Unit 5 Essay: Debate over Slavery | exclusivewritings.com

Humanities

In the 1820s, 1830, and 1840s, the Second Great Awakening helped to inspire a reformist impulse across the nation. 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.

Focus Questions

Consider these questions as you read through the above sources (ALL of these questions need to be addressed in your essay):

Proslavery authors
1. How do these authors justify slavery?
2. According to these authors, what place do slaves have in society?
3. What derisive stereotypes of African Americans are found in these proslavery documents?

Abolitionist authors
1. Why do they believe slavery needs to be abolished?
2. What specific criticisms do they have about American society?
3. How do these authors view African Americans (in contrast to the stereotypes offered by proslavery authors)? How do the authors view African Americans place in society?

Directions
Your essay should be a minimum of 2 pages, and you should spend AT LEAST one page discussing EACH position (one page discussing the proslavery perspective and one page discussing the abolitionist perspective). Remember, two pages is the minimum, and minimum essays normally score a C. If you want a higher grade, plan to be comprehensive in your coverage of the readings (there is no maximum page limit). Your answer should reflect the main points from each assigned reading.

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