Using Deliberative Techniques to Teach United States History

By Eleanora Von Dehsen; Nancy Claxton | Go to book overview

7. Slavery

INSTRUCTIONAL OBJECTIVES
Students will be able to:
Explain the reasons given for and against slavery
Explain how differences over the morality and legitimacy of slavery heightened the sec-
tional crisis in the antebellum period

DESCRIPTION
Students will use contemporary sources, some of which they will find offensive, to understand opposing views on slavery. They will work in small groups to analyze arguments for and against “the peculiar institution.” They will then explore how these différent attitudes toward slavery contributed to the sectional crisis.
TIME
60 minutes
MATERIALS
Two Views of Slavery (copies for each student) Opposing Arguments on Slavery (copies for each student)
CLASS LAYOUT AND GROUPING OF STUDENTS
Students will begin the lesson in their usual seating assignments and then break into small groups to analyze the contemporary documents. They will resume their usual seats for the discussion.
PROCEDURE
1. Explain that in the years prior to the Civil War the nation engaged in a vigorous debate over slavery. Many in the North opposed the institution on moral and economic grounds, while many in the South viewed it as, in the words of John C. Calhoun, a “positive good.” Tell the class that this lesson will explore both sides of the argument. Warn them that they will find some of what they will be reading offensive, but that the excerpts reflect the thinking of the day.
2. Distribute Two Views of Slavery. Ask the students to read the selection and then discuss.

-79-

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