Slavery and Anti-Slavery

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.

Abolitionist flag, ca. 1859. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

Abolition and Antebellum Reform

Author: Ronald G. Walters Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics, Religion and Philosophy Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

Abolition and Religion

Author: Robert Abzug Curriculum Subjects: Religion and Philosophy Grade Levels: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Angelina Grimke, Appeal to the Christian Women of the South, 1836. (GLC08642)

Angelina and Sarah Grimke: Abolitionist Sisters

Author: Carol Berkin 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:
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+
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+

Essays from Other Sub-Eras

Abraham Lincoln and Jacksonian Democracy

Author: Sean Wilentz 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, ca. 1880s. (GLC07926.02)

Allies for Emancipation? Black Abolitionists and Abraham Lincoln

Author: Manisha Sinha Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
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:

Lincoln at Cooper Union

Author: Harold Holzer Curriculum Subjects: Art, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865. (GLC06044)

Lincoln’s Civil Religion

Author: George C. Rable Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics, Religion and Philosophy Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Detail from the Preamble to the US Constitution, 1787. (GLC03585)

Ordinary Americans and the Constitution

Author: Gary B. Nash Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
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+
Abraham Lincoln, photographed by Mathew Brady, February 27, 1860. (GLC05136.01)

The Making of the President: Abraham Lincoln and the Election of 1860

Author: Harold Holzer Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
John Marshall and Roger B. Taney (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs)

The Marshall and Taney Courts: Continuities and Changes

Author: R. B. Bernstein Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
[Dividing the] National [Map]. [Cincinnati], 1860. (LC-DIG-ppmsca-33122)

The Road to War

Author: Chandra M. Manning Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 7, 8, 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+
George Ripley, Margaret Fuller, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Elizabeth Peabody (LOC)

Transcendentalism and Social Reform

Author: Philip F. Gura Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
Eliza Crossing the Ice from a scarf of scenes from Uncle Tom's Cabin. (GLC06894)

Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Matter of Influence

Author: Hollis Robbins Curriculum Subjects: Literature Grade Levels: 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:

“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+