Lesson Plans Lesson Plans

Maine's Acadian Community: "Evangeline," Le Grand Dérangement, and Cultural Survival

Brittany Cook, Maine Historical Society, Cumberland County



  • English Language Arts -- Speaking & Listening
  • English Language Arts -- Reading
  • Social Studies -- History

4-5 days

  • 1775-1850
  • 1851-1920
  • 1921-today
  • Community

This lesson plan will introduce students to the history of the forced expulsion of thousands of people from Acadia, the Romantic look back at the tragedy in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's famous epic poem Evangeline and the heroine's adoption as an Acadian cultural figure, and Maine's Acadian community today, along with their relations with Acadian New Brunswick and Nova Scotia residents and others in the Acadian Diaspora. Students will read and discuss primary documents, compare and contrast Le Grand Dérangement to other forced expulsions in Maine history and discuss the significance of cultural survival amidst hardships brought on by treaties, wars, and legislation.

  • Students will be able to identify the cultural, religious, and political landscape of the colonial Acadian region leading up to the expulsion in 1755.
  • Students will analyze passages from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Evangeline as both an artifact of American mythopoetic literature and as an artifact of Acadian culture.
  • Students will be able to distinguish fact and myth in the Acadian narrative in Evangeline and the works that followed it.
  • Students will be able to identify the significance of language, religion, and symbols in contemporary Acadian culture.

All additional resources are listed within the teacher resources at the end of the lesson plan.

Download Lesson Plan

A resource developed by Maine Historical Society with support from Jane's Trust