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POLSC301: American Political Thought

Unit 5: Antebellum America and Lincoln   As the nation moved toward civil war, divergent opinions about race, equality, states’ rights, and slavery came to the forefront of American political thought.  In this unit, you will explore discourse from this difficult time in American history. 

Unit 5 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 15.5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 5.1: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 5.1.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 5.1.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2: 3.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 5.2.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2.3: .5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 5.3.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 5.4: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 5.4.1: .5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.4.2: .5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.4.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 5.4.4: 2 hours

Unit5 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the defining philosophies of the antislavery and proslavery movements.
  • Trace the development and evolution of the concepts of “states rights” and “federal (national) supremacy.”
  • Describe the connection between the abolitionist and early women’s suffrage movements.
  • Analyze Abraham Lincoln’s political and social theories on racial equality, slavery, and the Civil War.
  • Describe the main themes in the Reconstruction era’s political, legal, and economic realms.

5.1 Abolitionist Movement   5.1.1 Anti-Slavery Society   - Reading: Internet Archive’s version of William Lloyd Garrison’s “Declaration of Sentiments of the American Anti-Slavery Society” (1833) Link: Internet Archive’s version of William Lloyd Garrison’s Declaration of Sentiments of the American Anti-Slavery Society (PDF)
 
Also available in:

[Kindle](http://www.archive.org/download/declarationofsen00amer/declarationofsen00amer.mobi)
(Free)  
    
 Instructions: Read the text of the Declaration of Sentiments of the
Anti-Slavery Society.  

 Note on the Text: The American Anti-Slavery Society was established
in 1833 in Philadelphia.  Led by the fiery abolitionist William
Lloyd Garrison, the society pledged to end slavery in the United
States. The sentiments adopted at the founding meeting established
the basic argument of the society for the next three decades,
namely, that slavery was illegal, if not under the Constitution
(which Garrison had damned as “a covenant with hell”), then
certainly under natural law.  
    
 Terms of use: The material above is in the public domain.

5.1.2 “Rights” of Slaves   - Reading: “Fugitive Slave Act, 1850” Link: “Fugitive Slave Act, 1850” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the text of the Fugitive Slave Act. 
 
Note on the Text: This law was enacted as part of the Compromise of 1850, which settled major disputes between the Northern and Southern states. The text illustrates the lengths to which the government would go in order to maintain the unity of the nation.
 
Terms of use: The material above is available for viewing in the Public Domain.

  • Reading: PBS’ Africans in America: “The Compromise of 1850 and the Fugitive Slave Act” Link: PBS’ Africans in America: “The Compromise of 1850 and the Fugitive Slave Act” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read the entire article.
     
    Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Frederick Douglass’ “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” (1852) Link: Frederick Douglass’ “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” (1852) (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please read the text of Frederick Douglass’ speech.  Note that Douglass, a former slave, leading abolitionist, and one of the most celebrated African Americans of the nineteenth century, gave this speech at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Rochester, New York.  Douglass delivered a scathing attack on the hypocrisy of a nation celebrating freedom and independence while still sanctioning the institution of slavery.
     
    Terms of use: The material above is available for viewing in the Public Domain.

  • Reading: “Dred Scott Case: The Supreme Court Decision (1857)” Link: “Dred Scott Case: The Supreme Court Decision(1857)” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please read the introduction about the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dred Scott case and read the original text of Chief Justice Roger Taney’s extremely controversial opinion, which had the effect of widening the political and social gap between the North and South.
     
    Terms of use: The material above is available for viewing in the Public Domain. 

5.2 The Southern Argument   5.2.1 States’ Rights and Slavery   - Reading: John C. Calhoun’s “Speech on the Importance of Domestic Slavery” Link: John C. Calhoun’s Speech on the Importance of Domestic Slavery (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read these three speeches by John C. Calhoun, a leading politician and political theorist from South Carolina. Calhoun built his reputation by his redefinition of republicanism to include approval of slavery and minority rights (the white South). He was also a staunch supporter of states’ rights and a leading proponent of the South’s secession from the Union.
 
Terms of use: The material above is available in the public domain.

5.2.2 Slavery is Not “Immoral”   - Reading: University of North Carolina: Documenting the South’s version of George Fitzhugh’s Cannibals All, or Slaves without Masters Link:  University of North Carolina: Documenting the South’s version of George Fitzhugh’s Cannibals All, or Slaves without Masters (HTML)
 
Instructions: Under “Learn More,” please click on the hyperlink and read “Summary of this Title.”  Then, return to the menu page and click on the HTML full text version.  Using the hyperlinks in the Table of Contents at the beginning of the text, please read the chapters entitled: “Introduction,” “Liberty and Slavery (Chapter VIII),” and “Negro Slavery (Chapter XXI).”
 
Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.2.3 Southern Secession   - Reading: Furman University: Nineteenth Century Documents Project: “South Carolina’s Declaration of Secession” Link: Furman University: Nineteenth Century Documents Project: South Carolina’s Declaration of Secession (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the text of South Carolina’s Declaration of Secession.
 
Note on the Text: South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union in 1860.  Other southern states later followed suit to form the Confederacy.  This text serves as an outline of some of the major disputes that South Carolina and other southern (Confederate) states had with the federal (Union) government.
 
Terms of use: The material above is available in the public domain.

5.3 From Abolitionists to Suffragettes: The Early Women’s Movement   5.3.1 Early Women Abolitionist Activism   - Reading: Enote's "American History Through Literature: Letters on the Equality of the Sexes" Link: Enote's "American History Through Literature: Letters on the Equality of the Sexes" (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the biographical information of the Grimke sisters. 
 
Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use located on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Angelina Grimke’s An Appeal to Christian Women of the South Link: Angelina Grimke’s An Appeal to Christian Women of the South (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please read the entire text of the appeal. The essay is unique in that it was the only written appeal made by a Southern woman to other Southern women regarding the abolition of slavery.
     
    Terms of use: The material above is in the public domain.

5.3.2 Gender Equality   - Reading: Google Books’ Sarah Grimke’s “Letters on the Equality of the Sexes, and the Condition of Woman” (1837 Link: Google Books’ Sarah Grimke’s “Letters on the Equality of the Sexes, and the Condition of Woman” (1837) (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please scroll down to “Contents” and read Section 1,“The Original Equality of Women.”
 
Terms of use: The material above is available in the public domain.

5.3.3 The Divergence of the Women’s Movement from Abolitionism   - Reading: Fordham University: Modern History Sourcebook’s version of “The Declaration of Sentiments, Seneca Falls Conference, 1848” Link: Fordham University: Modern History Sourcebook’s version of The Declaration of Sentiments, Seneca Falls Conference, 1848 (PDF)

 Instructions: Please read the text of “The Declaration of
Sentiments.”  At a time when traditional roles were still very much
in place, the Declaration created much controversy.  Many people
respected the courage and abilities behind it; however, temperance
and female property rights were major issues at the time, and many
supporters of women's rights believed the Declaration’s endorsement
of women’s suffrage would hinder the nascent women’s rights
movement, causing it to lose much needed public support.  

 Terms of use: The material above was provided by the [Modern
History
Sourcebook](http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/modsbook.html). 
Permission has been granted for electronic copying, distribution in
print form for educational purposes and personal use, but not
commercial use.  You can find the original version
[here](http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/senecafalls.html).

5.4 Abraham Lincoln   5.4.1 Emancipation Proclamation   - Reading: National Archives’ version of Abraham Lincoln’s “Emancipation Proclamation” Link: National Archives’ version of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation (PDF)

 Instructions: First, please read the introduction and then read the
full text.  

 Terms of use: The material above is available in the public domain.

5.4.2 Lincoln and Civil War   - Reading: Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” Link: Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (PDF)

 Instructions: Please read the introduction and the text of the
Gettysburg Address (1863), one of the most well-known speeches in
American history.  It was delivered by Lincoln four and a half
months after the Union armies defeated those of the Confederacy at
the Battle of Gettysburg.  In just over two minutes, Lincoln invoked
the principles of human equality and redefined the Civil War as a
struggle not merely for the Union but as “a new birth of freedom”
that would bring true equality to all of its citizens.  
    
 Terms of use: The material above is available in the public domain.
  • Reading: Lincoln’s “Second Inaugural Address” Link: Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address (PDF)

    Also available in:

    Kindle ($0.99)

    Instructions: Please read the introduction and the text of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address (1865). At a time when Union victory was within days and slavery was near an end, Lincoln did not speak of happiness, but of sadness. Some see this speech as a defense of his pragmatic approach to Reconstruction, in which he sought to avoid harsh treatment of the defeated South by reminding his listeners of how wrong both sides had been in imagining what lay before them when the war began four years earlier. Lincoln balanced that rejection of triumphalism, however, with a recognition of the unmistakable evil of slavery.

    Terms of use: The material above is available in the public domain.

5.4.3 War’s End   - Reading: Lincoln’s “Last Public Address” Link: Lincoln’s “Last Public Address” (PDF)

 Instructions: Read the introduction and the text of Lincoln’s Last
Public Address (1865).  

 Terms of use: The material above is available for viewing in the
Public Domain,
  • Reading: Frederick Douglass.org’s version of Douglass’ “What the Black Man Wants.” Link: Frederick Douglass.org’s version of Douglass’ What the Black Man Wants.” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please read the introduction and the text of Douglass’s speech (1865). Given at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society days before the end of the Civil War, Douglass argues in favor of black suffrage and equality.
     
    Terms of use: The material above is available in the public domain.

5.4.4 Reconstruction and its Aftermath   - Reading: “Reconstruction Amendments: 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution” Link: Text of the “Reconstruction Amendments: 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution" (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the text of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution.
 
Note on the Text: These amendments were passed after the Civil War in an era that was referred to as “Reconstruction.”  During Reconstruction, the federal government attempted to once again unite the country.  Many political leaders, however, wanted to ensure that the slavery cause for the war was rectified.  These amendments were created to ensure that slavery would formally end and that former slaves would be treated as “equals” in the eyes of the law.
 
Terms of use: The material above is in the public domain.

  • Reading: U.S. Constitution On-line: “Constitutional Topic: Slavery” Link: U.S. Constitution On-line: “Constitutional Topic: Slavery” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read the text under the sub-heading “Jim Crow.”

    Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Cornell University: Legal Information Institute’s version of Supreme Court Justice Henry Brown’s “Plessy v. Ferguson—Opinion of the Court” Link: Cornell University: Legal Information Institute’s version of Supreme Court Justice Henry Brown’s Plessy v. Ferguson—Opinion of the Court (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read the text of Justice Brown’s majority decision on the Plessy v. Ferguson case (1896).
     
    Note on the Text: This decision served as the basis for the notorious Jim Crow laws and the segregation that took place in the United States until the 1950s.  Brown’s decision expressed the sentiments of many Americans, especially in the South who felt that—although slavery had ended—black Americans were different from white Americans and that as long as equality existed, separation between the races was a legitimate and legal course of action. This court decision effectively legitimized the move toward segregation practices begun earlier in the South and provided an impetus for further segregation laws, which would be upheld until the mid-twentieth century.
     
    Terms of use: The material above is available in the public domain.