U.S. history about Southern Slavery

Part 2 Paper Assignment


This paper requires you to analyze various primary source documents. You are expected to provide an original, carefully considered interpretation of these documents based on the historical context you have learned in the course thus far. As a response paper, it is appropriate for you to employ first-person language in your paper, however, in formulating your opinions, you must demonstrate a thorough understanding of the texts and create a well-organized 3-4 page paper.

All papers must be written in 12-font size, Times New Roman, double-spaced with 1-inch margins. It MUST contain citations (either in-text or Chicago Style). Your paper should be uploaded as a word.doc format on the assignment page for this course. All other formats will not be accepted.

PROMPT: For this paper assignment, you are asked to draw from the various primary and secondary sources available to answer all three of the following questions:

  1. How did the planters’ paternalism serve to justify the system of slavery? Meaning, what were the arguments used to justify the existence of slavery in the south? In particular, consider the basic points made by the proslavery defense and how they justified their point of view to both southerners and non-southern audiences.
  2. What were the lives of slaves like (including men, women and children) in the south? Consider the different types of labor systems (gang labor, task labor), and the ways in which slaves created communities and cultures that allowed them to survive in an oppressive society.
  3. What attempts were made to resist slavery? Consider the attempts made by slaves (including rebellions, runaway tactics, etc.) as well as the attempts made by the abolitionist movement. Were these attempts successful or not?

Collectively, you should consider the ways in which the documents that you have chosen to highlight help us to understand more about the institution of slavery and this time period in history. Papers that do not answer all 3 prompts will not score well.

SOURCES: For this assignment you need to use AND cite at least 6 sources throughout your paper. This should include any 6 of the following sources (a combination of primary sources, secondary sources, images, and videos, which are all available to you in Canvas). Your sources should be cited using either footnotes or in-text citations and can include a Bibliography at the end (the Bibliography is NOT part of the page limit).

  • Thomas R. Dew on Emancipation after Nat Turner (1832)
  • John C. Calhoun Sees “Slavery in its true light…” (1838)
  • John C. Calhoun on the Error of “All men are created equal” (1848)
  • George Fitzhugh, “The Universal Law of Slavery” (1850)
  • Twelve Years a Slave (1853)
  • Hammond Manual (1857)
  • Father Henson’s Story of His Own Life (1858)
  • James Henry Hammond, “The Mudsill Theory” (1858)
  • History of Slave Insurrections (1860)
  • Samuel Warner on Nat Turner’s Insurrection (1831)

  • Lydia Maria Child, An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans (1833)

  • Abolition, Fanaticism, and Freedom (1835) 

  • Anti-Abolition Broadside (1837)

  • Margaret Fuller’s “Woman in the Nineteenth Century” (1845)

  • William Goodell, “Liberty and Slavery” (1853)

  • Charles Harding on Temperance (1869)


  • The Slave Auction
  • Slavery as It Exists in America
  • A Public Whipping of Slaves in Lexington, Missouri
  • $2,500 Reward! Mississippi Co.
  • Nat Turner’s slave rebellion
  • Abolitionist banner

  • Abolitionist meeting in New York

  • Immediate Emancipation Illustrated

  • Am I Not a Woman and a Sister?


  • “Long John” (1845)
  • From John C. Calhoun, Speech in Congress (1837)
  • Videos From the Films on Demand Playlist
    • Video: A Fatal Contradiction: Freedom, A History of the United States (26 minutes)
    • Video: Cotton Gin (clip)
    • Video: Slave Trade (clip)
    • Video: Slavery Separates Families (clip)
    • Video: Underground Railroad (clip)


Your paper will be graded based on the following aspects:

______/10 Part I: Introduction

  • The topic of the paper has been properly introduced for the reader
  • You outline the main points that you make in your paper (e.g. your paper has a thesis statement)

______/30 Part III: Body Paragraphs

  • There are at least 3 well developed body paragraphs
  • Analysis is offered throughout the body paragraphs
  • Paragraphs uses primary and/or secondary sources as evidence
  • You have answered all 3 questions within your body paragraphs

______/10 Part IV: Conclusion

  • The significance of your topic is well explained and its importance to US History
  • You have explained how these documents collectively help us to better understand slavery and the history of the United States during this time period

______/10 Part V: Sources and Grammar

  • At least 6 sources have been cited (using either in-text citations or Chicago Style Citations) and they are all reliable sources (e.g. primary or secondary sources)
  • The paper is free of grammatical issues or spelling errors
  • The paper is written in the correct tense (present/past)
  • Avoid using contractions (Example: use cannot instead of “can’t”)
  • The paper is exactly 3 pages (papers that are longer or shorter will automatically lose 10 points)
  • The paper is formatted with 12-font size, Times New Roman, double-spaced with 1-inch margins.

______/60–FINAL GRADE

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