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Lesson Plan: Lucius Hubbard

For Teachers - An Introduction:
This lesson is designed to introduce your students to historical research with primary sources. They will be presented with a set of six primary sources relating to a person in Minnesota history. Students will be provided with source data, online activity questions to direct their study, and a worksheet designed to help them draw conclusions about the sources they have seen and about primary source research in general. The sections of this site are not intended to be complete histories of the people or events involved, but rather serve as examples of what students might find in their own research attempts.

Who was Lucius Hubbard?
Lucius F. Hubbard worked as a newspaper editor and businessman in Red Wing before serving in the Fifth Minnesota Regiment during the Civil War. His war service earned him the rank of brevet brigadier general, and he fought in 13 campaigns, 5 sieges, and 34 battles. During the Battle of Nashville, it is said that three horses were shot from under him. He served as a Republican governor of Minnesota from 1882 to 1887 and was a division commander in the Spanish American War.

What You Will Need for This Lesson:

  • Access to a computer lab with Internet capability for at least one 40 minute class period.
  • Photocopies of the worksheet and a printed key (download both in the Student Materials section of the site).
  • If you have not already done so, we encourage you to explore the site for yourself ahead of time to become familiar with the navigation and features available to you and your students.

Skills Objectives:
The student will be able to:

  1. access primary sources online for research and study
  2. identify and summarize the different kinds of sources in the exercise
  3. identify advantages and disadvantages to using particular primary sources
  4. explain and synthesize source information to evaluate its usefulness and reliability

Using this Lesson in Your Classroom:
When the students are in the computer lab, lead them through the following sequence (you may wish to use an overhead projector screen):

  1. Go to the Communities web site.
  2. Click on Communities on the left hand side of the screen.
  3. Click on Red Wing.
  4. Click on Lucius Hubbard.
  5. Read the introductory material on Lucius Hubbard and click Enter.
  6. This will bring you to a screen with a photograph of Hubbard. This is the first primary source the students will encounter. Let them know that they can see a larger version of this photograph by clicking on the View button underneath the thumbnail image. Show students the Activity button and have them click on it to view questions and possible answers about each source.
  7. Once students have studied this photograph and read the appropriate questions about it in the Activity section, direct them to the other sources that are accessible through the blue menu bar running across the top of the page. Each of these buttons will take them to another source to explore.
  8. Remind students to use the Activity button on each source to help direct their research.
  9. When the students have completed studying each source and reading the questions for each item, they should be able to complete the worksheet they were given (see below).

What Your Students Will See In This Lesson Online:
Below is a listing of each source provided on the Hubbard section of the web site and a transcript of the activity questions for each source. (The questions are found on the site by clicking on the Activity button.)

Photo 1
Click on the Photo 1 button to open the primary source.

Before becoming Governor of Minnesota, Hubbard was a newspaper editor and businessman in Red Wing. He served with honor in the Civil War and the Spanish-American War.

Object 1

Click on the Object 1 button to open the primary source.
This sword belonged to Hubbard.

    2.1) This sword was presented to Hubbard by the citizens of Goodhue County. Why might they have done this?

    Possible Answer: Hubbard was a prominent member of the Fifth Minnesota Regiment, and this was a way to honor him.

    2.2) The hand guard on this sword is designed for a right-handed soldier. What do you think you would have to do if you were left-handed?

    Possible Answer: Almost all swords and muskets at this time were made for right-handed use. Left-handed soldiers would most likely just have had to adapt or learn how to fight with their right hand.

    2.3) The tip of the scabbard for this sword appears to have been damaged or worn down. How do you think that could have happened?

    Possible Answer: When wearing a sword, the tip of the scabbard is often likely to drag on the ground, which could have caused the damage over time. It's also possible that the tip was broken.

    2.4) Do you think Hubbard might have actually used this sword in battle?

    Possible Answer: We can't know for sure, but often commemorative swords like this one were left at home as keepsakes and not used in battle. This is not a regulation sword that would normally be used by a cavalry soldier. The detailing is too ornate and the design more decorative than would be used for actual fighting.

Document 1
Click on the Document 1 button to open the primary source.
This request was made to promote Hubbard in the military.

    3.1) What prompted McArthur to request a promotion for Hubbard?

    Possible Answer: Hubbard's courage and leadership during a battle led McArthur to request promotions for Hubbard and two other colonels in the army.

    3.2) Why was the request for promotion sent to Abraham Lincoln?

    Possible Answer: As president of the United States, Lincoln was the commander in chief of the military and therefore the only official authorized to grant promotions of this nature.

    3.3) Why do you think others signed the request?

    Possible Answer: Often other witnesses were needed to verify the truth of the claims so that no one was promoted simply because they knew or were associated with someone in power. They had to be able to prove that the person honored was deserving of the honor.

    3.4) How might we be able to find out if Hubbard actually got the promotion that was requested for him?

