Due Tomorrow!

Week 1 Discussion Question: The Difference Slavery Made.

One of the objectives of this first week of class is to think about the role of slavery in the antebellum nation in a more complex and nuanced way. A key misunderstanding many Americans alive today have is that the conversation before the Civil War about slavery, in particular the opposition to it, was one about its abolition, and this upon moral grounds, when in reality that was quite limited and even many of those abolitionists morally opposed to slavery expressed their opposition in a fundamentally white supremacist paradigm. So in your discussion, we want to get beyond this facile understanding and fully articulate the many ways slavery was a “presence” or “key factor” in antebellum life, broadly considered. How did its potential expansion, economics (in its multitudinal ways), labor dynamics, ideological weight, political meaning, and very presence define the relationship that both northerners and southerners had with their world and with each other? 

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Your discussion reflection should draw upon lecture one and the first reading selections from Escott and Masur and in some measure serve as evidence that you understand this material. Since it will be impossible to answer the entirety of the above question in the space provided (these should be around 300-400 words long) I encourage you to focus on one aspect of slavery’s influence in antebellum America and go into some detail. Read the discussion posts that have come before yours and try to expand or move beyond what your classmates have already said. I will do my best to reply to these as they post so as to aid students making subsequent posts forge into new terrain. 

Posts that receive full credit should do the following:

  • Reveal clearly that you’ve listened to the lecture and/or read your material for this week.
  • Clearly articulate a point that speaks directly to the question being asked.
  • Avoids as much as possible the duplication of comments already made by other students.

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