Take a Stand on Slavery

In the 1820s, 1830, and 1840s, the Second Great Awakening helped to inspire a reformist impulse across the nation. As History in the Making points out, one of those movements centered on an effort to abolish slavery in the United States; of course, the desire to eliminate slavery did not go unchallenged. In this activity, you will examine the views of antislavery (abolitionist) and proslavery writers in the antebellum years. This essay will help you better understand a controversy that permeated American life in the years leading up to the Civil War. Primary Sources Read the following pro- and anti-slavery documents Pro-Slavery George Fitzhugh Advocates Slavery Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race James Henry Hammond Advocates Slavery Excerpts from Edmund Ruffin’s “The Political Economy of Slavery” Abolitionists David Walker’s Appeal Frederick Douglass, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” The American Antislavery Society: Declarations of Sentiments Directions Part 1: Essay Focus Questions: What stereotypes do these documents promote about African-Americans? How do these men justify slavery? Or what points do they make about the need to abolish slavery? Should the emancipated slaves remain “on-soil,” that is, in the United States? How do these men envision civilized society and slavery’s place in it? What remarks do the abolitionists make about the conditions under which the slaves worked and lived? The pro-slavery writers? What are your impressions about the attitudes these men had about slavery, whether they were slavery proponents or abolitionists? In what ways are the arguments of these men reflective of racial prejudice? Format: For your essay, you must read the primary sources listed above and examine the descriptions of, and defense or attack of slavery offered in the documents. After selecting one side of the debate, you must write a two to three page essay (between 500 and 750 words) that addresses the focus questions. Your essay should have an introduction, supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion. In the supporting paragraphs, you should include specific examples or support of your position (quotations or paraphrases) from the primary sources for this activity. Regarding citations, you must provide citations for all of the information that you looked up in your sources and you must include a works cited page for those sources. Links below: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h3141t.html http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h3106t.html http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h3439t.html http://www.shoppbs.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/lincolns/filmmore/ps_ruffin.html http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h2931t.html https://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/what-to-the-slave-is-the-fourth-of-july/ http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/abolitn/abeswlgct.html

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