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Slavery A classic “uncoverage” and historiography overview.

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Presentation on theme: "Slavery A classic “uncoverage” and historiography overview."— Presentation transcript:

1 Slavery A classic “uncoverage” and historiography overview

2 What is Historiography? How can we use it in the classroom to enhance our instruction? What are some ways to make readings more accessible given our time constraints?

3 Historiography Defined Conal Furay and Michael J. Salevouris define "historiography" as "the study of the way history has been and is written--the history of historical writing... When you study 'historiography' you do not study the events of the past directly, but the changing interpretations of those events in the works of individual historians." (The Methods and Skills of History: A Practical Guide, 1988, p. 223

4 Historiography at work: The Origins of Slavery in the English Colonies Oscar Handlin and Mary Handlin, "Origins of the Southern Labor System," William and Mary Quarterly 7 (1950), 199-222. Carl N. Degler, "Slavery and the Genesis of American Race Prejudice," Comparative Studies in Society and History 2 (1959), 49-56. Winthrop Jordan, White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-1812, chapter 2. Edmund Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom, pp. 154-57 & ch.15. Russell Menard, "From Servants to Slaves: The Transformation of the Chesapeake Labor System," Southern Studies 16 (1977)

5 "Did American freedom rest upon American slavery?" “How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?” Samuel Johnson, “Taxation Not Tyranny,” in The Yale Edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson (1775; New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977), 10:454.

6 Paradox Defined How could the founding fathers who envisioned a nation where “all men are created equal” also hold other human beings in bondage and preserve the concept of slavery? This is a question that has plagued historians for decades.

7 What made the founding fathers experts on Liberty? The great paradox of the Revolution is slavery, and the men we call the Founding Fathers knew it. They talked and wrote about it, justified its survival under the Constitution, and northerners among them urged its eradication, someday.

8 The Paradox of American Slavery As Lawrence Goldstone provocatively makes clear in Dark Bargain, “to a significant and disquieting degree, America’s most sacred document was molded and shaped by the most notorious institution in its history.”

9 The Paradox of American Slavery Some like Benjamin Franklin responded. He became president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and the Relief of Free Negros Unlawfully Held in Bondage. Washington, in the meanwhile provided in his will for the liberation of his slaves after Martha’s death. Interestingly John Adams, who never owned slaves, acknowledged in a letter to two Quaker abolitionists his fear that demonstrations in support of emancipation might result in violence. At various times each expressed support for colonization.

10 The Paradox of American Slavery And again to Jefferson, who writes in 1809 that he has come to believe that black Africans "are on a par with ourselves" and that this awareness among citizens will hasten "the day of their relief." Someday. How one judges these men is problematic; they have been lauded and condemned for the ideals they expressed in the Declaration and the failure of the society to live up to those ideals.

11 Imperfect gods? “When he died in 1799 his will called for his manservant William Lee to be freed immediately, and given a pension. The other slaves were to be freed when his widow died. Martha chose to free them two years later. According to Abigail Adams this was because she feared her life might be in danger, since her death meant freedom for the slaves.” (Hirschfield, p 214) Neither Washington nor his wife could legally free the dower slaves which still belonged to the Custis estate.

12 Dark Bargain created a fatal defect But in failing to address the issue of slavery fully in the hopes of securing a new Constitution, the founders allowed a deadly infection to continue to breed that would eventually result in the Civil War.

13 Making Historiography work Adjusting your tool kit to deal with a large crime scene... What you will need Some historiography A variety of primary sources including charts and graphs Images Some imagination

14 Showing your students the sausage being made... What you will accomplish Showing your students how narratives are constructed and how history (a patterned coherent account of the past based on available evidence and intended to be true) works.

15 Lack of Freedom not Unusual Oscar and Mary Handlin wrote their influential article in 1950. What if any can the time period in which an article or book is written tell us about the interpretation offered by the historian? Oscar Handlin and Mary Handlin, "Origins of the Southern Labor System," William and Mary Quarterly 7 (1950), 199-222

16 Broad Historigaphical Trends

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