Calhoun, Truth, and Douglass

Learning Targets ~ I can…

  • Determine and analyze a text’s central ideas.
  • Compare and contrast ideas from different texts.
  • Respond to texts, using evidence and examples to support my analysis and response.

Directions:

  • Please carefully read through all aspects of the assignment. Be sure to carefully follow instructions and to do what you need to do to hit the learning targets.
  • You may work with one partner, if you would like. If there is an odd number of students in the class, there can be one group of three.
  • Work together, side-by-side. Do not divide and conquer.
  • Make sure both names and your sections are on your work!

Click here for the GoogleDoc of this assignment.

If you work on paper by hand, turn in your work to me. If you work online, submit it on GoogleClassroom. Please make sure everyone’s names and English section are on everything. Submit links to videos on GoogleClassroom.


John_C_Calhoun_by_Mathew_Brady,_1849In the 21st century, it is very difficult to believe that there was any justification for slavery, let alone stating that slavery was “a positive good,” as John C. Calhoun said in the 1830s. Calhoun served in the House of Representatives, as the Senator from South Carolina, Secretary of State, Secretary of War, and Vice President. Calhoun, moreover, is the person who first referred to slavery as “our peculiar institution.”

Prior to the 1830s, the South often argued that the institution of slavery was a necessary evil. They argued that the emergence of cotton as the most important cash crop in the country made slaves necessary. However, after 1830, a number of factors led southerners to change their defense, validating slavery by arguing that it was “a positive good.” What were their arguments in justifying slavery? How would those directly impacted by slavery — enslaved people or people who escaped slavery — respond?

Throughout, utilize the Notice and Note signposts to help you understand the texts.

Don’t forget to look for Power Lines and add them to our display!

You may certainly utilize these speeches for your found poetry project!


Slavery: A Positive Good by John C. Calhoun

Click on the title above for the text.

In his speech, Calhoun lists five so-called “facts” or justifications that he thinks prove that slavery is a “positive good.” What are these five facts? 

Carefully, point by point, create an outline of the five so-called “facts” Calhoun’s speech, either typed, handwritten, or sketchnoted. You will turn in your outline.

Identify the “facts” and then explain them in your own words.

(Hint: Look at last few lines of third paragraph, first few lines of fourth paragraph, first few lines of fifth paragraph, the whole sixth paragraph, last few lines of seventh paragraph.)


Ain’t I a Woman? by Sojourner Truth

Click on the title above for the text.

What argument (claim) does Sojourner Truth make? How does she support her argument (evidence)?

How does Sojourner Truth argue against the kind of so-called “facts” Calhoun attempted to state, meaning how does she argue against the kind of points Calhoun attempted to make?

Read and watch Sojourner Truth’s speech. Carefully, point by point, answer these questions about Truth’s speech, either typed, handwritten, or sketchnoted.


The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro by Frederick Douglass

Click on the title above for the text.

What argument (claim) does Frederick Douglass make? How does he support (evidence and reasoning) his argument; to what does Douglass refer throughout his speech and why?

How does Douglass argue against the kind of so-called “facts” Calhoun attempted to state, meaning how does he argue against the kind of points Calhoun attempted to make?

Read and watch excerpts from Frederick Douglass’s “The Meaning of the Fourth of July to the Negro. Carefully, point by point, answer these questions about Douglass’s speech, either typed, handwritten, or sketchnoted.


Finally, if you were an anti-slavery member of 1837 Congress, how would you respond to Calhoun’s speech and to the other justifications of slavery you were hearing among not just members of Congress but among the larger population as well? What would you say if you took the floor after Calhoun finished speaking?

Prepare a speech countering Calhoun and addressing those who attempt to justify slavery.

Please prepare a 2-3 paragraph response to Calhoun. First, type your speech in GoogleDocs. Then, record and upload your speech to YouTube. Submit both your typed speech and a working link to your video on GoogleClassroom. Because this is a brief response, you do not have to address all five of his so-called facts.

Costumes, props, and backdrops encouraged for the video!


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Calhoun takes his seat, and you rise to address the Senate. What do you say?