Jefferson Davis Soldier Home - Beauvoir Lesson Plan

Drew Gardner

Students Will

  • Evaluate the purpose of Beauvoir as a museum.
  • Discuss the historical memory of Confederate veterans in modern America.
  • Compare the efforts to serve Confederate veterans with that of newly emancipated Black Mississippians.


  • Computer/tablet with internet access
  • Paper and writing utensils

Curricular Connections

Mississippi College- and Career-Readiness Standards for the Social Studies

US History: Exploration to 1877 

  • 8.10.2 - Trace the economic changes in the post- Civil War South, including: Lincoln’s Plan, Wade-Davis Bill, Johnson’s Plan, Radical Reconstruction. 

Mississippi Studies 

  • MS.6.3 - Detail the effects of the Civil War on Mississippi’s economy. 

  • MS.6.5 - Examine the lasting cultural effects of the Civil War and Reconstruction on Mississippi. 

US Government  

  • USG.1.1 - Evaluate the fundamental worth and dignity of the individual. 

Problems in American Democracy 

  • PAD.5.1 - Describe the economic characteristics of the North and South in the early-to-mid-nineteenth century that contributed to sectional political conflict. 

Teaching Levels

Grades 7 through 12


  1. The teacher will explain how, when, and where monuments, memorials, and museums have been used to educate and eternalize the Civil War. The placement of these symbols is important and should be evaluated. However, it is vital to remember that people fought the Civil War. Each living being possesses an inherent dignity. Reasons for service differed tremendously. However, a significant amount of life was lost and communities were forced to begin the difficult work of binding wounds, some doing a better job than others.  
  2. Students will collectively read the Jefferson Davis Soldier Home - Beauvoir article aloud. 
  3. The teacher will remind students the Confederacy had a clearly stated purpose for secession and eventual war as stated in the Mississippi statement of secession: “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery--the greatest material interest of the world.”  
  4. The teacher will explain that those who fought for the Confederacy should be held accountable for their support of a power structure that defended the enslavement of Black people. How should accountability impact need-based assistance due to injury of war? 
  5. The teacher will facilitate a discussion on the questions below. Teachers should determine which set of questions best suite their students age and ability level.  
    • Middle School: 
      • What needs might soldiers returning from war have? (Medical care, food assistance, shelter, employment, etc.) 
      • Who should meet those needs and how might they be met? 
      • Would one’s decision to fight to support the enslavement of Black people disqualify them from receiving assistance? Why or why not? 
      • Can we disagree with people at deep levels and still care for them? Why or why not? 
      • How can we practice caring for human dignity, especially when we strongly disagree? 
    • High School:  
      • Beauvoir became a haven for aging and impoverished Confederate veterans. No matter the individual positions, each fought to protect a power structure that supported race-based chattel slavery. How should we view the material need for these families alongside the system they served? 
      • Is it possible to object to the personal views and decisions of Confederate veterans and care for their physical wellbeing? 
      • How do we engage this topic without dehumanizing people we disagree with strongly? 
      • A significant amount of effort was contributed to convert Beauvoir into a home for needy Confederate veterans. What if the same energy and effort had been employed to aid newly emancipated Black people? 
      • What purpose should Beauvoir have today?