Wednesday, March 11, 2015

#NumbersDontLie - Making Civil War Infographics

Stats & Strategies 

To start off our Civil War unit, we learned about statistics and strategies of both the North and the South during the war. To begin the lesson, we looked at three documents and analyzed them. The essential question we needed to figure out was "How did the differences between the North and South affect each region's strategy and success in the Civil War?". We first looked at a Railroad and Slave Density document that featured two maps of the US - one showed the railroads in 1860, and the other showed slave density and cotton production in 1860. The next document featured pie charts about resources of the Union and Confederacy in 1861. This document ended up being an essential part of making the infographic. There was a lot of good information on here that made it easier to realize how both the North and the South had advantages in the war. The last document was called Slavery by the Numbers. This document also was really important because numbers don't lie, and neither do facts.

Making the Infographic

The main assignment for this lesson was making an Infographic. The website I ended up choosing for my presentation was Piktochart. Making infographics are difficult because it has to be visually appealing. Because of this, I had to pick certain statistics and different pieces of data to use that would make sense to anyone. I titled it "Success By The Numbers" because I like the idea of percentages and I want people to understand what they are looking at. It was not an easy task to only use a few tidbits of information. I focused on railroad mileage, agriculture and war strategy for my infographic. What did these have to do with the Civil War? Well, railroad mileage was actually more important than people might think. Railroads were essential because things had to be transported. Troops and supplies were transported quicker in the North, because they had a much larger amount of railroad milage. Agriculture is also important when talking about the situations faced by the Union and Confederacy at the start of the war. Cotton was the main crop, and basically the most important thing that everyone wanted. The South produced all of the cotton at this time. This means that they had all the power. They shipped this to places like Europe, but also to the North. The South had the power to cut off the North's supply of cotton, putting all the power in their hands. War strategy was the last aspect I focused on. The North had an elaborate war plan called the Anaconda PlanThe basic plan was to blockade the saltwater ports of the South and to stop all commerce on the Mississippi River so no cotton could be exported and no war supplies could be imported. The South's plan? Their strategy was called the War of Attrition. Their basic war plan was to prepare and wait. In the end, I realized the North had the advantage in the Civil War over the South, even with the cotton element. The infographic I made using Piktochart is below. Oh, and I like color coding so the information on the North is in blue, while the South is in red. 

  • American: Pathways to the Present. Chapter 11 Section 1. Prentice Hall. PearsonSuccessNet.
  • Allen Weinstein and R. Jackson Wilson, Freedom and Crisis: An American History, New York: Random House, 1974, and Philip Roden et. al., Life and Liberty Vol. 2, Scott, Foresman and Company, Glenview, Illinois, 1980.
  • Lawrence, Andy. 2012. Alliances. Military History Monthly. January 26. Accessed March 9, 2015.

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