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History Repeating? Comparing the Assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy


From the moment that John F. Kennedy was shot on November 22, 1963, Americans began their fascination with comparing the deaths of two of their beloved and martyred presidents. Almost immediately the similarities between the two began to emerge. Through the analysis of primary resources and first-hand accounts, students will compare and contrast the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy, focusing upon the events surrounding their deaths and the nation’s response to each event. Students will then compose an essay highlighting the similarities and differences between the two tragedies.


  • Students will track their notes and observations using graphic organizers
  • Students will summarize their ideas and compose a five paragraph essay that discusses the similarities and differences of the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy
  • Students will be able to read and analyze complex informational texts
  • Students will be able to read and analyze primary resources, including, but not limited to newspaper articles, letters and journal entries



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External Resources

  • Grade Level

    6 to 8

  • Timeframe

    4 to 5 classes (45 min/period)

  • Class Subject


  • Skills

    Primary Sources

  • Teacher Information

    Georgette Hackman

    Cocalico Middle School

    7th Grade

    Social Studies

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Related Responses

Helen Augusta Bratt DuBarry to Ann A. Lamoureaux Bratt

Helen DuBarry to Ann Bratt

Letter from April 16th, 1865

Letter from Augustus Clark to S. M. Allen, 16 April 1865

Augustus Clark to S. M. Allen

Letter from Apr. 16, 1865

Mary Henry Diary

Mary Henry Diary

Diary from Apr. 15, 1865

Account of Lincoln's Funeral in Washington, D.C.[Detail]

Lincoln Funeral in Washington

Newspaper from Apr. 20, 1865

"Death of the president"

Newspaper from Apr. 15, 1865

"Citizens' Meeting at Odd Fellows' Hall."

Newspaper from Apr. 22, 1865

"Glorious News. Lincoln and Seward Assassinated!"

Newspaper from Apr. 21, 1865