African Americans and Emancipation

The essays in this section have been written by leading scholars of American history. They provide additional depth on events and ideas referred to in the introductory essay and, in some cases, different interpretations by historians looking at the same events. These essays are particularly useful as informational texts to introduce your students to one of the most exciting aspects of studying history—understanding the past from a variety of perspectives.

Frederick Douglass, ca. 1880s. (GLC07926.02)

Allies for Emancipation? Black Abolitionists and Abraham Lincoln

Author: Manisha Sinha Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Emancipation Proclamation (Chicago: Rufus Blanchard, ca. 1863–64) (GLC05508.272)

The Emancipation Proclamation: Bill of Lading or Ticket to Freedom?

Author: Allen C. Guelzo Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

“Your Late Lamented Husband”: A Letter from Frederick Douglass to Mary Todd Lincoln

Author: David W. Blight Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

Essays from Other Sub-Eras

Martin Luther King Memorial March, April 4, 1998. (GLC08359)

A Place in History: Historical Perspective on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Author: James Oliver Horton Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Frederick Douglass to Maria Webb, Nov. 30, 1859. (GLC08360)

Admiration and Ambivalence: Frederick Douglass and John Brown

Author: David W. Blight Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

Frederick Douglass: From Slavery to Freedom

Author: Steven Mintz Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
John Brown, ca. June 1859, painted photograph. (GLC04447)

John Brown: Villain or Hero?

Author: Steven Mintz Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Literature, Religion and Philosophy Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Fragment of Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech, ca. 1857. (GLC02533)

Lincoln and Abolitionism

Author: Douglas L. Wilson Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
The fugitive slave clause in Article 4, Section 2 of the US Constitution. (Gilde

Race and the American Constitution: A Struggle toward National Ideals

Author: James O. Horton Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
“The Florida Case before the Electoral Commission,” Cornelia Fassett (US Senate)

The Contentious Election of 1876

Author: Michael F. Holt Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Slave leg chain, ca. 1840-1850. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

The Material Culture of Slave Resistance

Author: Douglas R. Egerton Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Order to conscript Alabama slaves for the Confederate Army, 1864 (GLC06158.11)

The Riddles of “Confederate Emancipation”

Author: Bruce Levine Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, 1846. (GLC05117)

The Slave Narratives: A Genre and a Source

Author: David W. Blight Curriculum Subjects: Economics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Friends of Freedom broadside (Boston, 1850). (GLC05345)

The Underground Railroad and the Coming of War

Author: Matthew Pinsker Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Detail of a broadside promoting women’s suffrage. (GLC08963)

Why We the People? Citizens as Agents of Constitutional Change

Author: Linda R. Monk Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Quote written out by Frederick Douglass (ca. 1880) recalling speech given May 30

“The Merits of This Fearful Conflict”: Douglass on the Causes of the Civil War

Author: David W. Blight Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: