A Fighting Chance (1850-1877)
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define philanthropy as individuals and organizations providing their time, talent, and/or treasures intended for the common good throughout history and around the world. Give examples.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark MS.10 Give historic and contemporary examples of a voluntary action by an individual or a private organization that has helped to enhance a fundamental democratic principle.
    2. Standard PCS 06. Philanthropy in History
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Describe how civil society organizations developed during major historical events.

Students describe the brave work of one female Quaker who served a lifeline for fugitives and freedmen before the Civil War. They research several examples of the philanthropic work of individuals and organizations before, during, and after the Civil War.

PrintThree Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • identify and describe how six individuals formed organizations/or worked for the common good immediately before, during or after the Civil War.
  • analyze why the work of Laura Smith Haviland was philanthropic and supported the Core Democratic Values.
  • student handouts below: Vocabulary List, Laura Smith Haviland,,Doing the Right Thing
  • Social studies textbooks
  • Copy of the book Before the Mayflower (optional)
  • Copy of By the People: A History of Americans as Volunteers (optional)
  • Bennett, Lerone. Before the Mayflower. Johnson Publishing Company, 1982. ISBN 0-14-017822-8
  • Ellis, Susan J. and Katherine H. Noyes. By the People: A History of Americans as Volunteers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1990. ISBN 1-55542-217-9
  • Fugate, Sandy. For the Benefit of All: A History of Philanthropy in Michigan. Battle Creek: W. K. Kellogg Foundation, 1997. ISBN 1-891445-00-6
  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Wear or hold a sign with a message such as, "Will work for food." As students enter the classroom, just stand without making any comment regarding the sign.

    Discuss the meaning of the sign and how it might feel to wear or see someone holding this sign.  

  2. Say, 'There are many times and circumstances in our history and today when individuals must be uplifted by the assistance of others. Before, during, and after the Civil War, many individuals felt hardships." Write 1850-1877 on the board. Record student knowledge about this time period using the KWL (What We Know, What We Want to Know, What We Have Learned or Need to Learn) format. Note that 1850-1877 is the time frame for the lesson.

  3. Distribute the Vocabulary List. Group students in cooperative learning groups of two or three. Assign one or two words to each group for defining. Learning to Give has a philanthropy vocabulary page. 

    Make available Before the Mayflower, By the People: A History of Americans as Volunteers, class textbooks and other books needed for reference. After sufficient time has been given for research, as a whole group, go over the terms, allowing students to take notes and verifying that the terms are clear.

  4. Day Two:

    Ask the learners why they individuals such as the Quakers or those who formed the Underground Railroad took the actions they did. Was there any relationship between what they did and the Core Democratic Values? Philanthropy?

    Read Laura Smith Haviland (handout). Ask students to generate a list of words that describe the character of Laura Smith Haviland. Discuss in what way she was a philanthropist.

  5. Distribute Doing the Right Thing. Ask students to work independently to find other samples of individuals and organizations that represented examples of the Core Democratic Values during the period from 1850 to 1877. The chart may be completed during the next class period, if necessary.

  6. Day Three:

    Complete charts and the writing task on the back of the chart. Share information collected. Discuss how these individuals and organizations could be considered philanthropic: giving of their time, talent or resources for the common good.


The student charts will serve as the assessment.