    Possible Answer: We may be able to locate the actual orders that granted his promotion. Also, if we look at later documents from Hubbard's life, they might mention his military title.

News 1
Click on the News 1 button to open the primary source.
Hubbard was the editor of this newspaper in Red Wing.

    4.1) What reason does Hubbard give for reducing the price of the newspaper?

    Possible Answer: He does not give an exact reason, but we could guess that he wants to provide the newspaper to more people during the war and therefore assumes that he can lower the price and sell more papers.

    4.2) What promises does the newspaper make about its coverage of the war?

    Possible Answer: The paper promises to be open to all those who wish to contribute, no matter what their political party. It also promises to have accurate and recent reports of the events of the war.

    4.3) Why might the newspaper want to emphasize that people of all past party connections should feel welcome to read and contribute to the paper?

    Possible Answer: With the war beginning, the paper wanted to encourage unity in the community and encourage all to buy their paper for accounts of the war events. They may also be suggesting that their reporting of the war events will not take political sides.

    4.4) How often is the newspaper issued and how much does a yearly subscription cost?

    Possible Answer: The Goodhue County Republican was published once a week and a year's subscription would cost the reader one dollar and fifty cents.

Document 2
Click on the Document 2 button to open the primary source.
While he was governor of Minnesota, Hubbard gave a speech every two years about events and organizations in the state.

    5.1) In this part of his speech, Hubbard discusses the Minnesota State Board of Health, which was actually begun by a Red Wing doctor years earlier. How might this affect his attitude toward the Board in the speech?

    Possible Answer: Hubbard might have known the man who started the Board and wanted to support him. Since the Board of Health was a new part of government at this time, it is possible that Hubbard wanted to compliment their work and encourage legislators to support them in the future.

    5.2) What does Hubbard request for the Board of Health?

    Possible Answer: He asks the legislators to pay attention to the recommendations of the Board of Health and to take their requests seriously. As governor, this support might be very helpful for the board in getting the money and support they would need for their programs.

    5.3) What current speech of the governor does this speech resemble?

    Possible Answer: Current Minnesota governors make a yearly speech called the "State of the State" that outlines many of the same issues and topics as Hubbard's biennial speeches of years ago. These speeches provide citizens and lawmakers with a summary of information about the state and its work over the preceding year.

    5.4) Since this information is presented as a speech to legislators, why might it be necessary to publish the speech in a book form like this one?

    Possible Answer: Since not all citizens would be able to attend the speech and recording equipment was not in use, the only way for many citizens to get the information in the speech was to read it in a publication.

News 2
Click on the News 2 button to open the primary source.
This obituary, or death notice, published in the local paper described Hubbard's life.

    6.1) What information about Hubbard can we learn from this obituary?

    Possible Answer: This obituary tells us about the different occupations that Hubbard had during his life and his work in the military.

    6.2) What can we NOT learn from this obituary?

    Possible Answer: Since obituaries were often written with information provided by the family of the deceased, the information that is provided can be biased in favor of the person. We may not learn about scandals or conflicts in this person's life from his obituary.

    6.3) What information in this obituary suggests that Hubbard was still considered a very important person in Minnesota politics?

    Possible Answer: The Minnesota legislature decided to adjourn in order to attend his funeral.

    6.4) The article mentions a painting in the Capitol building that was "draped" after his death? Why might this be so?

    Possible Answer: It was common to drape portraits of the deceased with a dark fabric as a sign of mourning and respect. The painting mentioned here showed Hubbard leading a charge during a battle of the Civil War. This painting still hangs in the Minnesota State Capitol today.

Thought Questions for Online Exploration:
During the online lesson, your students should complete the accompanying worksheet for this section. (Download from the student materials the pdf file containing the worksheet and key.) The questions for this worksheet are provided below. Since questions relating to specific sources are used during the online activity, the following worksheet questions are designed to help students synthesize and apply the material they have learned from the online activity and to analyze the kinds of information and the credibility of various types of primary sources when taken as a whole.

  1. Since Hubbard was well-known and a key state government figure, we are able to locate sources from a variety of his activities. What advantages are there for the historian in being able to see sources from a variety of events or parts of a person's life? How can this make the research more difficult? How might you decide which sources are most important for your work?

  2. During the Civil War, officers were often given promotions for courage and leadership "on the field." Hubbard received one of these promotions. How do you think that promotion to brigadier general affected his life and his influence in later years?

  3. The Minnesota State Board of Health had as its first leader a doctor from Red Wing named Charles Hewitt. Does that fact affect your interpretation of Hubbard's comments about the Board of Health in his biennial message? How might we find out if Hewitt and Hubbard knew each other or if they even lived at the same time?

  4. Military swords like the one used by Hubbard are often kept as family heirlooms. These heirlooms are often rich sources of information about a family's history. What family heirlooms do you have in your family and what do they mean to you? What do they tell you about your family and its history? How could you find out more about these heirlooms in your family and how they were used or received?

