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The South's Decision to Secede: A Violation of Self Interest?

Essential Dilemma Your students will consider the following questions: In deciding to secede from the Union in 1861, did the South violate its own self-interest and thus disprove the basic economic principle that people seek to further their self-interest in the decisions they make? To get at the question, each student will assume the role of an ardent secessionist. Acting in this role, the students will apply principles of economic reasoning and use a decision grid to weigh the benefits and costs of the South's effort to create a new nation in which slavery and state's rights would forever be guaranteed by law.

Grades: 9-12
Published: 04/08/2005

Collecting for Fun . . . and Profit?

Art, baseball cards, coins, comic books, dolls, jewelry and stamps are just a few examples of the many things people collect. While some people collect for fun — others hope to profit. In this lesson, students explore how supply and demand influence the price of collectibles. They also evaluate speculation in collectibles as an investment option. They learn that collectibles are one of the riskiest ways people can invest their money.

Grades: 9-12
Published: 12/27/2004

Worker Safety - The Triangle Fire Legacy

The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911 was a turning point for employee health and safety protections in the U.S. Students investigate the Triangle tragedy and how its impact is still felt today. Students identify eerie parallels between the Triangle Fire and more recent workplace events with safety implications – recent complaints of Wal-Mart employee lock-ins, a deadly fire in a North Carolina poultry processing plant in 1991, and a 1993 fire in a Thailand toy factory given the sad distinction of most deadly industrial fire in the world. How can future tragedies be prevented in the workplace? Students assess the costs, benefits and effectiveness of various government and labor actions. They discover that worker safety is a complex issue and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Grades: 9-12
Published: 04/06/2004

Related Publications

The following lessons come from the Council for Economic Education's library of publications. Clicking the publication title or image will take you to the Council for Economic Education Store for more detailed information.


Playful Economics

Designed primarily for elementary and middle school students, each of the 15 lessons in this guide introduces an economics concept through activities with modeling clay.

Grades: K-8
Published: 2011

17 out of 17 lessons from this publication relate to this EconEdLink lesson.

Learning, Earning and Investing: High School

This publication contains 23 lessons that introduce high school students to the world of investing--its benefits and risks and the critical role it plays in fostering capital formation and job creation in our free market system.

Grades: 9-12
Published: 2004

23 out of 23 lessons from this publication relate to this EconEdLink lesson.

The Great Economic Mysteries Book: A Guide to Teaching Economic Reasoning, Grades 4-8

This publication introduces students in grades 4-8 to an economic way of thinking through exploring the mysteries of everyday life. Students solve each mystery by responding to hints provided by simple true/false questions and by reference to a logical system of reasoning that applies basic economic principles.

Grades: 4-8
Published: 2000

17 out of 17 lessons from this publication relate to this EconEdLink lesson.