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History Repeating: Lincoln and Kennedy Assassinations


Through the analysis of primary documents, students will compare and contrast the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy by composing a well-researched essay.

Guiding Questions

  • How are events in different periods of history related?
  • What comparisons can be drawn between Lincoln's assassination and JFK's assassination?
  • How does the country respond to presidential assassination?
  • How can primary and secondary sources be used in a compare and contrast essay?


  • Make connections between and recall information about seemingly disparate historical events
  • Draw conclusions based on the similarities that exist between the two assassinations
  • Independently conduct research on primary source articles about the response of the nation to the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy
  • Draft an essay outlining the similarities and differences of the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy
  • Visually compare and contrast the two assassinations by placing key points on a chart



Lesson Activity One: Comparing the Assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy

  • Students learn about the overwhelming similarities between President Lincoln’s and President Kennedy’s Assassinations

Lesson Activity Two: Reading About the Assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy

  • Students will learn more about the historical contexts of the Lincoln and Kennedy assassinations.

Lesson Activity Three: Primary Resource Analysis - "How did the country respond to the loss of the President?"

  • Students browse primary source websites and begin compiling research for their essays.

Lesson Activity Four: Essay Drafting - "What were the similarities and the differences between the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy?"

  • With their sources, students being to write an essay comparing and contrasting the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy.

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External Resources

  • Grade Level

    6 to 8

  • Timeframe

    2 to 3 classes (45 min/period)

  • Class Subject


  • Skills

    Analysis, Close Reading, Collaboration, Connections, Evaluate, Form Opinions, History, Primary Sources, Research

  • Teacher Information

    Georgrette Hackman

    Cocalico Middle School

    5, 6, 7

    Social Studies

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