • Frederick Douglass
  • Harriet Tubman
  • Sojourner Truth
  • Mexican American War
  • Compromise of 1850
  • Wilmot Proviso
  • Fugitive Slave Act
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom’s Cabin
  • Free Soil Party
  • Republican Party
  • Bleeding Kansas
  • John Brown
  • Dred Scott Case
  • Lincoln Douglas Debates
  • Harper’s Ferry
  • South Carolina Secession
  • Fort Sumter
  • and more!

This presentations touches on all of the above topics and adds more detail. Students will understand how the United States developed rapidly in the 1800s and expanded across the continent.

This PPT follows standard American history textbooks.

How to use this product:

  • Present the PowerPoint (or Google Slides) in the classroom; one slide includes an interactive activity for students to complete
  • Present the Google Slides via Zoom (if distance learning)
  • Present and discuss – while presenting, get students involved and create discussion questions that get students thinking like a historian and comparing historical events to current events. Some discussion questions are included in some of the slides.
  • Print presentation with notes and let students read the slides (and notes)
  • Alternatively: have students view the slides, and they present the material in groups

Additional information

Grade Level

8th, 9th, 10th

Resource Types

Full Units, Homeschool, PowerPoints, Google Slides


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