Calhoun, Truth, and Douglass

Shortened Version of Assignment

Because of complications with missing students and my own absence from school, I am modifying the assignment on Calhoun, Truth, and Douglass. Here is what each student MUST do. If you complete this work with others, please make sure everyone’s names are on it. If you complete it alone because you didn’t/don’t have the opportunity to work with others, that is totally fine.

Each student must…

  • Read Calhoun’s “Slavery: A Positive Good.”
    • Outline the 5 “facts” Calhoun cites as evidence for his claim that slavery is a positive good that benefits everyone.
    • Every group or individual must submit this outline on GoogleClassroom. You may work alone or with your Platoon; if you work with your Platoon, you need to submit only one copy, but make sure everyone’s names are on it.
    • If you do SketchNotes, make sure everyone’s names are on them and turn them in to me.
  • Watch Kerry Washington’s recitation of Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?”
  • Watch James Earl Jones’s recitation of excerpts from Douglass’s “The Meaning of the Fourth of July.”

For a badge and Civil War Points…

Record a video of your response to Calhoun. He sits down; you stand up. What do you say? You may do this in a group of up to three or on your own. In a group, every person must be a part of the video, meaning each person must speak.


Full Version of Assignment

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.
  • You may submit one set of outlines, discussion question responses, and speech. Make sure both names and your sections are on your work!

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.

Find the GoogleDoc of this assignment 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.


Slavery: A Positive Good by John C. Calhoun

Click on the title above for the text.

1. Carefully, point by point, create an outline of Calhoun’s speech, either typed, handwritten, or sketchnoted. You will turn in your outline.

Discuss these question and note your responses on your outline.

Calhoun lists five “facts” that he thinks prove that slavery is a “positive good.” What are these five facts? 

What would your Senate Role, assigned to you in History, think of Calhoun’s speech?

You may also want to add to your Collection and Creation notes and found poetry word bank!


Ain’t I a Woman? by Sojourner Truth

Click on the title above for the text.

2. Read and watch Sojourner Truth’s speech. Carefully, point by point, create an outline of Truth’s speech, either typed, handwritten, or sketchnoted. You will turn in your outline.

Discuss these question and note your responses on your outline.

What argument does Sojourner Truth make? How does she support her argument?

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

What would your Senate Role, assigned to you in History, think of Truth’s speech?

You may also want to add to your Collection and Creation notes and found poetry word bank!


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

Click on the title above for the text.

3. Read and watch excerpts from Frederick Douglass’s “The Meaning of the Fourth of July to the Negro. Carefully, point by point, create an outline of Douglass’s speech, either typed, handwritten, or sketchnoted. You will turn in your outline.

Discuss these questions and note your responses on your outline.

What argument does Frederick Douglass make? How does he support his argument; to what does Douglass refer throughout his speech and why?

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

What would your Senate Role, assigned to you in History, think of Douglass’s speech?

You may also want to add to your Collection and Creation notes and found poetry word bank!


4. 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.


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