Using Deliberative Techniques to Teach United States History

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

8. Women and Abolition

INSTRUCTIONAL OBJECTIVES
Students will be able to:
Understand the broader political context in which abolitionism developed
Understand the position of women in antebellum society
Understand the position of women in the abolitionist movement

DESCRIPTION
Students will work in teams to analyze a historical document in order to understand the position of women in antebellum society and their role in the abolitionist movement.
TIME
60 minutes
MATERIALS
What Have Women to Do with Slavery? (copy for each student)
CLASS LAYOUT AND GROUPING OF STUDENTS
Students will work in small groups and then reassemble in their usual seating arrangement to discuss their findings.
PROCEDURE
1. Explain that the years 1820–1860 were known as the Age of Reform, during which Americans launched unprecedented reforms to aid the sick and mentally ill, rehabilitate criminals, improve education, promote temperance, further women’s rights, and end slavery.
2. Present a short summary of the forces behind reform, emphasizing:
Religion, particularly the Second Great Awakening
The Declaration of Independence
The Enlightenment’s faith in reason
3. Explain that women were very active in the reforms of the period, but that when they sought to involve themselves in those reform efforts, they became aware of the limitations society placed on them. Tell the class that they will analyze a historical document that illustrates both women’s place in reform and the problems they encountered.

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