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Antebellum Mississippi Lesson Plan


During the 1830s, Mississippi experienced significant changes socially, economically and politically. With the forced removal of the Choctaw and the Chickasaw from their native lands, some of the nation’s most fertile farmland became available for cultivation. Mississippi subsequently became the nation’s largest producer of cotton. The growth in cotton production resulted in an increase in the use of slave labor, a speculative credit market, and a new state constitution. While antebellum Mississippi was transformed during the decade of the 1830s, it was not without cost to those who remained without a voice during the era of Jacksonian Democracy.

Curricular Connections

Mississippi Studies Framework: Competencies 1, 3 and 5

Common Core Standards

RH.3; WHST.2, 4-6

Teaching Level

Grades 7 through 12



The student will:

  1. Determine the cause and effect of a historical event
  2. Compose a written assignment from a specific point of view

Opening the Lesson

The teacher will write the word “antebellum” on the board and ask for a student volunteer to define the term. Once a definition for the term has been established, the teacher will ask the students to envision what life was like in antebellum Mississippi and record a few examples on a sheet of paper. The teacher will ask for student volunteers to share some of their examples with the class. Along with the student examples, the teacher can use the pictures that accompany the Mississippi History NOW article to help the students understand life in antebellum Mississippi.

Developing the Lesson

  1. The teacher will distribute to the students a copy of the Mississippi History NOW article, “Antebellum Mississippi.” The students will be encouraged to annotate the article as they read. Once the students have completed the reading, the teacher will distribute to the students a copy of the Cause and Effect Chart.
  2. The teacher will have the students reread the Mississippi History NOW article in order to complete the chart. The students can be paired or work independently on this portion of the lesson.
  3. Once the students have completed their charts, the teacher will lead a class discussion about the article by asking student volunteers to share information listed on their charts.
  4. For the next portion of the lesson, the teacher will use the RAFT strategy. This strategy includes a writing activity where students choose a *R*ole (point of view), *A*udience (specific reader to whom the assignment is being written), *F*ormat (letter, news article, editorial, journal entry, etc.), and *T*opic (specific topic of the writing) for their assignment. The students will more than likely need to conduct additional research in order to complete the assignment. If available, the teacher may want the students to use a computer to produce the final draft of their assignment.
  5. Once the students have completed their assignments, the teacher can ask for student volunteers to share their assignment with the class.

Closing the Lesson

The teacher will use the 3-2-1 activity to close the lesson on Antebellum Mississippi. On a sheet of paper, the students will respond to the following questions:

  1. Name three facts that you learned from the lesson.
  2. What are two facts that you found interesting from the lesson?
  3. What is one question you still would like answered about the lesson?

Assessing Student Learning

  • Class participation
  • Chart
  • Assignments


  • Research the history of the Choctaw and the Chickasaw
  • Research treaties and legislation that impacted the Choctaw and the Chickasaw as well as other Native American groups
  • Research the practice of slavery in Mississippi
  • Follow-up this lesson with other Mississippi History NOW lesson plans:
    • Chickasaws: The Unconquerable People
    • Cotton and the Civil War
    • Cotton in a Global Economy: Mississippi (1800-1860)
    • The Forks of the Road Slave Market at Natchez
    • Free People of Color in Colonial Natchez (1700-1798)
    • Mushulatubbee and Choctaw Removal: Chiefs Confront a Changing World

Karla Smith is the Social Studies Department Chair at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Jefferson Davis Campus.



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