Social Studies - 2017-18

VS.7a - Events and Differences leading to the Civil War

The student will demonstrate knowledge of the issues that divided our nation and led to the Civil War by

a)  identifying the events and differences between northern and southern states that divided Virginians and led to secession, war, and the creation of West Virginia.

Bloom's Level: Remember, Understand

Adopted: 2008


War is a major conflict between groups of people, nations, or states.

One person can affect the outcome of important events.

Economics can create differences between people of different regions.


Because of economic differences between the North and South, they were unable to resolve their conflicts, and the South seceded from the United States.

Virginians were divided about secession from the Union, which led to the creation of West Virginia.

What conflicts developed between the northern and southern states in the years following the American Revolution and led to the Civil War?

Why did Virginia secede from the Union?

Why did West Virginia become a state?


Identify and interpret artifacts and primary and secondary source documents to understand events in history. (VS.1a)

Determine cause-and-effect relationships. (VS.1b)

Compare and contrast historical events. (VS.1c)

Draw conclusions and make generalizations. (VS.1d)

Make connections between past and present. (VS.1e)

Sequence events in Virginia history. (VS.1f)

Interpret ideas and events from different historical perspectives. (VS.1g)

Analyze and interpret maps to explain historical events. (VS.1i)

Differences between northern and southern states

  • The economy in the northern part of the United States was more industrialized, while in the southern part, it was agricultural and relied more on slave labor.
  • Northern states wanted the new states created out of the western territories to be “free states,” while the southern states wanted the new states to be “slave states.”

Events leading to secession and war

  • Nat Turner led a revolt against plantation owners in Virginia.
  • Abolitionists campaigned to end slavery.
  • Harriet Tubman supported a secret route that escaped enslaved African Americans took; it became known as the “Underground Railroad.”
  • John Brown led a raid on the United States Armory (Arsenal) at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. He was trying to start a slave rebellion. He was captured and hanged.
  • After Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States in 1860, some southern states seceded from the Union and formed the “Confederate States of America.” Later, Virginia seceded and joined them.

Creation of West Virginia

  • Conflict grew between the eastern counties of Virginia that relied on slavery and the western counties that did not favor slavery.
  • Many disagreements between the two regions of the state led to the creation of West Virginia.


Updated: May 11, 2018