Select Page

Coastal Heritage Curriculum Connection

Explore Curriculum Connection guides, which are written to accompany each issue of Coastal Heritage, a quarterly publication of the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium.

Coastal Heritage, Spring 2011 issue: Carolina Diarist: The Broken World of Mary Chesnut

Focus Questions

  • Who was Mary Chesnut? Why is her diary so important?
  • What were Mary Chesnut’s views of slavery and the Civil War? Did they change or stay the same?
  • How did President Lincoln view slavery before he was elected? After? What was the Emancipation Proclamation?
  • What are some of the main reasons that the Civil War was fought?

Use the Curriculum Connection to address South Carolina Standards

3rd Grade: South Carolina Studies

3-4.2: Summarize the institution of slavery prior to the Civil War, including reference to conditions in South Carolina, the invention of the cotton gin, subsequent expansion of slavery, and economic dependence on slavery. (H, E, P)

3-4.3: Explain the reasons for South Carolina’s secession from the Union, including the abolitionist movement, states’ rights, and the desire to defend South Carolina’s way of life. (H, P, E)

3-4.4: Outline the course of the Civil War and South Carolina’s role in significant events, including the Secession Convention, the firing on Fort Sumter, the Union blockade of Charleston, and Sherman’s march through South Carolina. (H, G)

3-4.5: Summarize the effects of the Civil War on the daily lives of people of different classes in South Carolina, including the lack of food, clothing, and living essentials and the continuing racial tensions. (H, E)

3-4.6: Explain how the Civil War affected South Carolina’s economy, including destruction of plantations, towns, factories, and transportation systems. (E, H)

4th Grade: United States Studies to 1865

4-6.3: Explain how specific events and issues led to the Civil War, including the sectionalism fueled by issues of slavery in the territories, states’ rights, the election of 1860, and secession. (H, G, E)

4-6.4: Summarize significant key battles, strategies, and turning points of the Civil War—including the battles of Fort Sumter and Gettysburg, the Emancipation Proclamation, the significance of the Gettysburg Address, and the surrender at Appomattox—and the role of African Americans in the Civil War. (H, G, E)

4-6.5: Compare the roles and accomplishments of key figures of the Civil War, including Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Jefferson Davis, and Robert E. Lee. (H, P)

4-6.6: Explain the impact of the Civil War on the nation, including its effects on the physical environment and on the people—soldiers, women, African Americans, and the civilian population of the nation as a whole. (H, P, G, E)

8th Grade: South Carolina: One of the United States

8-3.2: Explain the impact of key events leading to South Carolina’s secession from the Union, including the nullification crisis and John C. Calhoun, the Missouri Compromise, the Tariff of 1832, the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act and subsequent armed conflict, the Dred Scott decision, the growth of the abolitionist movement, and the election of 1860. (H, P, G)

8-3.3: Draw conclusions about how sectionalism arose from events or circumstances of racial tension, internal population shifts, and political conflicts, including the Denmark Vesey plot, slave codes, and the African American population majority. (H, P, E)

8-3.4: Compare the attitudes of the unionists, cooperationists, and secessionists in South Carolina and summarize the reasons that the members of the South Carolina secession convention in 1860 voted unanimously to secede from the Union, including concerns about states’ rights and fears about abolition. (H, P, G, E)

8-3.6: Compare the effects of the Civil War on daily life in South Carolina, including the experiences of plantation owners, women, Confederate and Union soldiers, African Americans, and children. (H, E)

9th – 12th: United States History and the Constitution

USHC-4.1: Compare the social and cultural characteristics of the North, the South, and the West during the antebellum period, including the lives of African Americans and social reform movements such as abolition and women’s rights. (H, P, G)

USHC-4.2: Explain how the political events and issues that divided the nation led to civil war, including the compromises reached to maintain the balance of free and slave states, the successes and failures of the abolitionist movement, the conflicting views on states’ rights and federal authority, the emergence of the Republican Party and its win in 1860, and the formation of the Confederate States of America. (H, P)

USHC-4.3: Outline the course and outcome of the Civil War, including the role of African American military units; the impact of the Emancipation Proclamation; and the geographic, political, and economic factors involved in the defeat of the Confederacy. (H, G, E, P)

Educational Extensions and Field Trips

  • The South Carolina National Heritage Corridor extends 240 miles across South Carolina, stretching from the mountains of Oconee County, along the Savannah River, to the port city of Charleston, and crosses 17 counties. It was established in 1996 for the purpose of celebrating the people and cultures of South Carolina while highlighting historical events that impacted the state. Check out and then explore the African American site that highlights life before and after the Civil War.
  •  The Avery Research Center in Charleston, S.C., provides a variety of programming for students to studying African American culture. Affiliated with the College of Charleston, the Avery Research Center—formerly the Avery Normal Institute—was founded in 1865 and served as the first accredited secondary school for African Americans. Schedule a tour, visit the research library, and check out their calendar of events at .
  • Visit Charles Towne Landing and explore what colonial life was like in the Lowcountry. Activities are designed to address social studies standards in 3rd and 8th grades.
  • Caw Caw Interpretive Center blends environmental education with cultural practices in some of their educational offerings. Learn about rice cultivation, indigo, and the ecosystems that were manipulated for rice and indigo production. Visit the website at .
  • Visit Fort Sumter National Monument, which offers a museum and a ferry out to the fort. Learn all about the first shots that were fired, triggering the Civil War, and the events that followed immediately afterward. Check out the website at .
  • Rice production produced a tremendous amount of wealth for plantation owners in the Lowcountry. Rice trunks were used to manipulate the flooding of rice fields and these are still being used today to manage for waterfowl. Check out the S.C. Department of Natural Resources video “Ageless Structures” at to view how these rice trunks operated. To see a rice trunk in person, visit Caw Caw Interpretive Center , Donnelley Wildlife Management Area , Bear Island Wildlife Management Area , or the Colleton Museum .