Extending the Lesson: Historical Themes Lucius Hubbard
You can also use the sources provided on this site to encourage higher-order thinking about a number of historical themes and issues that relate to Hubbard's life in Minnesota. Below are possible activities and discussion starters to extend student application of the content material provided in the sources. The information provided in the sources about Hubbard does not give us a comprehensive picture of these issues, but it can serve as an introduction to a theme or as supplementary material to enhance your work with a theme that is already part of your curriculum.

Possible Themes:
Effects of wartime service
Role of newspapers in the community

Theme One:
Effects of wartime service

The student will be able to:

  1. Describe and define the role military service can play in a person's future career.
  2. Examine their own family history and the assess the talents they bring to their community.
Class Discussion:
In small groups, have students discuss the following questions. You may wish to provide these questions on an overhead transparency or supply a handout for student reference.

  • What role do you think military service has in making someone a good leader? What qualities does it take to be a good military leader? Are these the same qualities needed to be a good political leader? Where might some of the differences be? What traits might a military leader need to learn to become a good politician and vice versa?

  • Wartime service can have a positive or negative effect on a person's future. List some of the positive things that a soldier can learn while in military service. How might wartime service affect a soldier in a negative way? What examples of this from our own time can we find? What is being done to help soldiers who have had negative wartime experiences? What else could be done? Why is it sometimes difficult for people who haven't been in the military to understand what a soldier's life is like?
Optional Activities:
  • Have students think about artifacts or objects that tell something about their own family or family history. Where did the object come from? Why is it important to your family? What significance might it have to your family's history? Ask students to choose an item at home from their life now that they think might be important to their family's history and bring it to class for a show and tell. This could be their favorite book, a special item of clothing, or a letter they have received. These should be things that are not necessarily "valuable" right now, but that could tell future generations what the student's interests were.

  • Ask students to research newspaper or magazine accounts of a recent military endeavor (e.g., Gulf War, battles in Kosovo or Bosnia). Students should report to the class about the following issues: How did the newspapers or magazines differ in their reporting? What do we know now about the events that the reporters did not know at the time? How did the articles change as the conflict continued? Was there a change in attitude, or a feeling of hopelessness or frustration with the event? Did any of the articles seem to have an opinion about the event, and what was that opinion? Students might also want to do this activity by looking at editorial cartoons about an event and examining them for the same issues.

  • Have students research the lives and work of state or national leaders who have also been military leaders. How did their military experience help them in government? Did it help them to get elected? What are the advantages and disadvantages of electing someone with a military background? Was their any conflicting information about the person's military work or service (e.g., scandals about avoiding the draft or conflicting accounts of heroic acts during wartime)? Ask students to prepare a collage of articles, photographs, and text showing important aspects of the person's military and political career, and present these to the class in an oral report.

  • Military officers and soldiers were often given commendations for good work or bravery in battle. These were printed in government documents for later reference. Ask students to consider the kinds of awards or commendations they receive. These might include "letters" for sports, certificates for activities or contests, ribbons for 4H exhibits, and other kinds of awards. How might these commendations be helpful to them in the future when they are looking for jobs or applying to colleges?

Theme Two:
Role of newspapers in the community

The student will be able to:

  1. Identify, evaluate, and examine the role of newspapers in their community.
  2. Develop, create and publish a small school newspaper or State of the School address for classroom use and discussion using information gathered from research and interviews.
Class Discussion:

  • How important do you think the local newspapers are in your community? What tasks are made easier with the presence of a local newspaper?

    Generate answers to the following questions: What qualities do you want to see in your local newspaper? What traits do you think are inappropriate for a newspaper? What characteristics help you separate a good newspaper from what you might consider to be a bad one?

  • List some challenges you think your local newspaper editors and reporters might have to face in their work. What skills could help them overcome those challenges? What can the community or school do to help limit those challenges?

Optional activities:

  • Have students create a mock legislature to discuss an issue of local importance that they have seen in the local paper. Divide the class into political parties and assign someone to be president of the senate or house speaker. Have students debate the chosen issue and vote on its passage. Students may lobby among themselves to get classmates to change their votes. Discuss how the process worked or didn't work and what suggestions students might have to improve its efficiency.

  • Have students compare newspaper articles from past events. They may wish to choose to compare two articles from different papers about an event during a war, or a major criminal trial. Ask them to evaluate how each newspaper reported the event and what role the opinions of the reporters might have had in the article's viewpoint or the placement of the article in the newspaper itself.

  • Ask a local newspaper reporter to come to class to discuss what they do at their job. You may wish to have the reporter explain the education they needed to get their job.

  • Invite a local newspaper editor to class to help the students design their own newspaper page. Discuss the following issues: What is an editor's role at a newspaper? What items are necessary for a good newspaper? What kinds of articles would the students like to include? What is the printing process that a newspaper uses? How much does it cost to print a newspaper and what factors can influence that cost? Have students produce a one- or two-page class newspaper after the discussion and distribute it in school.

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